With winter round the corner, you may be excited about the dark, gloomy undertones or the coziness of a comforter, but also mindful of a few problems. One of the major problems of this time of the year is snow removal. It can be quite frustrating to scrape away snow and clear pathways. Your yard or driveways require constant maintenance throughout winter for safety purposes. Most importantly, snow removal techniques should be eco-friendly so that your environment remains safe and accessible. We will give you a useful guide on how to remove snow in an eco-friendly manner if you want to remove it yourself. However, if you find it particularly tricky, always call professionals like MPR Landscapes for snow management. This article will focus on eco-friendly snow removal techniques and why snow removal is necessary.
❇️ WHY IS REMOVING SNOW A NECESSITY?
We know how frustrating it can be to clean your driveways and sweep the snow off from roofs every now and then. Snow removal is necessary because it can harm your house and the environment if the snow accumulates. In extreme weather conditions, you have to make sure to remove snow routinely. After a heavy snowfall or a night full of pelting hailstones, cleaning up the piled-up snow becomes necessary. If the snow accumulates in your driveways, it can entirely cut off your access to the outside world. It can hinder your daily activities and can be a huge problem in case of emergencies. Your driveway can become extremely slippery, and you can be injured by falling. These falls can even be fatal. Secondly, the heavy snow on a roof can cause it to collapse. Snow on your vehicles can also damage the car roofs and cause driving accidents. When the snow melts, the water gets into existing cracks in the foundation, which can flood your entire basement.
❇️ WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T CLEAN UP?
You may not want to clean up snow because it is a time-consuming task or perhaps because it is strenuous and may frustrate you daily. Remember that you can always trust MPR Landscapes to work with efficient machinery, making this rigid task less time-consuming. Removing snow on time requires some effort, but it is necessary. Let us look at what problems you can face when you do not clean up snow routinely.
⭕ Messed-up foundation
Once the snow melts, the excess water will be soaked by the foundations of your house, which will mess them up. Upon refreezing, the water will expand in the form of ice and cause cracks in the foundation. The pressure of these cracks will disrupt your house’s foundation.
⭕ Ice dams
Ice dams form at the roof’s edge and retain the melting snow water. It does not allow this water to drain off, and it can leak into your roof. Thus, it damages your walls, roof, and ceiling. Ice dams can create a massive problem for you and need to be cleaned immediately. If not taken care of, this water will cause mold to grow on walls and weaken the ceilings.
⭕ A creaking house!
Consider it a sign of your house groaning because of the heavy snow load on its roof. As the snow melts and water seeps inside, the house starts to creak. Cracks can form on the walls. It is your cue to start cleaning the snow instantly.
Unfortunately, you may witness many accidents in winter because of slippery, icy, and wet roads. Similarly, slipping on driveways can cause massive injuries to your lower back and spine. So do icy pavements, which are a major threat to the safety of your kids. Even the assembled snow on windshields can considerably impair visibility, causing hazards.
❇️ WHY CHOOSE ECO-FRIENDLY TECHNIQUES?
Eco-friendly means not being harmful to the environment. Eco-friendly materials and substances do not damage the environment or those living there. Eco-friendly practices ensure the safety of the environment and living beings. Here is a list of the top 3 reasons why you should opt for eco-friendly techniques:
⭕ Eco-friendly practices improve the quality of life
The strong focus of these techniques is to keep the environment healthy. They do not contribute to pollution and increase carbon emissions. They are free of chemicals that can cause you harm, such as poisoning. Eco-friendly materials also break down easily with time, unlike plastic, which takes years to decompose. Hence, the environment stays clean and free of any toxins.
⭕ Climate change is very real!
Now calamities such as drastic climate change are hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles. Humankind faces the unprecedented challenges of global warming and pollution. The surging heat temperatures, fast melting of glaciers around the world, and gradual desertification of green areas are some hard facts that we need to accept are the result of climate change. Now is the time to focus on being eco-friendly to protect our planet.
⭕ Eco-friendly is the need of the hour
Some snow removal techniques, such as de-icing using salts or snow blowers, cause great harm to your environment and health. Salts can make your nearby lake or stream toxic, whereas snow blowers drastically increase your carbon footprint. You can even get carbon monoxide poisoning with these! It is why we need eco-friendly alternatives. Hence, we will focus on sustainable materials, free of detrimental chemicals, and efficient, simple, and cost-effective practices!
❇️ HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE TASK
Before taking on the arduous task of snow removal, you should do a couple of things first and take some proper precautions. Here are 4 things you need to do before removing snow. Check your driveway and roof. You need to assess the condition of your driveway and roof. Ensure that there are no cracks in them because water will eventually expand as ice in these cracks. It will damage the surfaces easily. It would be best to repair them before the snow arrives to avoid these problems.
⭕ Make sure you are healthy enough
Health comes above all else. It is better to consult your doctor first. Make sure that you are in a healthy state because an activity like snow removal can be quite exhausting in itself. For instance, people with lower back problems should not choose to shovel as it already puts a lot of pressure there. Hours of bending over the ground can strain their muscles, or they can tear their ligaments.
⭕ Keep yourself warm
You may need to spend considerable time outside in the cold and snow, so come prepared for this. Wear gloves outside and ensure that you are not exposed to the cold. You need to understand all the associated risks when removing snow. It is a task that is done routinely. If you are not warm, you might easily catch a cold. Removing snow can also make you damp and cold, leading to life-threatening hypothermia. Dress in layers to stay warm for a long time.
⭕ Cover your vehicles
An easy way to prevent snow accumulation on your vehicle is to cover it. Act before the snow comes so that your vehicles are protected. Some tarps and car covers are waterproof, protecting your vehicle and preventing erosion.
⭕ Choose the right equipment
Next, we will help you choose what technique or tool you should employ to remove snow easily. You have to see your convenience in what method is easy for you and what is available. Many choose to shovel or use blowers, but there are other eco-friendly alternatives that you should consider.
❇️ ECO-FRIENDLY WAYS TO REMOVE SNOW
It is best to forget the old-school ways of using shovels and ice scrapers for a while. While they do not harm the environment, shoveling can cause serious strains to the lower back and injuries if you accidentally slip on the snow. The most common practice is throwing salt onto the ice to lower its freezing point, so it melts. However, you ought to consider the impact of your choices. This salt can become toxic to wildlife when it enters lakes or rivers. Similarly, it can cause erosion of surfaces and vehicles and increase salinity in fields, which can, later on, be problematic as you cannot grow crops.
Here are some eco-friendly ways to remove snow without damaging the environment.
⭕ Wood Chips and Sand
Scattering wood chips and sand on your snow increases the traction. It means you will have more grip on the snow, and it is easier to dispose of. Wood chips are eco-friendly and do not harm the environment in any way. Putting sand on icy surfaces also makes them easier to walk on. You will not slip on it as sand is a good abrasive. You can clear the sand away when the snow melts or store it for reuse next year. This material is sustainable. However, ensure not to let the sand wash away into water streams or lakes.
⭕ Beet Juice
Surprisingly, another eco-friendly alternative to removing snow is sugar beet juice. As an alternative, it is both healthy and safer in a way. Beet juice is easily available at home. It increases friction when settled on snow and lowers its melting point so that snow melts quickly. Combining beet juice with sand on snow can do wonders!
⭕ Pickle or Cheese Brine
You can use pickle or cheese brine in combination with sand or beet juice to achieve great results. It helps to detach ice that is stuck on the ground and pavement. You can use it in large quantities to remove snow easily from roads or your driveways.
Another green snow melting alternative is bird seed. Using birdseed or fireplace ash on snow in driveways increases the traction. It helps to increase friction. You can use lots of birdseed as it is not harmful to the environment. Scatter it on the snow or icy ground so you can walk on it without slipping. Make sure to thoroughly clean up the seeds once the snow is gone and check the cracks for any.
⭕ Salt Alternatives
The salt you sprinkle in large quantities over snow is rock salt (sodium chloride). It is quite harmful to the environment and aquatic life, as we already mentioned. There are some other alternatives that you can use in an eco-friendly manner. For instance, Calcium magnesium acetate does not have chloride in it. After removing snow, it easily breaks down in soils. Calcium and magnesium are better options as compared to chloride. However, you must not use these products in huge quantities as it can be problematic. Large amounts take more time to break down and, in the meantime, can contaminate the water body.
Winters can be really fun if you decide to gather your family and engage in wholesome snowball fights. You can even make snowmen together. However, snow also creates difficulties since snow removal is not an option but a necessity in winter. You must work during these extreme months to maintain your safety and your loved ones. The conventional methods of putting salt are very harmful to the environment. It has adverse effects on water bodies near you and the wildlife within. Given the dire circumstances of the planet, you need to go for more eco-friendly products. Sustainable and environmentally friendly methods and products are gaining popularity as people become more conscious of their choices and impacts.
Getting professional help in extreme weather is always recommended. Here at MPR Landscapes, we use eco-friendly methods for snow management, striving to reduce negative impacts to a minimum consciously. We use the safest techniques to remove snow and ice from your driveways or yards. Call us to get professional work done!