Here in Canada, snowy paths and driveways are a reality of winter.
Removing snow and ice can be a heavy task, but it is the responsibility of every home owner to keep their paths and driveways clear of ice and safe for use. There are many products on the market that can help you gain control over the white stuff piling up around your home, but not all of them are good for the planet – in particular, road salt.
Let’s take a look at why road salt is not a smart option for use around your home:
• Salt is harmful to pets (it burns if it lodges in their paws), insects, birds and other forms of wildlife
• Salt residue near sidewalks may attract deer into the road, where they run the risk of being hit by vehicles
• Salt damages plants and vegetation on contact
• Salt accumulates in the soil, preventing plants from absorbing nutrients and minerals
• Salt inevitably ends up in the rivers and water system, either via run-off or by penetrating the ground water
• Salt is harmful to fresh water fish
• Salt affects the quality of our drinking water
• Salt corrodes metals, damaging cars and other metallic structures
If you must use salt, choose wisely. Sodium chloride (NaCL) may contain cyanide. Calcium chloride (CaCl) is slightly better as less goes farther, but it is still not ideal. The run-off increases algae growth, which can clog waterways. Also avoid potassium chloride.
Try sand (or even birdseed) instead, because it:
• Provides traction
• Is inexpensive
• Is environmentally friendly – won’t harm animals or plants
• Absorbs sunlight which helps to melt the ice faster
• Is readily available in most construction supply stores
Home maintenance experts recommend the use of brick sand because it is coarser and provides more traction.
Snow piling up? Here are five tips to help make snow removal easier:
1. Safety first. Before you attempt to step outside and reach for the shovel, observe the following safety precautions:
• Flex your muscles and do a little warm-up
• Dress appropriately, in layers, so that you won’t freeze outside
• Wax your shovel so that snow will not stick to it
• Take breaks to avoid spraining your muscles and suffering other injuries
• Wear boots with treaded bottoms so that you have good grip in the snow
2. Shovel sooner rather than later; before snow becomes packed down into ice.
3. If you use a snow blower, use an electric one. Gas-powered blowers contribute to air pollution.
4. Consider installing a “snow melt mat” on your driveway. This is a mat composed of electric wires laid down on the driveway so that they radiate heat upwards and melt ice. Because the mat uses electricity, it’s not as eco-friendly as sand, but it’s a better alternative to road salt.
5. If the snow gets too heavy and abundant to be manageable, call a snow removal professional for assistance.
For professional snow removal services, including snow removal, snow hauling, ice control and sanding, call Ram Complete Cleaning and Maintenance Services at 403-291-1051.
Tags: snow removal