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5 Types of Snow Removal - which one works for you?

PSA: In the towns where there are sidewalks along the roads, remember that the person who owns or leases the building is responsible for immediately clearing snow and ice from the sidewalk.

1. Snow shovel. While back breaking work may not be your cup of tea, shovels are tried and true for a reason. If you have a short sidewalk and/or driveway, a shovel may be the right choice to dig out. If you're looking to save your back, check out the new dolly-meets-shovel style that lets you push snow around with ease (provided you're tall enough to get leverage on it) or ergonomic handles for easier dumping.

2. Snow blower. Electric snowblowers are generally a great choice for this area. They are capable of clearing up to a foot of snow and are smaller than the single stage gas counterparts. They can be used on steps and decks, where gas powered blowers don't fit but they also will take up less space in the garage during the summer. Unfortunately they're tethered by an extension cord which will limit range.

Single stage gas snow blowers are also good for snow that's about a foot deep. They're heavier than the electric models, but can reach farther from the house. They're good for places like the NRV that usually get less than 12" of snow, but if the forecast is calling for more, you may have to get up and blow the driveway halfway through the storm and then again at the end. Single stage cannot handle snow that's taller than the mouth of the machine.

These blowers are not suitable for gravel surfaces.

3. 2 or 3-Stage Snow Blower. Two and 3 stage blowers can handle much deeper snow, which usually isn't a factor in this area. However, one might be the right choice for you anyway because the auger doesn't touch the ground, unlike in the regular blowers. This means that it can be used effectively on gravel. These blowers also typically can clear a much wider swath of snow with each pass, cutting short the time needed for long jobs. Three stage blowers come with a variety of extra options like self propel feature and heated tires. However, they take a lot more space up in the garage during summer.

4. Plow. Plows can be added to a variety of vehicles and depending on the job, any one might be right for you.

Because the NRV doesn't typically get significant snowfall in a single storm, a plow added to an ATV or garden tractor can be a great choice. It means you aren't driving around with a gas mileage killing plow on the front of your

truck and it can easily clear sidewalks. However, ATVs and garden tractor tires may spin in the ice and require chains. The particularly wet snow around here may also mean the engine isn't powerful enough to push the heavy loads.

A plow on a vehicle, like your truck, can be a great investment, especially if you have a lot of land to clear (like a parking lot) or want to hire out for extra cash after storms. However, a plow isn't a plug-and-play fixture and once it's on for the winter, you're likely to want to leave it on, meaning you should opt for a different vehicle for driving around to keep the mileage and wear and tear down on the truck.

Either choice may make you the hero of your neighborhood if you're willing to help people out.

5. Hiring the job out. Of course if you want your car dug out and sidewalk cleared without having to change out of your pajamas or set down your warm cup of coffee, the best bet is to hire someone. Looking for someone willing to take on a long gravel driveway or a short piece of concrete for a good price? Check out the Facebook groups:

Everything Blacksburg and Everything Christiansburg during the snowfall to find people with plows, blowers, and shovels working for rates that start as low as $25.


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