It will not likely come as a surprise to anyone that this past winter presented some unanticipated property management challenges when it came to snow and ice. Looking back, we have learned a few things that we’d like to share.
Snow removal – as basic as this seems, you need to be prepared for snow, even in Vancouver. One of the first steps is to make sure you have a good snow shovel. In fact, you might want to have a couple of good snow shovels. Snow in the lower mainland tends to be heavy and wet, and consequently you will need a strong shovel – the lightweight plastic ones likely won’t do the job. A wide scoop type of shovel is good for clearing walkways, but a narrower, squarer shovel is better for digging out of deeper snow. As well, a solid shovel with a pointed end can be helpful if you have to chip away any ice. To be prepared for next season, it is highly recommended that you get snow shovels now. That way, you won’t be competing with everyone else in line ups after the first snow next winter.
When to shovel is as important as how. Do you wait till the snowfall is over, and then go do it all at once? Do you do it even as the snow continues to fall? There are no definitive answers, but it will pay to be practical. Keep an eye or ear on the weather reports. If it seems the snowfall is predicted to be fairly light and time-limited, you probably would want to wait until it is over and then just shovel once. However, if the snowfall is predicted to be prolonged, you may want to consider doing some clearing while the snow is still falling, even though you will have to do it again when it stops. This way, you will be clearing more often, but the total amount of time you need (not to mention the wear and tear on your body) may be less than if you waited until the end of a heavy snowfall.
We all saw on the news the chaos that occurred regarding access to ice-melt (salt) this winter. As a property management company, we advise everyone to keep a supply of ice melt on hand – even just a bag in the basement – and don’t wait until everyone else is headed to the store to buy it. In other words, buy some now, store it away, and remember where you put it! More important, though, is to become familiar with how ice melt is meant to be used.
Ice melt is not meant to be used in place of shoveling! You have to do both. Throwing ice melt on top of accumulated ice and snow actually makes the situation worse and more dangerous, as it forms a new layer of potential ice on top of the old layer, which then gets covered up if it snows again. Shovel first, to clear the path, preferably down to the ground. Then sprinkle a layer of ice melt to keep the shoveled path from freezing over. Repeat the process every time it snows. This will not only make your walkways safer, but will make the ice melt that you buy last longer.
- Shovel your sidewalk or pathway clear
- Spread a light layer of ice melt on top of the cleared area
- Repeat both steps each time it snows
It is important to keep in mind that many municipalities have by-laws that require households and businesses to remove the snow from sidewalks in front of their premises.
Hopefully the need for snow management has ended for this season, but it is good to be prepared for next year!