Tips and Tricks

Snow melting techniques that every homeowner in Michigan should know about

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Snow melting techniques can be an issue that one may need to deal with, especially if they live in the area of Michigan. It is often advised to carry out a selection of techniques for snow removal, even if there is only a small amount of snowfall, as this could then freeze, which may be dangerous for those who walk over the ice, as well as for those that may be driving on the frozen surface. In this article we will take a look at some of the problems that may arise in and around the house after snowfall, as well as ways in which one can tackle the snowfall through snow melting techniques.

Snow Pile Michigan ShedsMany problems can arise from snowfall, including those that happen on the ground and on the driveway, as well as on the roof of the property. Snow can also be a problem if it gets into the drains or builds up against the windows, which may result in floods or freezing. When cleaning snow away on a driveway it is a good idea to mark out the areas where flower beds and other elements may be unseen, just incase they are damaged when the snow is being removed.

 Tips and Tricks to Lower the Risk of Flooding From Snowmelt

*Note that some of these tips and tricks involve some shoveling of snow and ice which is hard work, please consider breaking up the work to little bits at a time to avoid any injury.  If you have health conditions please find some help with the work*

  • Clear any snow 3 feet away from your foundation.  Be sure to pay attention to any window wells or basement access doors.
  • Remove snow from the outside edges of your property – most home lots drain from these areas so it will help to keep them clear.
  • DO NOT put your snow in the streets or lanes, this will block drains and basins that help drain snow melt away.
  • Keep drains and catch basins free of snow and ice.
  • Remove snow and ice from your downspouts and make sure to extend the downspouts to drain the water at least 6′ away from your foundation
  • Use sandbags in low lying areas besides your foundation to help prevent pooling water and flooding
  • Use an pump specifically made for draining flood water if there is water pooling up around your foundation or close to it.  These can be purchased or rented at many hardware stores or you can hire a professional to help.

Once the snow has been removed with a quality shovel or rake, one then needs to consider the ice that may arrive from the snow freezing. One solution is to use rock salt. However, this can have negative effects on certain elements, and may become messy, especially if it gets into the flower beds. Below is a list of chemicals that one can use to melt snow and ice effectively.

  • Magnesium Chloride is a chemical that has a minimal working temperature of -13 degrees Fahrenheit. It is very quick at melting the snow and does not damage concrete or metal. However, it can do moderate harm to plants.
  • Calcium Chloride has a minimum working temperature of -22 degrees Fahrenheit and is slightly slower acting than the Magnesium Chloride. This chemical can harm concrete and metal and should not be applied to brick or stone surfaces. The chemical also harms plants.
  • Sodium Chloride (salt) has a minimum working temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit but has a moderate speed of action. This chemical can also damage concrete and metal as well as plants.
  • Potassium Chloride has a minimum working temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit and is relatively slow at coming into action. This chemical is okay to use on concrete and is not as harmful towards plants.

*Concrete Damage Mostly Occurs When Used On Newly Poured Concrete

All of these chemicals can be used to melt snow and ice effectively. One can also add sand to a surface that is in a melting process, so as to make it safer when people use it.

More De-Icing Tips

  • To melt very thick ice in cold weather add a small amount of water to the de-icer to start the melting faster.
  • To aid melting AND make the surface less slippery, mix the de-icer with wet sand and/or ashes.
  • Store de-icer and sand separately to keep them dry

There are other areas to be aware of when snow falls and begins to freeze over. Snow that forms on the roof of a property should be watched as it can melt and run into the drains, before refreezing and clogging up the pipes and the gutters creating Ice Dams. One should use a specially designed roof rake to scrape the snow off. Gutters can also cause ice dams to form which will then lead to problems when the temperatures drop and the water begins to freeze. It is important that gutters are cleaned out several times a year, making sure that all debris that has built up is removed.

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