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Maintaining driveways during the winter can be a handful, especially if you have a long driveway and inches of snow and ice have settled upon it. Using a snow shovel to clear the snow is going to be back-breaking work, and chances are, the snow will have settled again on the driveway by the time you finish. And if you don’t get to it, you’re in knee-deep snow before you know it.
Then what is the best way to clear snow from long driveways?
Five ways to clear snow from long driveways
We’ve lined up five of the most efficient ways you could go about clearing snow from your long driveway. Of course, there are pros and cons to each of these approaches, so check out which one works best for you.
Obviously, we know that a corded electric leaf blower is not going to work when you need to clear a long driveway. What can work though, is a gas-powered two-stage or three-stage snowblower.
These heavy-duty snow blowers can easily clear wet snow, packed snow, icy snow, or anything else you can throw at them. If you find snow sticking to the snoot of the blower, a little cooking spray will clean it up for you in a jiffy. For your safety, wear protective gloves while handling the blower.
Gas-powered snow blowers are a great choice for paved driveways and gravel driveways not more than 200 feet long. Unpaved driveways and longer driveways take longer to clear, which makes our next option a better fit.
Read more: Snowblower maintenance
This is the best DIY choice for extremely long driveways, even those over 400 feet long. All you need is a front-mounted snowplow attached to the front of a 4×4 or an SUV.
The driveway materials do not matter either: your driveway could be paved, unpaved, or gravel, you can clear all the snow in a couple of minutes.
You even have versions that can be attached to ATVs, snowmobiles, and UTVs, so you can put those recreational vehicles to good use.
However, front-mounted snowplows are not very affordable. At an average cost of between $3,000 to $4,500, it would not make sense for those with smaller driveways to invest in these.
Use a de-icer
This is again a great idea for shorter driveways, those under 100 feet. We know that rock salt is commonly used, but we wouldn’t suggest using that for various reasons. For one, it is toxic to plants. Second, it could hurt the paws of your pets. And most importantly, standard de-icers are not effective when it gets really cold.
Instead, we’d advise you to choose a pet-friendly variant. Most of these work better in colder climes as well.
The downside to choosing this method to clear your driveway is that even though it prevents a snow pile from forming on your driveway, actually spreading ice melt by hand takes a very labor-intensive job.
If you want your driveway cleared of snow quickly without getting off of your couch, this is what you need to invest in. Heated driveway systems use heated coils to melt snow and ice from the surface of your driveway. Depending on the size of your driveway and the manufacturer, expect to spend anywhere between $4,000 and $15,000.
However, the larger the driveway, the more a heated driveway will cost you. Also, this is best for asphalt driveways, and may not work very well on uneven surfaces.
Hire professionals to remove snow
For between $35 and $95 per visit, depending on where you live and the size of your driveway, you could hire a professional snow removal service to do the job for you. And for all you know, it could cost less than buying equipment to do the job yourself.
In some places, you can subscribe to one of these services the same way you would for trash removal.
However, if your driveway is less than 100 feet in length, or if you do have a 4×4 or snowmobile you could attach a snowplow to, we’d suggest you stick to the DIY approach.
As you keep clearing your driveway of snow through the winter, you are likely to be pushing snow to the edge of the driveway. And you’re not going to have any snow melting until springtime. So we’d suggest you have a designated place where you want your snow pile to be through the winter.
Read more: Salting driveway