With properties at nearly half the value they were just three years ago, now is definitely the best time to buy a home. However, if you already own your home, there is good news despite the recent drop in housing prices. It’s estimated that roughly half of homeowners are overpaying on their property taxes. For many homeowners, this means losing thousands of dollars that could be going towards a mortgage payment or other living expenses.
As a Michigander, I’m supposed to be used to winters full of below-freezing temperatures and generous amounts of snow. This winter, though, has been one for the ages. Many Michigan cities, including Jackson, Kalamazoo and Detroit, have already shoveled away more snow than the average for an entire winter, and we haven’t even hit the midpoint of February yet!
It gets worse. Adding on to the relentless snowfall is the considerable drop in temperatures. As of February 12, the total ice cover on the entire Great Lakes system was reported at 87.3%. At the current rate, ice cover would reach record levels sometime next week.
Schools have canceled class. Commute times to work have sometimes tripled. It’s not only northern states that have been impacted, either. States as far south as Georgia have the winter blues.
While large icicles hanging from trees and buildings grab our attention, ice can cause large amounts of damage to not only your home, but your vehicle, too. Follow these steps or you’ll pay for it in the long run.
Use Hot Water to Take a Shower, Not to Melt Ice on Your Car
Pouring hot water over the ice on your car may seem like a quick fix. However, it’s a quick way to find yourself with a cracked windshield. The sudden change of temperature from freezing to hot could cause the glass to crack or shatter.
Stick with an ice scraper instead. Be sure to use the ice scraper only on the windows because the hard plastic will cause damage to your paint. Before attempting to scrape any ice, your best option is to turn your vehicle on and let it warm up and melt the ice. You’ll avoid the risk of causing any damage by following this step.
When It Comes to De-Icing Your Driveway, Avoid Salt If Possible
Yes, salt is effective when it comes to melting snow and ice. However, salt residue hurts the environment and can hurt pets. There are many other methods to avoid a slick driveway that won’t cause harm. For starters, you can minimize snow and ice buildup by shoveling it away as soon as the snow stops. As useful as that method is, many of us are unable to get to it right away due to work and other responsibilities. For a steep price, you could install a “snow melt mat.” This method is only recommended for someone who is installing a new driveway, because of the cost. Electric wires are laid below the surface of the driveway, and radiate heat upwards. If you go this route, installation is expensive and you’ll also encounter a more expensive electric bill.
If you’re not worried about melting the ice and snow and only prefer to gain traction, try scattering sand or birdseed in lieu of salt.
Pantyhose to the Rescue
If you didn’t take the necessary steps in the fall to prevent an ice dam from forming at the edge of your roof, you’re probably nervous about the possible damage your home could be suffering as we speak. As the ice continues to build up and begins to block water from draining off the roof, your home is at risk of water damage and an expensive repair bill. Don’t fret. A quick cure can be found with an old pair of pantyhose and calcium chloride ice melter. Fill the leg of the pantyhose with the ice melter and lay it on the roof perpendicular to the ice dams. The calcium chloride will then melt through the ice and create a path for the water to flow down the gutters.
It may feel like we’ve experienced a full winter’s worth of snow and ice already, but the sad reality is that we’ve still got plenty of winter left. Fight back against the snow and ice by following these steps, or you’ll be sure to pay for it one way or another.
Do you have any other tips for removing snow and ice? Let us know in the comments!