Falling snow is a beautiful sight (OK, maybe not after the winter we've had!), but it also poses some dangers to homeowners and neighborhoods. Whether you are responsible for shoveling snow around your house or if you live in a community where the homeowners' association handles snow removal services, there are some steps you can take and tricks to keep in mind to be best prepared when a winter storm is in the forecast.
Start Preparing in the Fall
Long before the snow starts falling, stock up on supplies like deicer and snow removal tools. If you own a snow blower, make sure it's working and schedule any necessary maintenance service. Don't forget the extra fuel!
Know Your Neighborhood Policies
Brush up on your community's covenants and regulations regarding snow removal so you aren't surprised after the first snowfall. Will the HOA clear your driveway and sidewalks or is it up to individual homeowners? If snow removal is your responsibility, brush up on your city's snow ordinance and policies about removing snow and ice from your property as well as street parking during inclement weather.
If your homeowners' association takes care of snow removal, read up on their policies and triggers. Many HOAs require a minimum amount of snow to accumulate before they send someone to clear driveways - for example, Hubbell Community Management's trigger level is 2" of snow. It's also best practice to move any cars from your driveway or the street in front of your home as snow may not be removed close to vehicles and other property for liability reasons.
Clear Your Walkways
Once the snow is out of the way, get rid of any icy patches on your driveway, sidewalks and any other walkways. Use salt, sand or some other type of commercial solution to deplete the ice and provide some traction (if you have four-legged friends, make sure any ice-melting product you use is safe for pets). If you know a winter storm is headed your way, you can put a layer of salt down before the snow even starts falling.
While you might be a master of clearing snow from your property, other houses or businesses may not receive the same level of care and attention. Walk slowly and wear proper winter footwear, and contact your HOA if you believe snow removal crews may have missed something on your property after a storm has ended.
Similarly, be cautious driving and allow extra time to travel if you must during or after a storm. Stick to major roads that are more likely to be plowed and salted and drive slowly on roads that may take longer to be cleared. In the event of a particularly large storm, it may take longer for HOA snow removal vendors to make it to your community. Patience is key through the dicey winter months!