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How Should I Remove Snow from My Driveway?

Sitting by a fire while the snow is gently falling may look picturesque, but you'll eventually have to clear it. Depending on the circumstances, snow-clearing can be time-consuming, cause strain on your back, and even lead to injury if not handled with care. You can tackle the job more quickly and easily by following these tips for clearing accumulated snow.

Snow blower clearing techniques:

For regions where regular accumulation is three or more inches of snow, consider a snowblower. For a small to mid-size space, with approximately three to nine inches of snow, a single-stage snow blower is the best option.  

For a mid to large space with wet, heavy snow, a two-stage or three-stage snow blower is the best machine for the job. The proper snow blower will allow you to clear the area quickly and efficiently without putting excess strain on your back.

When clearing your driveway, speed is an important factor to consider. If you go too slow, your snowblower won't throw the snow as far and you will have to go over the same section multiple times. Experiment with different speeds until you find the perfect arc that throws the snow 15-20 feet.

To avoid throwing snow onto an area you've already cleared, be strategic with the pattern you use. The optimal pattern for clearing snow from driveways is to begin in the middle (if your driveway has clearance on both sides) and direct snow to one edge of the driveway. For example, start in the middle of the driveway and throw the snow to the right, then make a U-turn and throw the snow to the left side. Keep alternating until the entire driveway is done - this eliminates changing the chute direction and can clear in fewer passes.

If your house does not have clearance on both or either side, start clearing on the side closest to your house so you don't throw snow where you've already cleared. Also, make a conscious effort to keep snow from building up on the sides and foundation walls of your home. When the snow melts, it can refreeze and cause existing cracks to widen, allowing water to seep into the walls of your home. It's also important to prevent water damage and wood from rotting.

Shovel clearing techniques:

If you have a small driveway or prefer shoveling, be mindful of the motion you use to clear. Too much stress on the back or legs can leave you with sore muscles or other aches after cleanup. When shoveling, clear snow in multiple stages to make the job easier. If heavy snowfall is predicted in your area, consider shoveling multiple times during the snowfall; otherwise, you may have a strenuous job of moving large, heavy piles. While clearing, push snow to the edge of the driveway, then go back and lift heavier piles that were missed.