Can You Remove Snow From the Driveway Without a Shovel?
Here are 15 alternatives — some rather resourceful — to the grind of shoveling your driveway.
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As a kid, I once made a snowman after a heavy snowstorm. The snow from the driveway was wet and rolled into balls beautifully. After putting the corncob pipe under the snowman’s carrot nose, I realized much of the driveway surface was clear and the remaining patches were melting in the sun. My dad smiled through the front room window.
So the answer, of course, is yes. There are lots of ways to remove snow from a driveway without a shovel. Some are even fun and can save your back. Here are 15 possibilities to consider:
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One of my neighbors uses a leaf blower as his first choice for removing snow, and I try not to look too envious as I shovel my driveway.
If the snow falls light and fluffy, a hand-held leaf blower quickly takes care of business. A leaf blower works best with snow that’s less than three inches deep and hasn’t been packed down by vehicles or boots. You can also try your wet/dry shop vacuum, blowing snow away or sucking it up.
I get locked into shoveling and don’t think to use my two-stage snow blower as much as I should. But when my driveway gets dumped on, the snow blower is a time- and labor-saving blessing. Plus, I score points with neighbors when I blow out their driveways.
Electric Snow Shovel
I also have one of these, a good choice for sidewalks, steps, decks and small driveways. Electric snow shovels are extra-small snow blowers that create a 12-inch clearance in snow up to four inches deep.
This is a luxe method for removing snow from your driveway. You turn it on from your living room, and the mat works at a rate of about two inches per hour. A walkway mat is about $100, and a 24-in. by 30-ft. driveway mat costs around $2,700. Leave it on until all the water evaporates to prevent refreezing on the wet mats.
Hire a Neighborhood Kid
Don’t be the neighborhood grump, sitting on the porch and shouting kids off your lawn. Spread some cheer by hiring them to shovel your driveway.
And don’t lowball them. Make them an offer they cannot refuse. Good money will make them want to shovel, do a good job and shovel again after the next snowfall.
When you hear warning of a snowfall, spread a large tarp on your driveway. Then periodically lift the tarp and pile the snow on the side. Snow can be heavy, though, so lift and pile often.
There are lots of ice-melting products. Avoid rock salt or calcium chloride, which eats up concrete, kills plants and affects pets that walk in it and lick their paws.
Buy a product like Safe Step Sure Paws. Blends of aluminum chloride, potassium chloride, etc., work down to about minus -10 degrees. For faster results, choose a product that works at the lowest temperature, like a blend of magnesium chloride and potassium chloride.
This is best for brushing away light layers of snow.
Watch and Wait
Watch the weather report. If the snow is light and warming temperatures follow — and if you can turn off that gotta-get-it-done-now voice in your head — relax and let it melt away.
A roof rake removes snow from roofs. But you also can use it to pull snow down your sloping driveway or to the side, starting from the driveway’s center.
A yard rake is not good for snow removal, but it can loose hard packed snow before pushing it away with a broom. Be careful not to damage the underlying surface.
Some garden tool companies produce wheelbarrows with a snowplow attachment. If you own an ATV, an attachment plow is another option.
Wet snow can be removed by rolling it into logs, kind of like rolling sod. These logs can be heavy so keep them to a manageable size.
Ask the City
Some neighborhood groups, non-profits and other entities organize and develop volunteer programs that assist people with shoveling their sidewalks. Contact your local municipality to learn if there are any “snow angel” programs near you.
Heated Driveway Systems
If you’re considering replacing or repaving your driveway, think about installing an electric or hydronic system beneath the finished surface. Similar to radiant heat flooring underneath tile in your home, a heated driveway system warms the surface from beneath. All your neighbors will be jealous!
It’s amazing how effective the side of your boot can be at removing snow. This is for small areas, but it works in a pinch.
You can also make shoes that shovel as you walk. You’ll need an old pair of shoes, six inches of 3-in.-dia. PVC pipe, hot glue or any other strong glue, sandpaper, a Dremel or rotary tool, a drill and a hacksaw.