Our climate is full of surprises throughout the winter months. Snow, freezing rain, plain rain, and flash freezes….sometimes in the same week! Keeping your entrance safe during the winter is more than an important step in preparing your home for winter. Keeping the entrance to your home clear of snow and ice isn’t just for comfort of you and your family. Communities across Ontario generally have bylaws which require that paths, walkways, steps, and entrances are cleared of snow, unobstructed, and safe for walking. This can be extra challenging when the weather is changing so often. Read on for on how to keep your entrance safe during the winter months.
1. Make Space
If you didn’t clear your walkway before the winter weather hit, make the time now to make space. Move decor, pots, and chairs into storage, or as far from the entrance as you can. This creates more space to pile the snow, and prevents accidents from someone tripping over something covered in snow.
2. Tools First
Have the right tools available to clear the entrance around your home. These smaller spaces generally can’t be reached with mechanical snow blowers. A pusher is effective for clearing porches, decks, and walks - without the work of lifting and moving all the snow. A wide shovel with an ergonomic handle makes it easier to lift away snow where there is no place to push it. You may also want a heavy ice chopper to break up the ice and clear it away. On milder days it is ideal to remove the ice, instead of relying on deicers, which build up throughout the season and may damage our garden and surfaces.
3. Know your deicers
Calcium chloride (CaC12)- effective, and works quickly. Harsh on boots and carpets. Can irritate the paws of your pets. Recommended to use booties for your dogs if you use this option.
Sodium chloride (NaCl or rock salt) - effective, readily available at the local gas station, and not expensive. Gets messy as the season progresses and layers build up. Damaging to lawns, gardens, interlock, and asphalt.
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) - has the advantage of being biodegradable and eco-friendly; may be more expensive than rock salt, but people report they need to use less.
4. Make it Easy
Don’t bury the shovel and the bucket of ice melter in the back of your garage. Make it easy for visitors to your home (like your cleaning service, or your pet sitter) to keep your entrance safe for them, especially when you are not home. An uncleared entrance also signals that no one is home or expected soon - which can invite break ins.
Keeping your entrance clear of snow and ice is more than making your home look more inviting - it keeps your home more secure, and makes you a responsible member of your community.