Lee Gilliam shares how to prepare for ice and snow removal ahead of the winter season. Lee shows Kevin the tools and materials he uses professionally and some maintenance he performs to ensure his tools are ready to go.
It Starts with the Right Salt
Ice and snow build-up on walkways and driveways can be extremely dangerous, so it’s best to have a product you can use to get it under control. There are three products for the job: salt, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride.
- Basic salt is affordable and easy to find. However, pets don’t love it (though it isn’t as harmful as some other options), and too much salt may affect plants.
- Calcium chloride comes in pellet form, and it’s very powerful. It can also hurt pet paws and damage plants and shrubs in the area.
- Magnesium chloride is pet-safe and better for the environment but a bit less effective than calcium chloride.
Non-Stick Spray is Key
Wet, icy snow can build up on shovels and snowblower augers, preventing them from working effectively. You can avoid this by treating the shovel or snowblower’s surfaces with a non-stick spray. This spray makes the surface too slick for ice to build up, allowing these tools to work more effectively.
Choose Your Shovel Type
There are two types of shovels that Lee chooses from. The first is the basic shovel and it’s designed to scoop and remove snow from the surface. It’s best for working quickly, shoveling stairs and patios, and similar areas. The second type of the push-type shovel is great for pushing snow across smooth, flat surfaces like driveways and wider walkways.
Don’t Forget Your Snowblower
Snowblowers can be indispensable during big storms, but only if they’re in working order. Be sure to check your paddle or auger to ensure they’re in good shape with plenty of working life left. If not, bring them to a small engine repair shop for a replacement. Also, check your oil to make sure it has a golden color and isn’t dirty. Finally, check your spark plug to ensure it isn’t fouled with carbon buildup.
Expect to get up to two years out of oil and to replace your spark plug once a year.
For an icy driveway or walkway, spread out a dusting of salt to melt the ice. Avoid using salt on newly laid concrete or a bluestone patio to prevent any damage.
Calcium chloride is a very effective snow-melting product, often used in shopping center parking lots. Although powerful, calcium chloride is a strong chemical that can harm animals and plants.
If you have a pet, use a magnesium chloride ice melt product. It’s pet-friendly and less corrosive to concrete surfaces.
Lee recommends using a snow and ice lubricant spray on the shoot of a snow blower. This will prevent snow buildup.
Annual snow blower maintenance includes changing out the auger paddle spark plug and checking the oil.