During the cold months in winter, shoveling snow in your driveway is probably one of many jobs on your big to-do list. Having your driveway and sidewalk covered with snow can cause dangerous slips and falls and removing the snow from the driveway can be very daunting.
But with the right tools and tactics, getting rid of snow can be quick and easy. While many people still use the good old shovel to get the job done, there are plenty of other ways to do it… Over this piece, we’ll go over 8 ways on how to remove snow from a driveway, without a shovel. Let’s get started:
Use A Snow Blower
Snow blowers are an effective tool to eliminate unwanted snow with speed and ease. When planning on purchasing a snow blower, it’s important to consider the amount of snow you receive an area of land you need to clear. There are mainly 4 kinds of snow blowers, and here’s a glimpse of them all:
Single Stage Snow Blowers
Single stage snow blowers are ideal for smaller homes with paved concrete or asphalt driveways and pathways. Moderate snowfalls of up to 8 inches are recommended.
Single-Staged Electric: These are perfect for short and level driveways, walkways and decks having less snow than 6 inches. Nearly the size of a small lawnmower, these are the lightest, easiest and quietest ones out there.
Single-Staged Battery: While they can be fired up instantly (getting rid of the requirement for oil, gas, or engine maintenance) they usually don’t have enough power for most situations. While some can pull off snow as deep as 9 inches, most do a better job of small dusting to things that can be eliminated with a nice snow shovel.
Single-Staged Gas: These blowers are a nice pick for level, mid-sized, paved driveways, and walkways with 9 inches of snow. Even though they can clear swaths of 20-22-inch, they are a bad choice for gravel driveways.
Two- and Three-Staged Gas
These are perfect for large driveways with up to16 inches of snow. Some can eliminate snow 30 inches deep. Also, their wheels can pull off steeper inclines – most of these models are three-staged. The three-stage gas blowers can remove 30-inch swaths, and more sometimes. The most popular snowblower type is a two-stage snow blower. Many people prefer electric blowers over gas-powered ones because gas models can produce a ton more air and noise – which is something to consider.
ATV Snow Plow
For those who own ATV a snow plow attachment can really help save time when clearing out large areas of snow.
A leaf blower is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about snow removal. However, leaf blowers are ideal for clearing light and fluffy snow.
Wheelbarrow Snow Plow Attachment
The garden tools company Worx has a clever cart which is called the Aerocart, it’s essentially an 8 in 1 all-Purpose Wheelbarrow/Yard Cart/Dolly. Worx sells a snow plow attachment for the cart which turns your cart into a wheeled snow plow.
Snow Melting Mats
It’s possible to kiss those backbreaking hours of shoveling goodbye and hello to snow-free walkways, patios, and driveways. While it may sound like a luxury too many, these mats are useful if somebody wants to cut down on physical labor and might not be as expensive as you think.
It’s as simple as laying down the mats, connecting them to the power, and they’ll do their job. Yes – because electricity comes at a price, this isn’t one of the most ‘eco-friendly’ moves. But then again, using mats is better than applying chemicals, which pollute the water, and pose a risk to pets and plants.
Heated Driveway Systems
Installing a heated snow melting system can help to increase the lifespan of your driveway. It requires installing electric wires below the driveway which produce heat and melt the snow and ice. These are a step up from melting mats and a more permanent solution. The two main costs to consider are installation and electricity.
Snow rolling starts with a small snowball, and slowly pushes it forward, causing it to grow larger as it piles up. It helps to clear the driveway without the need of a shovel. This can be fun especially if you have kids as you can build snowmen. While it may sound easy, there are some crucial guidelines when making such rolls. Some instructions include:
- Make snowballs about 8 to 10 inches thick
- Roll by pushing the snowball away
- Keep it gathering and make sure it’s as circular as possible – an oval/egg shape would only make things harder
- Keep reshaping the roll as it requires
- Be careful when rolling – the bigger it gets, the more likely it’ll be to fall apart – and don’t try this uphill
With all that said, it’s crucial to understand this method isn’t for many snowfalls – the snow has to be hick, wet, and sticky. But if the snow is dry and powdery, it will be necessary to look for some other method.
Hot Water + Rubbing Alcohol
If some ice patches are stubbornly staying on the pavement, and there’s no defroster at your disposal, boil some water inside a pot, add about 6 drops of dish soap, and ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol to improve its impact, and pour it on the patched area.
It works. But why does water + rubbing alcohol work so well? Because alcohol comes with a smaller freezing point compared to water (128°F below 0), making the ice melt faster, and even preventing it from icing up later on. Just keeping a shovel to sweep away all the ice leftovers is enough. Also, a towel can also come handy to remove the extra water.
Use sand or a sand-salt mix
Although sand won’t melt the ice, it’ll help to get more traction. Sand can help loosen ice from the ground so it can make plowing easier. Here’s a useful page for working out salt/sand ratio. Salt should be kept away from landscape plants, especially the salt-sensitive ones, maples, white pines, hemlock, redbud, and dogwood for example.
If you’ve got a large area to cover then using a salt spreader can help speed up the process of snow removal and get you out of the cold quicker!
Whilst not specifically a tool/method to use for snow removal wearing a decent pair of winter gloves can make all the difference when you’re working outside for long periods of time.
Alternative Ice Melts
There are some natural ice melting alternatives – alfalfa meal, a homemade sugar beet juice ice melt – for example. Alfalfa bags can be found in gardening stores, and their beets can be grown in the garden. This meal aids to melt ice and gives you more traction. The sugar beet juice itself can help lower the freezing point of water, or, for diluting salt solutions. Pets, plants, and the environment are not harmed by people.
Removing Snow from Shovels
If there’s ever been a struggle to eliminate a patch of sticky snow from your shovel’s end, it’s imperative to remember this tip: Before setting out on the driveway, applying a nice coating of cooking spray to the front/back of the shovel blade can help – it will allow the snow to slide off the blade, making the job far easier.
Note: Please be sure to read up on keeping pets and kids safe when doing snow removal in your driveway, especially when using chemicals and salts etc.
No matter the ice and snow removal method used, it’s crucial to be careful on snowy and icy surfaces – taking things slow is the way to go. Putting on sturdy winter boots can offer increased traction. It’s crucial to stay wary when entering or exiting a car. Carrying too many items simultaneously is a big no-no – using handrails can be a good option.
If there is one, use a sharp-ended hiking pole to help you balance. A pair of ice cleats attached to your shoes or boots can aid with traction and keep you on your two feet rather than on the ground.
There you are, 8 amazing ways to remove snow from your driveway and sidewalks without using a snow shovel. How do you go about removing snow from your driveway (without a shovel)? Let us know in the comments below.