Snow Shoveling Tips and Pointers

Shoveling snow is, for the most part, pretty straightforward. There are some things you can learn with experience, however, such as how to keep snow from sticking to your blade and how best to shovel in certain conditions. The following tips and pointers can save you time and frustration when you are shoveling snow.

Shoveling Wet or Heavy Snow

Wet snow that has begun to melt weighs substantially more than the fresh stuff. Take your time and do not fill your shovel full when shoveling wet snow. This will help reduce the strain on your body and keep you from getting tired too quickly. Make sure to pace yourself and take plenty of breaks if needed.

Shoveling Powdery Snow

Fresh, powdery snow can be a chore to shovel because it wants to fly right off the blade. A shovel with a deeper scoop can help contain the snow and prevent it from blowing off as you move. Move with slow, steady motions to avoid gusts of air and keep the snow on your shovel.

Shoveling Ice

If you have icy sections to clear away, use a shovel with a metal blade to help chip away chunks. Alternately, invest in an ice pick and hammer the ice into manageable chunks. For really solid ice, a layer of deicer or cat litter spread thinly over the top can reduce the risk of falling without requiring you to completely remove the icy buildup.

Shoveling Snow in the Wind

Shoveling snow in the wind is generally a no-win situation. If it is at all possible, wait until gusty winds have died down before trying to shovel. When you have no choice, let the wind work with you and toss your snow in the same direction the wind is blowing. Use a shovel with a deep scoop and move slowly and deliberately to keep as much snow as possible on the blade while you are transporting it.

Removing Snow from a Roof

The most important thing you need to know about shoveling snow from your roof is this: be careful.

While it may not seem like that much snow, everything that has accumulated on your roof can fall off at once, burying you and possibly suffocating or injuring you. That said, snow buildup on a roof can cause serious damage to a house, from creating leaks and water damage to complete collapses. Removing the snow, especially after large snowstorms, is a necessary part of home maintenance.

How to Shovel a Roof

You can purchase special tools, called roof rakes, to help you safely remove snow. These can telescope up to twenty feet long and often have angled handles, allowing you to reach farther. Remove the snow in layers, beginning with small chunks of just a few feet. This helps control the amount of snow coming off at once. You can use a ladder to help bridge the distance while keeping you safely out of the falling snow. Work in sections 2-3 times the width of your rake, moving on to the next area only after you have completely cleared that part of the roof. Also, try clearing the roof before the snow has a chance to begin melting and get heavy – wet, heavy snow will stick to itself more and increase the likelihood of avalanches.