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Here's How You're Using Your Shovel All Wrong

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Dec 5, 2016

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The first day of winter is on its way, and it's time to dust off your snow shovel. Maybe you purchased a new snow shovel in preparation for the winter months, or perhaps you're using the same snow shovel you've had for decades. Either way, it's important to know the right techniques when it comes to shoveling snow. Unfortunately, using a snow shovel in the wrong way can result in back strain or even serious injury. So this week, my post is all about the different types of shovels and how to use them in the proper way.

Common Snow-Shoveling Mistakes

One common shoveling mistake is overloading a shovel with snow, then throwing it off to one side. The act of lifting heavy snow and twisting the body to the side can cause back strain or injury. Another common shoveling mistake is using your lower back to lift a snow-filled shovel. You should always bend at the knees to protect your back.

The Proper Use for Different Types of Snow Shovels

Choosing the proper shovel can help you dispatch the snow on your driveway in a safe and efficient way. A square-nosed shovel is perfect for snow that has iced over. Its square shape helps to break the frozen snow away from the cement. But avoid using a square-nosed shovel for heavier snow. This shovel has a short shaft, which requires a user to bend down to retrieve the snow. Lifting heavy snow with this type of shovel may result in back strain.

A round-nosed shovel helps cut through frozen snow that has piled up. This is a handy shovel to have when a snowplow clears your street, leaving a big pile at the end of your driveway. I think an aluminum shovel looks more at home in a horse barn than shoveling snow on a driveway. But its deep scoop is useful for clearing large piles of snow, plus the material makes it rust-proof.

A wheeled snow shovel can clear light snow, pushing it to one edge of a driveway. A wheeled shovel is an ideal choice if you want to avoid putting any strain on your back. A shovel that's 18 to 22 inches wide is a good choice if you get an average amount of snowfall in your area.

More Tools for Snow Removal

A large push broom can be helpful when you want to move a light covering of snow to one side of your driveway. I own a push broom and consider it one of my most versatile tools. These brooms can be used for snow, leaves, dirt, and more!

But if you get a lot of snowfall in your area each year, you may want to skip the shovel and think about a snowblower instead. There are a variety of snowblowers capable of removing large amounts of snow in a short amount of time.

The key to avoiding injury is to choose the right shovel for the job. Remember to keep your back straight and bend at the knees when lifting a shovel. Always walk the shovel of snow over to where you want to dump it. Finally, remember to wear warm clothing that lets your skin breathe. Take care, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: snow removal

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