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Icy Paths Time

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December 19, 2012
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Top tips for environmentally friendly ice and snow clearance

The recent spate of harsh winters has highlighted the problem of snowy and icy paths and drives around the home. There were lots of broken bones and sprained ligaments last winter as people slithered around on ice on the way up to their own front doors.

There is the added problem that if someone falls down on your property they may look at getting some compensation from you, the homeowner. So now is the time to start thinking about how you will keep your paths and drives safe to walk on during the freezing weather.

In the past rock salt has been a favourite standby for throwing onto ice as a quick and cheap solution. Salt melts the ice making the paths safer to walk on, but it’s not so good for plants growing beside the path or precious pets that scamper around the neighbourhood. Salt also stains and wrecks shoes and if tracked into the house, carpets and other flooring may be damaged.

Sustainablog goes into some more detail about the problems with using rock salt including contamination of ground water causing pollution of drinking water. Environmentally conscious homeowners are starting to look for cheap alternatives to rock salt. Here Adrian Flux Insurance Services’ household insurance division has been taking a look at what else can be done to keep the area around your home ice free.

One sure way of preventing icy paths and snow build up is to tackle the problem the traditional way, with a shovel. Don’t let the snow and icy build up in the first place. SnowShovels specialises in all types of shovels, from lightweight plastic models to heavy duty metal designs that are especially suited to chipping away at stubborn ice patches.

Some people suggest using cat litter (make sure it’s not used) or ash. But both these are messy and won’t actually get rid of the ice though they may provide more grip.

If you don’t feel like putting in the hard work, or you have a particularly long drive and lots of paths, then there are petrol driven snow blowers on the market such as those at Mow Direct. Gardenlines has produced a guide to buying the right snow blower for the job.  Take a look at this video to see how much easier it is with a machine.

Whatever method you choose, you’ll need a decent pair of wellies with a good grip to wear while you are out working in the snow and ice. The Welly Warehouse has listed its top five wellies for the snow, with a starting price of £170 they ought to keep you upright, warm and dry!

Although your body will get warm shovelling snow, don’t forget your extremities – your fingers or toes – they tend to get very cold. Thermal fabrics have come on apace, and are no longer just for spacemen and arctic explorers. The new thermal material is thin, but holds heat so you can feel what you are doing and wield a shovel safely. Sealskinz has a wide range suitable for all types of sport as well as manual work in the snow.

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