Category Archives: Snow removal

Can I Shovel Snow While Pregnant?

A woman asked me the other day what my opinion was about whether she could shovel snow while pregnant.  Now, I’m not a doctor and I’m not a woman but my wife has been pregnant a couple times and I live in Minnesota, so I guess that makes me an expert.

The first thing to be careful about is making sure you don’t overwork.  If you are in good shape and are used to exercising during your pregnancy, shoveling snow shouldn’t be too strenuous for you as long as you take plenty of breaks.  And take even more breaks if the snow is wet and heavy.  After a couple pregnancies, I learned that my wife knew her body and she if she was pushing it too far.  Ultimately you will need to decide for yourself whether shoveling snow is too strenuous for you.

Another issue to be aware of is that if you do decide to shovel the snow while pregnant, you will probably be walking on ice and slippery snow.  Your risk of falling increases greatly while shoveling snow.  This would be my main concern.  Falling on the concrete or ice while you are pregnant wouldn’t be good.  This is probably the greatest risk you will face.

You should also take into account how far along you are.  A woman who is 10 weeks pregnant is going to perform more strenuous activities than a woman who is 36 weeks pregnant.  Also keep in mind that some snow shovels are more ergonomic than others, so try to choose a snow shovel that doesn’t put more strain and stress on your body than necessary.

Ultimately you need to listen to your body and try not to push yourself too hard.  If your pregnancy has had any complications or you want some extra piece of mind, contact your doctor.

Make sure you clear your sidewalks

There was a huge snow storm in the northeastern portion of the U.S. last week and it seems that Secretary of State John Kerry was fined $50 dollars because he didn’t clear his sidewalk.  He was at the funeral of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.  That apparently wasn’t a good enough excuse though, because it looks like he will still have to pay his fine.

A lot of people don’t realize that many cities have ordinances that require people to clear their sidewalks within a certain amount of time.  If you live in an apartment, the apartment owners should take care of that for you but if you own your own home, you are responsible.  Kerry, of course, doesn’t shovel his own sidewalks … he hires a company to do it for him.  But there was a miscommunication about this sidewalk, so the snow wasn’t removed from it.

Removing snow from solar panels

One issue that I occasionally runremoving snow from snow panels across here in Minnesota is the problem of snow build-up on solar panels.  The question I get asked most often is whether removing snow from solar panels will hurt the panels.  After I give my long answer to that question the inevitable follow-up question is “What is the best way to go about removing snow from solar panels?”  But first things first.

Safety First

I always stress safety when people ask me about removing snow from their solar panels.  If they are thinking about climbing up on their roof, I always tell them that it isn’t worth the safety risk.  I don’t own solar panels but based on conversations with friends, they tell me that their solar panels save them $2 to $5 per day, depending on the amount of sun shining that day and how big their solar system is.  Going up on an icy, snowy roof to help save a few dollars a day just isn’t worth it.  Once we get that warning out of the way, I make sure to tell them that there are better ways of removing snow from solar panels.

Will Removing Snow from Solar Panels Cause damage to them?

There are safe ways to remove snow from solar panels but there are also bad ways.  You never want to use any thing to remove snow from solar panels that could scratch them.  So, for example, a metal snow shovel is out of the question.  But that’s okay because I already told you that you can’t go up on the roof anyway.  A soft bristle broom might be acceptable, but again, you aren’t going up on the roof because you don’t want to fall off and die.

avalanche roof rake snow, removing snow from solar panelsSo what can you do?   There are two tools that I suggest to people.   The first is the Avalanche Roof Rake which you can see just to the left.  I wrote a review of the Avalanche Roof Rake a few weeks ago.

The second tool I highly recommend is the Snow Joe with Telescoping Handle. It can extend up to 21 ft and the blade is made of plastic so it is safe to use to remove snow from your solar panels.

Buying a tool like the Snow Joe or the Avalanche can more than make up for themselves after just a few snow falls. Assuming your solar panel system saves you $5 per day, the Snow Joe will be paid for in less than a week and the Avalanche will be paid for in less than a month.

The last option is, of course, to just let the snow melt. This won’t let you take full advantage of your solar panels but it is safe and involves the least amount of effort on your part.

In any case, there are options for removing snow from solar panels.

Avalanche Roof Rake – A Snow Rake for the Roof

One of the best avalanche roof rake snowinvestments I’ve made for my snow removal business was the Avalanche Roof Rake.  It makes the removal of snow and ice off of roofs incredibly easy.  The roof rakes I’ve used in the past are basically just a blade with a long handle.  This means you need to pull the snow down.  The Avalanche Roof Rake, however, allows you to push the rake up to dislodge the snow and ice from the roof and then it just slides right down the plastic slide.  (See the video at the end of this post to see how it works.)  Having a roof rake with a plastic slide makes it much, much easier to use than the previous roof rakes that I’ve bought.  And it is much easier on my back and arms.

avalanche roof rake with slide

I can’t stress how much having a roof rake with wheels and a plastic slide helps.  The wheels cause the roof rake to just glide right over the shingles and the plastic slide allows the snow to fall off the roof.

The cheapest place I’ve found the Avalanche Roof Rake is at Amazon right here.  I highly recommend it.  It will save you a ton of time and will help you protect your roof.  The other great thing about this roof rake is that it requires no tools to assemble.  I was literally using the thing 5 minutes after I took it out of the box.  The base of the roof rake has wheels on it so that it slides easily over the shingles without hurting them.

Removing snow and ice from your roof can actually be very beneficial.  Very often what will happen is a build-up of ice will form in and around your houses gutters.  This ice is called an ice dam.  The ice dam prevents water from melting snow from draining away so it sits there on the roof and has the potential to seep in under the shingles and into the building.  This could cause you issues with insulation or ceilings.  By removing snow and ice from the roof, you also help prevent injuries to family, friends and visitors by avoiding falling snow and ice.