Getting Ready for the First Snowfall
When you have a home, snow can present problems beyond keeping stairs and walks free of snow and ice.
It’s also critical that water cut offs are accessible, and that your driveway is ice and snow free.
If you plan to take care of all this yourself, make sure that your snow blower, generator, roof rake, deicers, etc. are all placed where they can be easily retrieved.
Also be aware that snow and ice storms are occasionally accompanied by a power failure. So do plan ahead, including putting fresh batteries in your carbon monoxide monitor. Also, have emergency telephone numbers near the phone.
Even before you hear of any storm approaching, it’s important to “prep” your driveway and walkway by installing fiberglass stakes (sometimes called “plow stakes” or “snow stakes”). And the longer you put it off, the harder the ground will get from the cold.
(Note: wood plow/snow stakes aren’t as strong as fiberglass and can be easily damaged.)
Position the stakes to indicate where any costly Belgium Block or other edging could be damaged from snow plows. One end of the stake is pointed for easy insertion in the ground. Also, they come in different colors and you can let a particular color indicate, for example, where a fire hydrant is, the regular curb, your driveway entrance, etc.
If your driveway is straight, you won’t need as many markers. But if it’s curved, it’s important to mark key points at every turn. In addition, if you will be doing the snow removal yourself, chances are you’ll be doing it before or after work, when it’s dark. In this case, consider reflective snow stakes, which, while more costly, can be alternated with less-expensive non-reflective ones. This way, you’ll be sure to see all the important areas.
When placing the stakes, consider placing them further back from the driveway than the 2 inches often recommended. This allows for the opening of car doors, piling of shoveled snow, etc. without dislodging or covering a key stake.
Snow can cause a lot of pressure on your roof. One of the best ways to remove it is with a roof rake, so it’s good to have it readily on hand. Also take a look at your gutters to make sure ice doesn’t dam them up and cause leaking into your home or attic.
Some experts recommend stringing heat cables through them, or on the roof just above the gutters. This should be done, of course, before major snowstorms to avoid any Clark Griswald-like ice rockets from a frozen gutter fail.
Snow Blowers, Shoveling
Even an inexpensive snow blower is preferable to shoveling by hand.
But if you are going to shovel, here’s a tip: coat the scoop of the shovel with non-stick cooking spray. Be sure, whether you are using a snow blower or shoveling, to remove the snow in small increments at a time — don’t try to do it all at once.
Professional Snow Removal
Of course, the easiest way to handle some of this is to contact professionals like Deck and Patio’s Dix Hills Snowplowing.
In speaking with our own Office Manager, Linda LaRose, if you live in our corner of Suffolk County (Huntington/Dix Hills) and wish to have us take care of your snow removal, you can contact us with no obligation (631-549-8100).
Once we hear from you, Linda will email a contract to review and you can always call her with questions before signing on, or incurring any expense. When you make this initial contact, this would be the right time to let us know if you have any special requirements: e.g., early service, service at 1-inch (ours usually begins at 2”), sand service, if garage doors need to shoveled, mail box cleared, etc.
We can also stake the driveway for you, if you ask for it. (Note: For snow removal from roofs, you should contact a roof contractor for their specialized service.)