Being Mindful to Keep Snow Clear from Critical Areas

Every Winter is different.

Some years, us New Englanders flirt with record snowfall totals as the Winter progresses.

Other years, the most snow-hearty of us are disappointed in the lack of this white stuff.

No matter where we fall on the ‘snow lover scale’, falling snow can easily drive us batty before, during, and after any major snowstorm that may hit.

Regardless of what your emotional connection to snow may be, it is certain that any time we have any type of impactful snowstorm, almost all of us are diligent in making sure things are properly cleared away afterward.



When cleaning things up after a snowstorm, there are obvious places we all have to tend too.

Clearing our walkways, driveways, and general areas of most frequent foot traffic are the unarguable necessities.

Beyond these areas that any New Englander may naturally gravitate toward attacking, are the not so obvious places that if they are not properly monitored after a good size snowstorm, can have remarkably detrimental effects.

The most common area that is often not taken care of, believe it or not, is the foundation area around the perimeter of the house.



This is most likely because as one works their way around the perimeter of their home, they move through areas of their property that may not be as easily accessible, especially when there are several inches of snow on the ground.

The problem is that as the snow starts to melt in these areas, the melted water may begin to work its way inside toward the basement if it is at all able to find a way to do so.

The areas around foundation windows, particularly in older homes, can also be susceptible to this type of occurrence, specifically if ever we happen to get a storm where fallen snow is measured in feet instead of inches.

While maneuvering your way around the foundation, it is also important to gently clear away snow from any heating system related pipes to help eliminate potential carbon monoxide buildup.



Another key area is any area where your downspouts drain into the yard.

If these areas are “blocked”, they can lead to possible damage as water/ice may back up inside of the downspouts and in the most severe cases – when things are REALLY cold for an extended period of time – can lead to water freezing inside of the downspouts, expanding their structure, and severely damaging them.



In the same breath of mentioning the frozen downspouts, we would be remiss if we did not discuss ice damming.

Ice damming and the damage resulting from it is something that none of us could possibly ever enjoy experiencing.


In 2014, we had a Winter where ice damming was as bad as I have ever seen it in these parts and created significant damage in thousands of homes across New England (2015 was bad as well, though not quite to the level of 2014!).

As ice dams in your gutters are formed and as they work through their lifespan, the damage is caused not only to the gutter systems, but often to the interior and exterior of the homes as water makes its way in as part of the damming process.

To help this from being prevented, many folks subsequently installed various (most often cabled) low voltage heat systems in their gutters which would help keep them free of snow during each snowfall (the key is they would have to be turned on prior to the snow starting to fall).



Although not easily able to be freed of snow if the presence of one of these systems is not in place, depending on how one’s roof is situated, it may be a good idea to have someone (or to do yourself if you are capable) free the roof of as much snow as possible (either by shoveling or through use of a roof rake). Unless you are extremely able bodied and experienced on roofs however, I do strongly suggest you venture down the roof rake avenue if doing it yourself and hire a professional to clear off the roof if you truly believe that this should be done.

I am one of those that is wired as such that I enjoy snow for about five minutes as I watch it fall during a storm – 5 minutes is definitely my max though!!

No matter how much you enjoy it or despise it, keeping spaces such as these in mind when cleaning up after a storm – and not just focusing on the most commonly thought of locations (walkways, driveways, etc.) – could possibly save a tremendous amount of headache in the long run!


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