The Ultimate Snow Necessities to Get Through the Winter - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

The right gear can go a long way toward protecting your household from the hazards of snow and ice. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of some of these tools. They could be just what you need!

Roof Rake

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), at this time of year, most worker injuries and deaths are the result of falling during rooftop snow removal. OSHA recommends removing snow without going onto the roof. Why even worry about rooftop snow? While snowy shingles look lovely, heavy snow and ice can cause real damage to your roof. This is where the roof rake comes in – a snow removal solution that keeps your feet safely on the ground. The top roof rakes are metal marvels, lightweight yet sturdy, and some can even extend up to 25 feet. If you decide to rake your roof, you can keep your rooftop glistening by leaving up to an inch of snow in order to protect the shingles from scraping damage.

If your roof is already frozen with ice dams, try the pantyhose method of allowing water to flow through your gutters and off your roof. A pantyhose leg filled with calcium chloride ice melter and laid perpendicular to the ice dams on your roof will effectively create a path to drain excess water.

The Shovel

Don’t let the multitude of snow shovel models overwhelm you. Before you run out and grab the first red-handled shovel you see, decide on your preferred method of snow removal. The top shovel models differ, depending on whether you’re pitching or pushing the snow. Handle length is another option to consider. Short shovels with extendable handles are perfect for storing in your trunk in case your car gets stuck. Another option is to add on an extra handle to transfer the shovel’s load from your lower back to your upper body, saving you from unnecessary strain.

Snow Spear

No matter how special it may be, sometimes a shovel just won’t cut it – the ice, that is. Stick one to Jack Frost with the True American ice spear. The 7-inch-by-9-inch blade breaks up ice in your driveway, making it easier for you to clear away the snow. Prevent slips and falls while shoveling by first taking a crack at the ice beneath with this powerful scraper.

Boot Tray

Although snowflakes lay nicely on the frozen ground outdoors, once inside, they can wreak havoc on your home’s carpet and hardwood flooring. Stop snow in its tracks with a boot tray beside your front door. Whatever the weather – rain, sleet or snow – these boot trays will help keep your home clean and dry this winter.

Snow Blower

Spare your back and spoil yourself this winter by investing in a quality snow blower. There are two paths you could plow when buying this machine: electric or gas-powered. Of course, there are benefits and drawbacks to both types, and your choice will reflect your priorities. Electric snow blowers are typically lighter and quieter than gas-powered ones, but they do tend to overheat quickly. While there may be nothing quite like the drone of a gas snow blower to break the silence of freshly fallen flurries, gas snow blowers are generally more reliable and better able to handle large amounts of snow than electric versions. If you’re unable to purchase a cordless electric blower, then consider purchasing an outdoor extension cord that won’t freeze, maintaining flexibility in subzero temperatures.

‘Beet’ Snow and Ice

Although you may be used to throwing salt on your steps, large amounts of rock salt can actually be ineffective in extremely cold conditions as well as detrimental to the environment. Because of these and other drawbacks to using rock salt, we recommend trying out an alternative method of combatting ice in front of your home. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) uses a mixture of beet juice and salt brine to fight icy roads. When used with beet juice, the salt’s damage to the pavement is lessened, says MoDOT.

Skip the salt altogether and melt the snow instead with electric heating mats and cable systems. From your sidewalk to your stairs (and even your roof!), electric mats and cables keep your pathways clear while you stay toasty warm indoors.

Windshield De-Icer

Don’t drive blind. Clear the view behind the wheel with a windshield de-icer. Effective windshield de-icers melt the ice and snow on your car, making scraping an faster and easier process. Tired of jiggling your icy door handle? Some de-icers even thaw frozen keyholes, doors and windows.

Ice Scraper

Stop struggling and invest in one of these top performing scraping blades to keep the road visible on your commute. The best ice scrapers have sharp sturdy blades, prominent ice-cutting teeth and a standard extension length of 5 feet, suggests TheWireCutter.com. Many ice scrapers also have the dual role of scraper and snow broom, with bristles at the other end of the blade. Additionally, collapsible shafts make for easy storage.

If your community transforms into a frosted wonderland in the wintertime, stock up on these snow necessities to ensure that your home is ready for a winter emergency. What’s your go-to tool for battling snow and ice? Share with fellow Zing Blog readers in the comments section below!

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