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Snow accumulation – everything you need to keep clear apart from your roof

How to
outside snow

In collaboration with Promutuel

Snow building up on your roof isn’t just a potential danger for you and your family—it’s also a risk for your property. There are limits to the weight of snow your home can take. The best way to clear your roof is to use a SnowPeeler, a tool specially designed to make the job easy.

But your roof isn’t the only thing you need to keep clear of the white stuff.

Removing snow and ice from strategic spots around your property is an essential part of home maintenance. This post reviews the areas you need to keep clear of snow and the best ways to do so.

Step 1 – Clearing your parking space: how to go about it

In winter, streets and alleys are often blocked by snow. Unfortunately, that can mean a wall of white stuff blocking your driveway when you get home from work. Sigh!

You’ll need to clear the pile left behind by city snow plows. If a passer-by slips and is injured because you neglected to properly maintain your parking space, you could be held responsible.

There’s no getting around it: you have to clear away the snow. How? You’ve got three options:

Use classic brute force

For a non-technological solution, you can turn to good old muscle power to clear your parking space with a good-quality shovel. Just make sure you keep your back straight and your knees bent so that you lift with your legs. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a sore back—and the impression that shovelling is bad for your health.

Be smart and dress the part!

  • Wear a tuque to keep your head warm.
  • Your feet are also prone to heat loss, so keep them comfy with warm, waterproof boots.
  • And don’t forget to wear a warm jacket that leaves you plenty of freedom of movement.

Staying warm is key. Peel off too many layers and you could catch a chill that prevents your immune system from laying low that flu or stomach bug you brought home from work or your child’s daycare.

Lay on the salt

Salt is a super-powered substance from the depths of the earth. In ancient times when humans still dressed in furs, possessing the secret of salt would have made you a shaman.

  • Salt triggers an endothermic reaction that can melt large quantities of ice.
  • In addition to getting rid of snow and ice, salt prevents water from freezing between 0°C and -20°C.
  • By mixing salt with sand or fine gravel, you can boost tire traction and make it easier to get your car out, especially on those nightmare January mornings when you wake to find that a night’s worth of freezing rain has “gifted” your driveway with a shiny new coat of ice.
  • But before you dash off to the hardware store to load up on salt for a shovel-free winter, remember that there’s a third method: the snowblower.

Let a machine do the work

Mechanical snow removal—a fancy term for snowblowing—is a faster and easier way to get the job done. But remember: if you’re thinking about blowing snow onto your neighbour’s property and blaming it on city snow crews, think again! It’s illegal.

Surprisingly, there’s another solution available:

The electric snow shovel: Capable of handling a decent 15 cm of powder without getting overloaded, this machine will have you wowing the neighbours in your fancy late-autumn duds (after all, in Québec, the snow removal gear comes out in November!)

But seriously:

  • Pros
    • Goes where shovels can, unlike a snowblower
    • Throws snow up to 7 meters for effective clearing
  • Cons
    • Only effective on smooth services like asphalt and concrete: otherwise, you send out a shower of gravel strong enough to shatter a car or home window
    • Jams if snow is too heavy or exceeds 15 cm of powder

Step 2 – Why clear the balcony? Because…

Your balcony or deck needs clearing, especially if it’s big. There are several reasons for this:

Protection for support pillars

The cost of structural repairs is the main reason for keeping your balcony clear. Leaving it covered in six feet of snow for four months of the year causes wear and tear, as supports bend a little more under the load every year.

Safety in the event of fire

Another good reason is fire safety. A balcony or deck makes a better emergency exit than a window.

  1. A balcony door is more likely to be ice-free.
    1. And it’s easier to work it open if it’s frozen shut.
  2. There’s more room to get out.
  3. There are more escape options, and more space to guide the evacuation of your children, parents, and pets.

To clear snow and ice from your balcony, you can use similar techniques to the ones you use for your parking space:

Rock salt or calcium chloride

Rock salt and calcium chloride are always effective against ice, and a great way to ensure safe access to your barbecue all year round.

Keep in mind, however, that these products are hard on surfaces and structural elements. You’ve probably heard about the toll that salt takes on Québec roads—well, the same holds true for your home.

Salt and calcium eat away at surfaces and devour concrete and reinforcing steel. Which makes that trusty old shovel a good option for those who don’t mind a bit of winter exercise.

Of course, you could also hire out your 13-year-old neighbour. That way, you can enjoy some extra free time and brag about fostering initiative in the younger generation!

Step 3 – Clearing your walkway: Any different from your parking space?

No, not in the slightest.

But here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know!

Believe it or not, shovelling from your door to your parking space (or the street) is equivalent to running at 15 km/h?. Specialists recommend that you shovel for 15 minutes to enjoy the benefits for your heart health.

Are you the kind of person who complains that Québec’s climate cramps your running routine? No more excuses! Get dressed and get shovelling. And if sports aren’t your cup of tea, type “snow removal” into Google and find a contractor.

Step 4 – Clear snow from your carport to avoid problems

Carport covered in a fluffy coat of powder? Nice! Just remember that if you leave it on until January or February, you’ll be scraping off ice!

What’s more, ice is by no means your main concern: it’s the accumulated weight of too much snow that could end up damaging your car. You may laugh at our warning—but we’re serious All that extra weight could collapse your carport. Throw in the effects of gravity and there’s a real risk of damage to your vehicle.

To avoid problems, clear off your carport regularly and don’t let snow build up on vehicles, even ones you’re not currently using.

The best tool for the job? A telescopic snow brush. It’s that simple!

Step 5 – Protect your cedar hedge

Do you have a cedar hedge?

For the sake of argument, let’s say you do.

In winter, snow and storms can seriously damage hedges. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep yours protected.

Protective measures for happy cedars

Follow these steps to protect your cedars during winter:

  • Plant stakes along the windward side of the hedge.
  • Make sure the cedar needles don’t touch the stakes.
  • Cover the stakes with geotextiles.

Given the price of these shrubs, it makes more sense to protect your investment than repair the damage. Otherwise, you’ll be greeted by the sight of a bent and broken hedge come spring.

And if all of this isn’t enough? That’s what insurance is for!

Insurance is for unexpected events. If you’re like us and you’re wary of winter, keep yourself protected and ask for a home insurance quote today.

Easily remove the snow accumulated on the roof with the SnowPeeler!

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