Top Tips for How to Shovel Snow Like a Pro

Deborah K. Vick

Whether you’re buying your first home in Buffalo, NY, or prepping for your first winter in an apartment in Denver, CO, snow season is on its way. When it comes to shoveling snow, there are a few professional tips to keep in mind in order to make the job easier, safer, and more effective.

snow covered home

Importance of shoveling snow during the winter

Snow can cause problems on the roads, sidewalks, driveways, and walkways. So when the snow starts falling this season, it’s important to take care of it. Shoveling snow at your home has many benefits, such as ensuring safety for yourself and others by making walkways visible. Ice and snow buildup on sidewalks, steps, or driveways can cause cracks and other problems, so removing it can prevent damage to your property. Lastly, by shoveling promptly, you can reduce the amount of ice and make the job easier overall.

Tips to prep for snow shoveling

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you know that shoveling snow can be a lot of work. But it doesn’t have to be. With some planning and the right equipment, you can make shoveling snow a breeze.

Have a snow removal plan in place before winter starts

“Snow storms have a significant impact on our daily lives during the harsh winter months. This is why a detailed snow removal plan is so important,” says Novus Maintenance.“Picking the right de-icers that are effective during freezing temperatures, the right snow removal equipment, and having the right timing all play an important role in ensuring your home, business, or operation remains accessible during the winter months.”

Dress for the task to protect yourself 

“Dressing for the task is the first thing you want to do when hand shoveling,” says Tahoe Workz Snow Removal.“Gloves, waterproof boots, and snow pants are all important, depending on how deep the snow is.”

A big, heavy coat is not always the best option, even though it might be cold outside. To make sure you’re both comfortable and able to move around while working in cold weather, dress in multiple layers that you can take off or put back on as necessary.

Make sure you have the right tools

Next, make sure you have a good snow shovel. A snow shovel with a curved blade will help you scoop up more snow at once, making the job go faster. You may also want to invest in a snow pusher, which is a tool that helps you push snow out of the way without having to lift it. Or a snow blower, which is a machine that clears snow from an area by blowing it away with a powerful stream of air. 

Which tools you need depends on various factors, such as the amount of snow, the size of the area to be cleared, and the user’s preference. In some cases, snow blowers are more efficient than shovels for clearing large areas of snow.

Use a proper stance

It is crucial to adopt a proper stance to minimize injury to your back. The key to safe shoveling is lifting from your knees, not your back, and turning to safely throw the snow without twisting your back. Be careful of ice. If your driveway is icy, be extra careful when shoveling. Take small steps, and don’t try to move too much snow at once.

shovel used for snow removal at home

Tips for shoveling snow successfully

There are a few different ways to shovel snow, depending on the amount of snow and the type of surface you are shoveling. For light snow, you can simply use a push broom to sweep it away. For heavier snow, you will need to use a shovel. Once you have the right tools, it’s time to get started.

First, clear a path 

Begin by clearing a path to your front door so you can easily get in and out of your house. If you do not clear a path, you may have to dig yourself out, which can be difficult and time-consuming. 

Start at the top of your driveway and shovel snow laterally

“It’s best to shovel a driveway lateral (grass to grass) across the driveway; that way, you are pushing the snow into the grass and not shoveling it on top of itself,” recommends Ridgell Lawn Care LLC. “If you shovel a row in the middle of the driveway to cut it in half, you end up shoveling snow on top of each other unless you walk it over to the grass. When you get to the street, you can pile your snow in the corners of the grass area where the yard meets another sidewalk or street. ” If you have a lot of snow, you may need to shovel it in sections so you don’t get too tired.

Apply de-icing materials

Ideally, you should sprinkle salt on your driveway before a heavy snowfall. However, if the snow has already started falling, wait until you can shovel it away and then apply salt. Other de-icing materials, like crushed stone, kitty litter, ash, sand, or sawdust, can also help improve traction on surfaces subject to refreezing. 

Brush off your shovel 

When you’re finished shoveling, it’s important to brush off any snow that’s left on your shovel so it doesn’t freeze. Then, put your shovel away until the next time it snows. 

Tips for making snow removal easier

Pace yourself

Shoveling is often cast in the “chore” category, but it is also a form of exercise and should be treated that way. The American Heart Association recommends taking frequent breaks when shoveling snow and paying close attention to how your body feels during the activity. It’s important not to underestimate the level of physical exertion that comes from long periods of shoveling, particularly in cold weather.

Remove snow when it’s light and fluffy 

The easiest time to remove snow is when it is light and fluffy,” shares Cory’s Lawn Service. “Find a break from it dumping and get out there and take care of it when it’s only a couple of inches even though more snow might come soon after.”

Get out the leaf blower

A leaf blower can help remove snow from small areas and surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios. But it is not a practical way to remove snow from a large area.

Stay on top of it

“With a predicted snowfall of multiple inches, it is best to shovel multiple times during, then just one pass at the finish of any great snowfall,” recommends J&M Cleanouts. “Multiple passes will be quicker and less strain on your body.” 

Corys Lawn Service agrees that the key to any snowstorm is to stay on top of it. “If a car drives over the snow, it gets compacted and creates ice. If you wait for a series of storms, you might be in over your head and have freeze-and-thaw situations.”

Create a plan for parking

Planning for parking is important, especially if this is your first winter in a new home. If you rely on street parking, sign up for alerts that will let you know when street parking is off-limits due to snowfall. Even if you live in a more rural area, it is valuable to pay attention to parking bylaws to find out how wide of a berth snowplows need to get by. 

You may be thinking of parking your vehicle close to the road for a quick getaway after a snowstorm. If you do this, just make sure it isn’t too close to the road, as it’s susceptible to damage from a plow. Finally, remember to clear all snow off your vehicle after a snowfall. If you leave a layer of snow on top of your car, it could slide off and cause harm to other drivers.

Benefits of hiring a snow removal company 

There are many benefits of hiring a professional snow removal company, including reliability, experience, safety, and peace of mind. A reliable, professional company will show up on time to clear your snow. They also have the expertise and equipment to do the job quickly and efficiently. Plus, they will take the necessary safety precautions to avoid any accidents. Hiring a professional company will give you peace of mind knowing that your snow will be cleared in a timely manner.

Know your city’s bylaws 

Clearing snow isn’t just an annoying task; it’s also a responsibility. Before the snow hits, make sure to check your local bylaws to determine your responsibility for clearing snow away from your home or business. If a public sidewalk is nearby, you may be obligated to shovel it within a certain timeframe after the snowfall. says, “Most cities and municipalities have snow removal laws and regulations which anyone who owns, rents, resides, or is in charge of property should be aware of. Responsibilities typically include deadlines for removal after snow stops falling, including defined areas where snow must be removed and where it can be placed – which can include public property adjacent to your own such as sidewalks.”

home in a heavy snowstorm

Enjoy your winter wonderland 

If you want to enjoy your home in the cold winter, you need to shovel the snow properly. First, dress warmly and in layers. Second, clear a path around your home so you can get in and out easily. Third, shovel the snow in small sections, so you don’t get too tired. Finally, enjoy the winter scenery while you shovel. Once the task is completed, warm up with hot cocoa, build a snowman, and enjoy your winter wonderland. 

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