What Are Your Snow Removal Options?

If you have to remove snow from your driveway every yea, you may have fallen into a tired routine. Since snow removal is a necessary evil of winter weather, why not consider your options? Take a look at these different removal options and weigh the pros and cons.

1. A Shovel

Pros: This tried-and-true method is certainly the least expensive one out there. And, if you do it correctly, you can count it towards your daily exercise since you can burn a couple hundred calories. You'll also feel warmer than other options since you'll be working out.

Cons: Obviously the biggest downsides of shoveling are finding a willing volunteer and doing physical labor. Every year, people die of heart attacks while they shovel the driveway. If you are out of shape or have a history of heart disease, don't be a hero—try another method.

Many people don't like the physical labor of shoveling because they either don't have the right gear or because they aren't shoveling with correct form.

Shoveling Tips:

To negate these cons, make sure you buy an ergonomic shovel. Choose a shovel with a long, curved handle so that you don't have to constantly bend over. Although you may think plastic won't hold up like a metal blade, a small plastic blade will make it easier to shovel since you won't have to move as much weight.

Like any other exercise, you should actually do a warm-up/stretch before you start shoveling. Your body will thank you later. Similarly to how you lift a heavy box, make sure you lift snow with the strength of your knees and hips—not with your low back. Lastly, while it may seem counter-intuitive, you may want to start shoveling while it's still snowing. Yes, that means you will have to clear the driveway a couple more times in the day; but, it will also mean you will move inches of snow rather than feet.

2. A Snowblower

Pros: You won't have to worry about health concerns while using a snowblower. Also, you'll significantly cut down your time on the driveway compared to shoveling.

Cons: So, what's the catch? If you only have a single-stage snowblower, you won't be able to remove a heavy fall or wet snow. But, if you do decide to get a stronger two-stage snowblower, that means you could fork over about $1,000 or more. A good idea would be to get a nicer snowblower but share it (and the costs) with a good neighbor.

3. A Snow Removal Company

Pros: If you really hate being outside in the cold, this option trumps snowblowers and shovels. You'll still be able to get the snow removed quickly, but you won't have to worry about any potential injury. Since these companies are often run by the same contractors that installed the driveway, they actually have the proper equipment and know-how to safely remove snow without damaging your property. Vintage Lawn is a company near you that offers snow removal.

Cons: Hiring a company for a residential drive may be pricey. If you have a larger business parking lot, this kind of service would be more economical. Figuring out estimates can also be a headache. For instance, some companies expect you to help pay for the de-icers and sand. Some companies may include walks and steps in their estimate, while others may charge for extras. Lastly, some companies will only come if there's heavy snowfall; so, if you are OCD about your driveway being clear at all times, this service probably isn't for you.

4. A Deicing Salt

Pros: Deicing salts are great because you can sprinkle the driveway once in the morning, and the chemicals will work on snow and ice throughout the day. If your drive is frozen, this is a stellar way to clear the ice.

Cons: De-icers use strong chemicals like urea and calcium chloride, which can harm your driveway, soil, and water runoff. And unfortunately, there aren't many eco-friendly products available with the same melting effects. To mitigate chemical damage, buy a large bag of rock salt (reasonably priced at most home and garden stores) and mix a small amount of deicing salt in. A little goes a long way.

5. A Heated-Driveway System

Pros: If you are planning on redoing or installing a new driveway, you may want to consider this option. The biggest pro of a heated-driveway system is that it is eco-friendly. A contractor would install heating wires underneath the the driveway, thus eliminating the need or harsh de-icers. And of course, this option is also great because you don't have to go outside for it to work!

Cons: Out of all the options, this is by far the most costly. But if you live in an extremely wintry area and you don't plan on moving for many years, this would be a good investment.