There are a great many outdoor chores that you may find yourself faced with during the winter if you want to maintain your home and garden properly. However, working outdoors in the cold and snow is not without its dangers. In order to stay safe while keeping your home and garden in good repair, you need to take some special precautions in the winter season. Take a look at some tips that can help protect you from injury.
While Shoveling Snow
Snow is a lot of fun when it’s time to build a snowman or have a snowball fight, but it’s less fun when it’s time to shovel it away. Snow shoveling is an important job – in addition to creating accessible driveways and walkways, it’s important to shovel away snow that’s touching the side of the house, so that it doesn’t cause water damage to your siding when it melts. However, snow shoveling is also a tough job, and physically comparable to lifting weights. It’s very easy to hurt yourself if you’re not careful.
To avoid injury, use a smaller shovel that picks up no more than 15 pounds of snow at a time. It may take longer to finish, but you’re less likely to strain your back with the smaller weight. Take a brief walk or march in place before you start shoveling, to give your body a warm-up before the heavy lifting starts. Make sure that you’re lifting with your legs and not your back, and take plenty of breaks to rest and hydrate yourself. If you have a history of heart problems or back problems, play it safe and hire someone to shovel your snow – it’s not worth the risk of hurting yourself.
While Trimming Trees
Tree trimming and pruning is best done in the winter when the tree is dormant and not growing. The act of trimming the trees is a matter of safety in and of itself – dead branches can pose a serious hazard. They can fall and cause injury or block the walkways. However, tree trimming has its own risks.
It’s important to practice ladder safety when you trim trees. Make sure that the ladder you choose is sturdy and undamaged. If it’s worn out or has damage, you’re better off with a new ladder. Also, make sure that the ladder is meant to support your weight and is an appropriate height for the job.
While Cleaning Gutters
Nobody looks forward to cleaning out the gutters, but after a storm they can become clogged with leaves and debris. This can cause standing water to accumulate in your gutters, which can force water under your shingles or lead to pooling on your roof.
An easy way to clean your gutters is by using a garden hose with a spray nozzle. The water pressure of the spray will force out the debris, allowing you to clean the gutters with just one hand, and leaving your other hand free to support yourself. You may still need a gutter scoop to remove some stubborn debris. Wear gloves to protect your hands from germs from rotting leaves or animal droppings in the gutter, and eye protection in case something unexpectedly flies out of the downspout.
You can reduce the need to clean the gutters by having gutter guards installed over your gutters to prevent large debris from entering the gutter system to begin with. For more information about ways to make your winter maintenance easier, contact us.