When winter comes roaring in with dipping temperatures, heavy snowfall and ice increase dangerous situations around your home. As those who live in cold climates know, snow buildup can inhibit mobility in and out of the home, interfere with maneuvering cars on a driveway, and make traversing walkways unsafe and more than a little difficult.
Traditional methods of snow removal such as shoveling by hand or using an electric blower are the answer for many, but when the powdery white flakes are several inches thick, manual removal can be a slow, tedious, and time-consuming project. The ideal situation for removing snow is rising temperatures, which allows the snow to melt naturally at a steady pace. However, this solution isn't very practical. Instead, consider the following unusual methods to help keep snow at bay.
Hot Water – When frozen snow and hot water face off, it's obvious who will emerge as the winner. If the area in question is small, you can manually pour a bucket or two of hot water over the area. This option is doable, but requires some physical effort.
Water Heater - A much easier and more efficient way for homeowners to melt snow is to utilize the water heater. Attach a hose to the water heater and use the force of the nozzle to spray the snow with hot water. Keep in mind, however, that water cools quickly and this process can lead to an accumulation of ice if the technique is not completed quickly.
Hair Dryer – This option is a viable backup method, but mainly used for very small areas such as a patio, balcony, or porch. Simply plug in the dryer, set it on the highest heat level, and pass the nozzle back and forth over the snow until it melts.
UV Shades – With this unusual method, Mother Nature does the work for you. Place a layer of UV car shades over the area, such as a driveway or a deck, and let the solar rays do their job by melting the snow.
Beet Juice and Salt Brine – While this solution may seem out of the range of normal techniques, it's an extremely effective method. The blending of beet juice and salt brine—not rock salt—creates a colorful mixture that is eco-friendly and less harmful than salting or chemical-based liquids. The benefits of using salt brine over salt rock is that it's less damaging to surfaces and is economical.
Vinegar – After using a snow removal method, you’re faced with a layer of ice due to pooling water from the melted snow. That can be fixed, however, with another environmentally friendly method of using vinegar as a de-icer. Combine a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water for lightly iced areas or increase the portions to 60 percent vinegar and 40 percent water for more potency. Once poured over the icy area, the ice will slowly turn into liquid.
Before implementing any of these creative methods, it's important to determine where the snow to be removed is located, how much of it needs to be melted, and if the method you choose can be done safely. Don't forget that you may need to drain the melted snow properly to prevent the build-up of ice.