Research Tested, Homes Approved: How to Properly De-Ice Your Home This Winter

by Ben SanfordFebruary 5, 2018

Try These Tips for Keeping Your Home and Property Safe From Ice This Winter

Ice is the most dangerous part of winter weather. The ice not only coats your driveway and sidewalks and turns them into skating rinks, but it can also dam up your gutters, causing melting run-off to back up into the home where it can damage the structure.

There are plenty of de-icing products available on the market, but not all of them are safe for pets and plants. Some will even damage concrete. But, you must de-ice your home and property to avoid slip and fall injuries or a lawsuit from someone else falling on your property. Here are some tips to help you keep your home de-iced and safe in the winter.
how to properly deice your home

Prep Your Hard-Surfaces Before the Storm Arrives

When it comes to icy weather, a bit of preparation goes a long way. You will want to spread an eco-friendly de-icing product over your hard surfaces. While this won’t stop the snow from laying on the surface, it will prevent a layer of ice from forming under the snow. Ideally, you should pick a de-icing product that doesn’t contain salt or chemicals because these products come with the following drawbacks:

  • Salt builds up in the soil
  • Salt will prevent your plants from absorbing nutrients and moisture
  • Salt-based de-icers usually contain heavy metals that can eventually make it to the water supply
  • Salt will attract wild animals to your yard
  • Salt can collect in a dog’s paws and cause serious burns

An eco-friendly product will help protect your plants and pets. When applying, avoid putting too much product in one area. You want even coverage for the best results.

Shovel Early and Often

You might not be thrilled about it, but when a big blizzard hits, you should get outside and start shoveling early and often. It might seem like you’re doing a lot of extra work, but shoveling smaller amounts will be safer and easier on your body. Frequent shoveling also prevents snow from piling up and forming an ice layer below it. And, make sure you shovel all the way down to the pavement every time.
how to properly deice your home

Clear the Snow From Your Roof After a Storm

If you have snow on your roof, it will start melting during the day and then the water will start to freeze in your gutters at night. Over time, this results in ice dams forming in the gutters, and ice dams can be very destructive. They can cause your gutters to tear away from the home; they can cause shingles to loosen, and they can cause water to run back into the home. The best way to prevent ice dams from forming in winter is to use a roof rake to clean the snow from your roof immediately after a snowfall.
how to properly deice your home

Apply a Layer of Traction Material Over Your Driveway and Walkways

Once you have the snow fully removed from your hard surfaces, ice can still develop thanks to the rising and falling temperatures. Therefore, it is important to apply a layer of traction-improving material over the surfaces. This can be anything from sand to kitty litter — even coffee grounds will work if you have collected enough of it. These materials won’t melt the ice, but they will make it easier and safer for someone to walk on the surfaces.

Keeping your home safe in the winter starts with a bit of timely preparation followed by some good old elbow grease. Of course, not everybody is healthy enough or physically capable to de-ice their homes properly, so in such a case, the neighborhood should arrange a group of volunteers to be available to help these individuals keep their homes free of ice build-up during a heavy snowfall or ice storm.

Shares 0
About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.