The fact that spring is just around the corner is music to the ears of anyone who is sick of the cold, ice and snow associated with winter. For some, the promise of blue skies, sunshine and flowers blooming is enough to bring a smile to their face. For others, the end of shoveling snow and worrying about slipping on ice on your driveway or on your walkway is a reason to celebrate.
Although the threat of snow and ice lessens as March continues, residents in some areas of the country may still need to have their shovels and ice melt handy.
Anyone who has wielded a shovel to clear their property of substantial snow knows that shoveling is hard and potentially dangerous. In fact, common shoveling-related injuries include muscle aches and strains, back injuries and even heart attacks. The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 11,000 people are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year due to injuries caused by shoveling snow.
Many people also use salt and other snow melting chemicals to help keep their driveways and walkways clear. However, experts say these substances can be damaging to the environment.
According to The Daily Green, using salt as a part of a snow removal process is damaging in several ways. It can build up in the soil, it prevents plants from absorbing moisture and nutrients, it can leach heavy metals, which eventually make their way into water supplies and it can hurt pets, as it burns when it becomes lodged in their paws.
Luckily, there are ways to clear your property of snow and ice without harming the environment.
Radiant heat snow melting systems make removing snow as simple as possible. In addition to eliminating the need to shovel, these systems are easy to use and install. They also help increase the resale value of your home and lengthen the life of your driveway.
Among the driveway heating systems available are cables and mats. Individuals can discuss which option is best for their property with a WarmlyYours expert.
While these systems can be installed any time of year, experts say spring or summer is ideal. The next time the weather is bad, you'll be able to sit back and flip a switch from the comfort of your home to clear the driveway or walkway.
Try a more environmentally-friendly substance
The Daily Green recommends scattering sand or birdseed for better traction on snowy or icy surfaces. Using cat litter or ashes is not believed to be helpful and can result in a mess to clean up when everything melts.
Those who insist upon using salt should choose carefully, as sodium chloride may contain cyanide.
Individuals who can't shovel on their own should consider paying someone to do it for them. Purchasing a snow blower is also a good option for some, but environmental experts say gas-powered models generate air and noise pollution. Eco-conscious people should consider an electric snow blower to lessen the environmental impact.
Experts say there are ways to make shoveling less dangerous as well. They include:
1. Stretch before and after shoveling.
2. Dress in layers. You want to be warm enough, while also being able to remove layers as your body gets heated up.
3. Get a head start. Don't wait until the last flake has fallen, as it may be easier to remove smaller accumulations several times rather than several inches - or feet - all at once. Additionally, snow is lightest soon after it falls. It just gets heavier the longer you wait.
4. Take frequent rests.
5. Stay hydrated.