Although fresh snow creates a beautiful winter wonderland, soon the reality sets in that you have to remove it in order to go about your daily life. Improper snow removal techniques can tear up your driveway, as well as your lawn and sidewalks, so it is important to do it right. Here are some tips for removing snow and ice from asphalt.

Be Prepared

The time to check on your gear is not after a winter weather emergency. Ideally, before the snow season began, you prepared your asphalt and your snow removal equipment. If not, then check on your equipment now. Whether you use a snow blower, generator, chainsaw, or all three, make sure that when a weather event hits, you will be prepared.

Check the owner’s manual to see what type of fuel is recommended. Using the wrong fuel will, at best, affect performance and longevity. At worst, you could void the warranty and permanently damage the engine.

Head to the local gas station to purchase the correct fuel. Be sure to choose a product with no more than 10 percent ethanol. Have a gas can of fuel standing by, but drain the equipment’s tank if you do not expect to need it for more than a month. Gas that has not been treated with a fuel stabilizer can deteriorate, potentially making it hard to start the engine or causing the equipment to shut down. In extreme cases, deteriorated gas could even damage the fuel system.

Hire Snow Removal

If you aren’t the DIY type, snow removal services are relatively inexpensive. Naturally, the price goes up for a heavy accumulation or a very large property, but it may still be the best choice. Make sure you choose a reputable service that will take precautions to protect your property. In addition, it is important to book regular service before the next winter storm. In the aftermath of a major snow event, most companies are booked solid.

Take It Easy

If you prefer to remove snow yourself, take it a little at a time, and make the investment in a snow blower. Shoveling is tough work, and could put you at risk for a back injury or even a heart attack. Remove small quantities as they accumulate rather than trying to dig out from a massive snowstorm all at once. Even if the snowdrifts are high by the time you reach them, remove one layer at a time.

Never use an ice pick, which can be extremely damaging to driveways and sidewalks. If possible, stake off the driveway before a heavy accumulation so that you know exactly what is underneath each area of snow. Try to remove snow from heavily trafficked areas first, as packed snow is far harder to remove.

Avoid piling snow on your neighbors’ property or in the street. Be respectful and show common courtesy.

Ice Melt

Naturally, if you have ice on your asphalt, you will need to de-ice it. There are several products on the market, all with their own pros and cons:

Sodium chloride (rock salt): Rock salt is the least expensive option, but it is not as effective in temperatures below 25 F (-4 C). It can also leach into the soil, negatively affecting the chemical balance.

Calcium chloride: Calcium chloride works quite well at extreme temperatures of -40 (F or C). It is not considered harmful in reasonable quantities, but it can leave a slippery residue behind. It is more expensive than rock salt, but you can use significantly less at a time.

Magnesium chloride: This is a newer option that works well at temperatures below 0 F (-18 C). It is expensive, but a little goes a long way. It melts ice quickly, is biodegradable, and will not harm your home or the environment.

Removing snow and ice is never fun. Following these tips, though, can help you protect your asphalt, as well as your landscaping and sidewalks, while taking care of this common winter chore.

Based in Abbotsford, Topwest Asphalt also serves Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge. Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? We invite you to call Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate. We look forward to working with you!