HANG UP YOUR SHOVEL

Eco Snow Re­moval Op­tions

Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine - - Improve District -

Af­ter a cou­ple of years of heavy snow­fall paired with freez­ing rain and ice, home­own­ers are fi­nally get­ting past the idea of shov­el­ing and are mov­ing to­wards heated drive­way sys­tems. The tech­nol­ogy has been around for a while, but it’s been slow to catch on, prob­a­bly be­cause many Cana­di­ans think a heated drive­way is only for the rich or lazy. I can hap­pily say that more and more Cana­di­ans are turn­ing to heated sys­tems be­cause of the num­ber of ice re­lated in­juries and fa­tal­i­ties from shov­el­ing.

Most homes built to­day have a grade change to al­low for drainage af­ter a heavy rain. For these homes, the drive­way slopes down­ward to the street to pre­vent the rain from flood­ing into the house. But, what do you do when the op­po­site is true and your drive­way slopes down­ward, from the street to the house? In many ur­ban ar­eas this has be­come the norm, al­low­ing buy­ers to max­i­mize the amount of use­able space. Some­times these drive­ways are steep! Get a lit­tle ice on them and you’ll have trou­ble get­ting your car in and out of the garage. Even worse, con­sider hav­ing to shovel up­hill af­ter a big snow­fall. With a heated drive­way, these prob­lems lit­er­ally melt away.

I love heated drive­ways be­cause they’re en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly —they re­duce the use of salt and chem­i­cals to melt snow. Too of­ten, home­own­ers overdo it with the “melters” and the “de-icers.” We have a habit of think­ing that more is bet­ter and spread harm­ful prod­ucts on ev­ery sin­gle paved or stone sur­face. Even ‘eco-safe’ de-ic­ing op­tions are now show­ing neg­a­tive side ef­fects. Not need­ing to use these chem­i­cals at all seems like the best an­swer.

Still not con­vinced? What if I told you that tech­nol­ogy has re­duced the costs of op­er­at­ing these sys­tems. In­stead of just set­ting your drive­way at one tem­per­a­ture (like an in­door ra­di­ant floor) and let­ting it heat the great out­doors, you can now get smart sys­tems that de­tect when the snow is fall­ing or when ice is de­vel­op­ing and turn on only when needed. This goes a long way to help­ing with your hy­dro bill and con­serv­ing re­sources at the same time.

Re­cently I put in a heated drive for a lo­cal on-cam­era me­te­o­rol­o­gist and she summed it up per­fectly, say­ing she works with weather ev­ery sin­gle day and in her ex­pe­ri­ence, no two win­ters are ever alike. That said, we can never pre­dict how bad the weather will get with the changes in our cli­mate. Be­ing pre­pared just makes sense, and look­ing af­ter the safety of our loved ones doesn’t have a price tag.

If you are re­plac­ing your drive­way, path­way or even stone steps, con­sider go­ing with a heated sys­tem. Not only will they make win­ter a lit­tle eas­ier to get through, they also go a long way to pre­vent­ing un­nec­es­sary in­juries or dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment, your home, and most im­por­tantly, your friends and fam­ily.

CAR­SON ARTHUR HGTV STAR

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