6 Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Removing Snow

The weather outside may be frightful, but don’t worry: Canadian Tire makes it easy. Face the winterso you’re prepared for everything that comes with it. From how to avoid common snow removal mistakes to must-have winter driving tips, we’ve got the advice you need to tackle winter weather with confidence.

Woman using a Canadian Tire snow shovel during a major winter stormWoman using a Canadian Tire snow shovel during a major winter storm

Photo via Canadian Tire

Snow shoveling isn’t anyone’s idea of ​​winter fun, but it’s a necessary part of living in the Great White North.

You’ve probably experienced the struggles of heavy snow piling up on driveways and sidewalks, resulting in hours of drudgery. Not only is it harder to shovel when you’re swimming in 10 inches of snow, but the repercussions of not planning ahead for messy winter weather can be a real pain—literally.

That said, with a little strategy and proper preparation (plus the right tools), you can handle this season’s winter weather without incident or accident. Below are six common mistakes homeowners make when it comes to winter snow removal, along with our tips on how to avoid them, so you can spend more time enjoying the winter weather this season and less time cleaning it up.

1. Forgetting to prepare the lawn in advance

Frozen and snow-covered grass and lawns during winterFrozen and snow-covered grass and lawns during winter

Photo via Getty Images

You’d be surprised how many homeowners don’t think about preparing their lawn for winter until… after The first snow falls. However, if you plan ahead in late fall or early winter, your life will be much easier when spring comes.

What’s your first task? Mow the lawn down to about 1.4 inches and remove any debris, moss or weeds. The next step is to aerate it with a tool like the Yardworks 4-Tine Cultivator. Then, before the lawn enters its annual frost period, apply a winter-appropriate fertilizer like Scotts Turf Builder Fall Lawn Food, which is specially formulated for winter and gives your lawn a boost for spring.

2. Using incorrect equipment

Man using a snow shovel to clear snow from sidewalkMan using a snow shovel to clear snow from sidewalk

Photo via Canadian Tire

Once the snow starts to fall, be prepared and have the right tools on hand. Depending on the size of your driveway and the amount of snow falling, you’ll need to evaluate whether a shovel is sufficient or if you’ll need a snow blower to properly remove it.

If a shovel is your tool of choice, opt for one that makes it easier to carry on your back. The Yardworks Sled Snow Shovel is a great choice for heavy snowfall. This sled-shaped shovel has a wide blade to remove large amounts of snow with a single push, while the ergonomic handle encourages proper posture.

3. Using improper form when shoveling

Man uses incorrect posture when shoveling driveway, bending from back, not from kneesMan uses incorrect posture when shoveling driveway, leaning from back, not from knees

Photo via Canadian Tire

Just like with exercise, you can seriously injure yourself if you don’t use proper form when shoveling. The most important tip to keep in mind is to bend your knees while shoveling and lift with your legs instead of your back. Then, hold the handle close to the blade and your body to reduce strain on your lower back. Opting for a lightweight shovel designed with ergonomics in mind, like this ergonomic snow shovel from Yardworks, is always a good idea, too.

The most important thing is not to overexert yourself and remember to take breaks to warm up. Your body will thank you for it.

4. Neglecting roofs and gutters

Snow and ice in gutters and on the roof during winterSnow and ice in gutters and on the roof during winter

Photo via Getty Images

Excessive, heavy snow can be very stressful on your roof. It’s also an area that’s easily forgotten when clearing snow from your property. The most common cause of damage? Ice dams that can lead to leaks and further damage to your gutters and shingles. In severe cases, your roof can even collapse.

While it’s never advisable to get on your roof, especially when there’s ice and snow, you can do quite a bit with your feet firmly planted on the ground. A roof rake like this Yardworks 16-Foot Telescoping Roof Rake allows you to remove snow from your roof without risking falling. For any more complicated tasks, however, call a professional.

5. Shoveling without a strategy

Man uses Canadian Tire snow shovel to clear sidewalkMan uses Canadian Tire snow shovel to clear sidewalk

Photo via Canadian Tire

When clearing your driveway, you may be creating an unintentional hazard for your neighbors or passersby, so always remember to be careful of where you are shoveling snow. Another thing you should not do is shovel your driveway from top to bottom, as the weight of so much snow can make it difficult to maneuver. To help minimize the amount of effort needed, start in the center and push smaller amounts of snow to either side of the driveway.

Lastly, never let snow pile up and turn to ice. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove such heavy snow. Instead, make sure you shovel every few hours during heavy snowfall to make the job more manageable, and it will be less stressful on your back and equipment.

6. Use of aggressive ice melters

A bag of Canadian Tire Alaskan Premium Ice Melt and an ice melt spreader on a snow covered drivewayA bag of Canadian Tire Alaskan Premium Ice Melt and an ice melt spreader on a snow covered driveway

Photo via Canadian Tire

If you want to stay on top of snow removal, keep an eye on the weather and apply ice melt before the snow hits the ground. This preventative measure is your secret weapon to keeping black ice at bay.

That said, when you decide to use salt or an ice melter, keep your plants and pets in mind. Salt can damage your trees and other landscape elements and can even harm wildlife if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s wise to consider eco-friendly options when possible. We recommend Yardworks Envirosafe Ice Melter, a fast-acting de-icer that’s less damaging to vegetation and pets. Another good option is Alaskan Premium Ice Melt, a high-visibility ice melter that’s gentle on grass and concrete. Always remember to follow package directions, as over-application can also cause problems.

As Canadians, we don’t fear winter, we enjoy it, and Canadian Tire is here to help you make the most of the season. Whether you’re looking for snow removal hacks, tips to improve indoor air quality for a healthier home, or fun ways to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, Canadian Tire has everything you need to get you through the winter. Face the winter.