The Twin Cities are no stranger to winter weather. On average, Minneapolis and Saint Paul get about 54 inches of snow from October to April, as well as ice and bone-chilling temperatures. Despite our familiarity with harsh winter weather, many Twin Cities residents who opt for DIY ice and snow removal make some classic mistakes. Removing snow and ice is essential for maintaining a safe and passable property. With the Farmer’s Almanac predicting some extreme cold and lots of snow heading our way, make sure you’re prepared by reading our top five DIY snow removal mistakes.
1. Waiting Too Long to Shovel
Waiting for snow to accumulate, especially during a big snow storm, may seem like a time-saving idea, but it’s actually an unwise, and even dangerous, decision. The more snow accumulates, the heavier it is, causing more strain on your back and heart. Additionally, waiting too long to shovel gives snow a chance to melt in the sun and refreeze, making the ground slicker, and the snow icier and more strenuous to remove. Shoveling and salting throughout a storm, and immediately after brief snowfalls, is essential to reduce risk.
2. Using the Wrong Tools and Techniques
Another common mistake people make when doing their own snow removal is using the wrong types of shovels and shoveling techniques. Large, heavy shovels are more difficult to use and add strain to an already strenuous task. Opt for lightweight, ergonomically-designed shovels that are specifically made for snow removal. Likewise, make sure you’re using the proper technique when you shovel. The scoop-lift-toss method increases the risk of injury and overexertion. The proper shovel method for snow removal is the push method. Instead of lifting the snow, use your shovel to push it off the surface you’re clearing. If you have to lift and toss the snow, make sure to keep your back straight, lift from the knees, and toss it forward to avoid twisting.
3. Improperly Using Snow Blowers
While snow blowers are undeniably safer than shoveling, there are still common mistakes that add risk. If your snow blower jams, turn it off immediately, wait, and use a solid object to remove the jam to avoid injury from motor recoil. Never refuel your snowblower indoors, while it’s running, or shortly after use. The hot engine of a snowblower can cause serious burns if you come in contact with it. Additionally, you must be mindful when using corded snow blowers so that the cord doesn’t sever or come in contact with the engine. Make sure to thoroughly read the instruction manual of your snow blower before use, and stay alert throughout use.
4. Not Taking Breaks
When tackling a big task, a lot of people want to finish as quickly as possible to get it out of the way. When it comes to snow removal, though, it’s important to go at a moderate pace and take plenty of breaks. Take things slowly and be mindful of how you’re feeling. Don’t wait to get tired before taking a break. Cold temperatures compound the existing physical risks of snow removal, resulting in roughly 100 deaths per year.
5. Removing Snow When You Have Health Risks
Snow removal is an extremely strenuous task. Studies show that healthy young people’s heart rate and blood pressure rise more during snow removal than after running on a treadmill. For this reason, experts say that no one should shovel snow if they are over the age of 55, have coronary artery disease or hypertension, or are overweight or unused to strenuous physical activity. The risk of a heart attack poses too great a threat, and a costly hospital stay or death simply isn’t worth it.
Stay Safe this Winter with Scott’s Lawn Care
Since 1998, Scott’s Lawn Care has provided professional snow removal and snow plowing throughout the Twin Cities Metro. Dedicated to keeping our clients safe, our team of reliable and experienced operators service the same properties every snowfall, so you’re provided with consistent and timely service by individuals who’ve gained familiarity with your space. At Scott’s Lawn Care, we use specialized equipment to complete different applications, from the smallest residential lots to large-scale commercial projects. Avoid the common risks of DIY snow removal, and schedule Scott’s snow removal services today. To schedule, contact Scott’s Lawn Care at 763-479-8155 or visit our website.