Snow removal – effectively and safely

7 ways to clear snow without special equipment

Shovel, film, trough and other handy tools that can be found around the house or at the cottage will help to clean up the area.

Life Howsher Author, Mechanical Engineer

Unlike apartment owners, private school and suburban homeowners have mixed feelings at the sight of falling snow. On the one hand, it is a beautiful landscape outside the window, on the other – a snowy web from which it is impossible to go out into the yard, and not even to reach the barn for firewood. Fortunately, there are many ways to clear the yard, garage exit and paths on the property.

What you need to know to make it work

  1. Always keep a shovel by the front door in winter.
  2. If the drifts are growing and the snowfall doesn’t stop, don’t wait – start shoveling what you’ve been attacking. Then you’ll have to do it again, but it will be easier and faster.
  3. Don’t try to remove all the snow at once. Clean the paths to the gate, garage, and outbuildings first. Remove snow around the house so it doesn’t accumulate and flood the foundation while the walls are dewing.
  4. Allow the snow to fall out of the car before cleaning the parking lot so you don’t have to do double work.
  5. Start cleaning from the house and head to the gate to get there when utility workers are already clearing the streets. Otherwise, the Snowpock units may backfill the exit and you’ll have to clear them again.
  6. If you have a lot of snow, don’t pile it on your lawn – better to put it on a plastic sheet or tarp and haul it into the garden. If there are no beds, distribute the snow evenly and not very thickly over the lawn so that in spring the grass does not get mashed and there are no bare spots on the lawn.
  7. If possible, do not pile snow around the edges of your driveway, but pile as much as possible. Otherwise, there won’t be room for the next need.
  8. Don’t be lazy and periodically clear your yard after each snowfall – fresh snow is much lighter than old snow. By removing it, you won’t allow yourself to thaw and form an ice crust, making it even more difficult.

How to remove snow without a snowblower

1. using a shovel.

The classic tool should not be written off even with more serious devices, because special devices may not be in every corner of the yard. Here are a few tips to help you get by faster and spend less effort.

If you have a plywood shovel, pre-spray the bucket with vegetable oil or rub it with a paraffin candle to keep the snow from sticking and slide better. For plastic shovels, additional lubrication is not as relevant.

To save kraft, don’t toss the snow, but push it to the edge and then lift and shovel it to the side. You may not work with your hands at all, but use your shovel with your foot to dump the snow. The wider the grip on the handle, the easier it is to lift the bucket, but at the same time you have to bend over more. Find the best position for an even load on your back and top.

Remove large drifts with the shovel in several steps. If you try to lift all at once, you risk breaking the tool or damaging your back.

If bad weather takes you by surprise and you don’t have a good snow shovel, build one out of regular shovels or use unnecessary cuttings with a piece of plywood or small plywood on the end.

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To make the improvised tool even more effective, equip it with sides made of the same plywood.

2. use a shovel and sheeting

In this variation of the adult method, a shovel is added to the snow conveyor blade. The simple addition greatly increases productivity and saves effort by eliminating unnecessary snow plowing.

As an auxiliary material, you can use thick film from the greenhouse, a piece of tarpaulin, the remnants of packaging cellophane, an advertising PVC banner or even an old stretched prayer. Then it’s just a matter of small things: tie a board with a knot on one side, load it with snow and drag it into the garden or to another place where the mound is not in the way.

3. using a basin on a rope

An old rustic method. Perhaps not the most productive, but also has a right to life. You can not clean the yard this way, but the garden paths – quite. If the illustration is clear, the essence of the method is to determine a mol or a basin with a flat floor with some load, such as bricks, and to tie a rope to one of the handles, spontaneously cleaning the place where the passage is required.

Because of its streamlined shape, the basin presses on snowdrifts like an icebreaker and is much easier to pull with a shovel.

If the size of the trough allows, you can put the kids in it. Of course, the tracks, and at the same time and the kids will have fun.

4. Using a scraper

A scraper or scraper is an upgraded version of a shovel. It is also often called an “engine” because it is used to move snow. Scrapers are shaped like a bucket and have a curved handle that can be held with both hands and is pressed by the weight of the whole body in front of it. Improved versions of scrapers have skids, like a sled or bicycle – they make it easier to move the snow loaded into the bucket.

The scraper is very easy to work with: just lead it in front of you, gradually cut off strip after strip, and move from one end of the yard to the other.

At the beginning of the season scrapers of various designs are on sale in every construction supermarket. If you wish, it is easy to build such a device with your own hands. Materials for this can be found in every shed.

The simplest scraper can be made from a piece of plywood and a shovel cutter. Attach it with screws in the middle of a wooden sheet – and you’re done. If there is a second cutter is even better. Attach the handles to the edges of the plywood and back it off a little bit, and you’ll be able to clear the yard of snow with more comfort.

A more serious version of the scraper consists of pipes and a metal trunk. One ruler is enough for three copies – you can give it to the neighbors. To make a scraper, divide both floors into three equal pieces, connect the pieces and cut the run into “slices” with a router. Bend the edges with pliers, trim the sharp edges. From metal pipes or wooden bars, make a handle for the scraper and secure the bucket. The scraper is ready.

A video tutorial will help in detail:

5. Using a shovel on wheels.

The most effective tool is a replica of a snowplow range in miniature. This is a slightly curved bucket on wheels with a handle. Due to the slight slope, it not only presses the layer of snow in front of it, but also shifts it to one side, forming a decent wave.

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Leaning on the edge of the yard, you need to remove the accumulated snow behind the strip and move it to one side of the location. From the corner of the dump, you can only work in one direction – you have to go back “idle.” To avoid this, you can either change the angle of the shovel on any pass, or set the dump straight.

It is quite difficult to make such a device yourself – you will need metal, welding and other tools, as well as the ability to use them. Therefore, it is easier to buy a ready-made blade or make a simpler version of the scraper for plywood, as mentioned above.

6. With a blower.

If you have such a gardening tool as a blower in your yard, consider yourself lucky. In the winter, when there are no leaves or dust, it can be used quite successfully for snow removal. Of course, you can’t cope with big snowdrifts with it, but a thin layer of freshly fallen precipitation is no problem.

You should not count on record efficiency, but with such a tool you will not get tired at all.

With an electric blower you can get to work right away, but the gasoline blower must be warmed up before a full load.

7. With salt.

A method for the lazy, which does not require physical effort. Ordinary salt sprinkled on the paths will melt the snow in just half an hour. Simple table salt will do, but it is better to buy technical in a hardware store – it will cost much cheaper.

Despite the effectiveness of salt, you should not abuse it on your site. It is quite an aggressive reagent, which destroys the soles of shoes and has a devastating effect on plants if it gets into the soil. Maximum that you can afford to treat the paths with abrasive, and then in a pinch.

Clearing snow correctly: Minimum effort for maximum results

In our country, as you know, winter always comes unexpectedly. One day the sky is covered with dense clouds, it starts snowing, which quickly covers the streets and leads to almost catastrophic consequences. The problem is that snowfalls are constantly recurring, and if you do not remove the snowdrifts immediately, it will be much harder to deal with them in a few days. We recommend that you check in time to see if you’ve stocked up on snow removal tools. If not, we’ll tell you about all the gadgets that exist today to help you get rid of the cold fluffy coating of paths and driveways in your garden.

Why is snow removal important?

If you’ve never had to shovel snow by hand, your first encounter with reality may not be very pleasant. From the outside, snow removal looks easy and fun, but after 15-20 minutes of working with a shovel, your back begins to noticeably hurt, and your tired hands can no longer throw away the white mass with the same ease. In addition, this work, oddly enough, is very unsafe. For example, about 26,000 people in the U.S. each year seek medical attention for injuries and illnesses sustained while shoveling snow and ice.

The elderly and people suffering from cardiovascular disease are in the first place in the risk group. The fact is that the cold air leads to vasoconstriction and physical activity makes the heart beat noticeably faster than usual. The result is a sharp rise in blood pressure, which leads to heart attacks. Statistics show that people over 55 years of age are four times more likely to experience heart pain shoveling snow than simply sitting at home in front of the TV.

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So it’s also important to take a proper approach to such a simple task, taking your own health into account. Today there are many tools and devices that can help make hard physical work easier and simpler. You only need to choose the most suitable of them and actively use them during the long, cold and snowy winter.

So think about what you use today when shoveling snow.


An ordinary shovel, due to its simplicity and cheapness, does not benefit from implementation. The modern tool has a significant advantage over grandfather’s steel shovel with a wooden handle. Today the bucket is made of lightweight but durable plastic, and the handle is no less lightweight aluminum. The weight of such a model does not exceed one kilogram, which means that it is much easier to work with than with conventional shovels. Despite the listed improvements, the cost of snow shoveling equipment for snow is usually low and literally affordable.


If you do not use shovels when removing trails, then in winter this tool should definitely be present in the trunk of your car. If a snowstorm catches you on the street, you will inevitably use it to save your war horse from snow drifts. Well, so that the shovel does not take up much space, choose a model with a telescopic handle.

Erudite or engine

An improved version of the shovel, which is called a scraper or engine, allows you to remove snow faster and with less effort. The simplest option is a large bucket or box with a handle to be pushed along the path. The bottom edge slides over the hard base, cutting a layer of snow and directing it into the bucket. Once the bin is full, you just have to pull it up to the edge of the track, turn around and help with your foot.

Some models are equipped with bicycles, which makes it much easier to move the snow-filled scraper. The thin, sharp edge absorbs even sticky, hard snow. Without much effort, you will remove quite a large area with it. Choose a model with a metal shovel that will not only cross the soft, fresh snow, but also divide the ice or cut a hardened layer.

However, the scraper is not without its drawbacks, the main one being low maneuverability. Unless you need to damage a narrow, winding driveway and at the same time need to damage shrubbery or trim around the edges of the road, you still have to pick up a shovel.


If snow falls quite often in your area, it’s worth buying a snow blower that runs on an electric wire or gasoline engine. You won’t have to waste your energy, because it will do what it’s designed to do. It throws the snow in front of the augers and feeds it to the thrower, which throws the snow stream at a distance of several meters. The throwing direction can be set. Thus, the snow is either evenly distributed over the area of the site, which you do not specify (on the lawn or flower beds), or accumulates as a huge snow. In this case, you can order a machine that will remove it from the site.

The cost of budget models Snowman, of course, is not particularly great, but not everyone decides to make such an expense. On the other hand, working with a snow discriminator is more like a walk in the fresh air than hard physical work. So this option should not be reduced, because no matter what you say, health is more expensive than money.

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If you have a tractor with manual control on your farm, you should definitely buy a shield and snow blade for it. A useful device will allow you to rake snow not by your own muscle power, but by the power of the engine. Use the following tips to get the most out of your equipment:

Use a rotating brush to remove a thin layer of no more than 3 to 5 cm;

Medium-thickness snow is best removed with a snow blade;

If the pavement is more than 15 cm thick, it is recommended to use a snow blower;

Do not forget to put chains on the wheels to prevent slippage.

With a hand-powered tractor, the work is done very quickly and does not require you to exert excessive physical effort.

Clearing ice and snow build-up

While a fresh layer can be removed relatively easily, even if it’s wet and heavy, an icy or compacted layer is a real challenge. Using a special tool, the ice has to be gradually broken up, and only then can you rake the debris off the track. This work is very physically exhausting and requires patience and caution. If you act too carelessly, you can damage the surface of the trail, or worse, hurt your own foot.

But leaving an icy crust on the tracks is not safe either, especially if there are elderly people living in the house. It is very easy to slip on the ice, and the result can be a severe fracture and a months-long hospital stay. To facilitate the process of cleaning, it is recommended to use a special reagent that quickly melts the ice and turns it into a loose mess, which can be picked up little by little and removed from the construction site.

Unlike conventional salt, modern reagents contain anti-corrosion additives, so they do not destroy the soles of shoes and car tires. Their advantages include:

Prolonged effect – you can sprinkle the track once, and there will be no frost on it for several days.

Fast effect – ice melts many times faster than contact with baking salt;

Freezeproof – can work at temperatures up to 20 ° C;

Efficacy – breaks ice and snow crust, as well as stops the connection of ice with the hard surface;

Safety – do not pollute the environment.

Although the concentration of the reagent in the melted snow is much lower than when using salt, it is still not worth throwing the treated snow into the ground at the construction site. It is advisable to take it outside the garden or store it in a limited area that you do not want to use as a garden or flower bed.


Rail heating.

There is now a much more effective way than all of the above to keep garden paths and driveways free of snow and ice. This is heated rails with a special heating cable. Of course, you can not start this method in the middle of winter – you have to wait for warm days to lay a heating cable under the tiles. But you will forever get rid of the anger associated with cleaning paths from the snow, and no snowstorms will not be afraid of you. Just turn on the heating, and in a few hours the tracks will be clean and dry without the slightest effort.

The advantages of cable heating rails include:

Efficiency – no matter how thick the layer of snow is, removing it with cable heating is not difficult;

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Ease – all you need to do to remove snow is flip a switch, and the heating system does the rest;

Safe – reliable insulation and fuses eliminate the slightest possibility of electrocution;

Environmentally friendly – melting water stays clean and is absorbed into the ground without causing any minor harm to the environment.

Shelf life – cable laid under walkways will last them for many years to require repair or replacement.

Today, heating the garden path with electric cable is the most effective, easy and safe way to get rid of snow and ice cover. After completing the installation with the onset of winter, you will remember the need to clear the area of snow, despite the strongest storms and snowfalls.

A few practical tips

No matter how you get rid of snow, we offer suggestions that can make your job easier.

Remove the snow immediately. A fresh ceiling is much easier to harden and get rid of than a dense, neck-deep one, much less one with paws or wheels. Yes, often we don’t want to leave our warm house at all, but a few days after a snowfall we still have to do it, and the job gets a lot harder. We have to unscrew the caterpillars and ice layers from the paths and roll them away.

The tool must be handy. There are no small things: the scraper must effectively cut a layer of snow and remove the surface of the pavement, and the handle must lie comfortably in the hands. In addition, the handle should be long enough so that you do not have to work in a bent position, which overloads the back muscles. The posture while running in the snow should be free, natural and not cause discomfort.

Take care of your hands. Be sure to wear cases or work gloves to avoid blistering while running.

Don’t forget about ergonomics. Hold your shovels in the middle of the cutter. This is the most comfortable position and allows you to put the necessary emphasis on the layer of snow.

Use your legs, not your back. Don’t overload your spine by lifting heavy jugs of snow. It’s much easier to move it off and lean on the shovel as a scraper. Immediately after the snowfall you need to clear the tracks, and with the drifts that have formed on the sides, you can gradually deal with a little later in your spare time.

Do not rush If you have to clean heavy wet snow, do not immerse the shovel more than half a bayonet. Carefully break the resulting crust into squares, then grab it with the shovel.

Choose a tool according to your strength. If you’re working with a shovel or scraper, don’t choose the biggest model you can handle the job in two. Too much snow will make your job literally unbearable, which can lead to negative consequences.

Get plenty of rest. If the work front is large enough, don’t rush to do everything on the fly. Stop every quarter of an hour to catch your breath and restore a calm rhythm of the heartbeat.

Drinking Water. We are physically active and evaporate a lot of water through our skin. Replenish fluid loss to avoid blood clotting, which increases the risk of blood clots.

And the most important tip: If your age is already a health concern, if possible, shift the heavy physical work to younger family members or take care to mechanize and automate the snow removal process as much as possible.

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