Article By America’s Master Handy Man ® – Glenn Haege
There is no guarantee what this coming winter will be like, but after last year, it would make sense to plan for the worst. That means some proper prior planning is in order to prepare you to remove and melt snow and ice from your walkways and driveway.
Obviously, the first thing you want to do is get your snow thrower tuned up and ready to go, since it got more use last winter than over the previous three or four winters combined. But even with a well-tuned snow thrower, you still need other things like shovels and ice melters to battle to the various levels of snow and ice we get during the winter.
The worst thing you can do for your health is to lift the snow, especially when it is wet and heavy, because that extra strain can cause back problems and increase your risk of a heart attack. That’s why today’s snow shovels are lighter and designed to make it easier to “push” the snow more efficiently.
Mick Hunt of Hunt’s Ace Hardware in Livonia (248) 474-8700, huntsacehardware.com, said that one newer type of pusher available this year is the Snowgrader from JM Enterprises, jmenterprises.com. This unique pusher comes with a 36-inch-wide blade and features two connected handles and wheels in the rear of the pusher blade to make it easier to use.
Hunt also notes roof rakes have become a necessity after last winter.
“We are stocking a new model from Garant called the Yukon that has a telescoping handle that extends to 16 1/2 feet, making it easier to use,” Hunt said.
Even if you have a snow thrower or good shovel, you also need to stock up on ice melting products. In the old days, that usually meant buying a cheap bag of rock salt. But today, homeowners are using more advanced products for ice melting.
These higher-end products include ice melters made with potassium chloride, which can melt ice down to 12 degrees, and both sodium acetate and calcium magnesium acetate, which are effective down to 5 degrees. The most powerful ice melter is calcium chloride, which melts ice the fastest and is effective down to minus 25 degrees. But remember that many products on the market today keep their cost down by providing a “blend” of ingredients. Make sure you read the package, because some of these blends include rock salt.
Some popular brands of the more advanced ice melters include Ace, Dando, Ice Melt, Qik Joe and Safe Step. If you have pets, Safe Step’s Sure Paws, and Safe Pet Ice Melter from Milazzo Industries are popular pet-friendly brands.
And if you don’t want to use a roof rake to get rid of snow, you can use a product like Roof Melt from KMI, roofmelt.com, which is a hockey-puck sized calcium chloride tablet you can throw onto a roof to melt ice and snow.
Of course, the easiest way to remove snow is to hire the neighborhood teenager or a snow removal company to take care of it. But even if you have made that arrangement, you still need to be prepared to deal with snow before help arrives. So make sure you get to the hardware store to stock up now on the snow removal products you will need, because you probably won’t be able to find what you need after the first big snowstorm hits.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, email email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536, between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.
Reprinted from The Detroit News
Publication date: 12/25/2014
Article By America’s Master Handy Man ® – Glenn Haege
Each year, I receive information about hundreds of home improvement products, but I am particularly interested in products from Michigan-based companies. There are a lot of companies in Michigan with products that are just as good, if not better, than any other products in their category.
Over the years I have listed many products from Michigan companies in my columns. Here are some additional Michigan products you should consider using around your home while helping support our local businesses.
” This time of year, snow removal is on the minds of most homeowners in Michigan. And if you read my recent article on snow removal, you know that shoveling and lifting snow is not only bad for your back, it can cause heart attacks for many people.
Two Michigan-based companies that have invented better snow shovels to make the job easier are SnowPusherLite from TRW Innovations in Auburn Hills, www.snowpusherlite.com, and the Snow Scoop from Silver Bear Manufacturing, (877) 483-4077, www.silverbear.biz, based in the Upper Peninsula.
The SnowPusherLite is an innovative snow removal tool that is a lightweight, wide snow pusher that enables you to push the snow rather than lift it, eliminating the potential stress you can put on your back and heart with standard snow shovels.
The Snow Scoop from Silver Bear is another innovative product that enables you to actually scoop up the heavy snow like a dump truck to deposit it, rather than having to lift it with a shovel. The company also makes roof rakes to help you prevent those nasty ice dams on your roof.
” With everyone’s fireplaces heating up for the winter, it’s a great time to buy fireplace accessories from Michigan’s Fire Gear, (734) 595-3550, www.firegearusa.com. The company designs and manufacturers gas logs and designer hearth systems, decorative fireplace rocks, fireplace jewelry that adds “pop” to your gas fires, and even remote control systems.
” If you use power tools around the home, you might want to consider also using the Ultra SafeSound Mack’s Earplugs from McKeon Products in Warren, (586) 427-7560, www.macksearplugs.com. These soft foam earplugs have a high noise-reduction rating of 32 decibels and are great for anyone using noisy snow blowers, leaf blowers or power saws.
” There is nothing more frustrating than having the bolts that connect your toilet seat to the bowl become loose, causing the seat to wobble and slide back and forth. Instead of having to re-tighten the bolts on a regular basis, a new invention from Yukon Seat Grip of Royal Oak, (248) 541-0200, www.yukonseatgrip.com, prevents the bolts from slipping and keeps the seat permanently secured to the toilet bowl.
” Speaking of toilets, Northville-based Penguin Toilet, (248) 773-7616, www.penguintoilets.com, is the maker of the unique Penguin anti-overflow toilet. This toilet has a secondary drain system that stops the toilet from overflowing by allowing the contents to drain through a separate drain line in the event of a clog in the main trap, similar to the overflow drains that sinks and bathtubs have.
” If you are looking for a way to secure deck posts, in-ground basketball poles or fence posts, check out the Michigan-made Fail-Safe Form Footer from WP Fail-Safe, (586)726-0680, www.wpfailsafe.com. This product is a plastic molded unit that provides a form for pouring cement footers, making the process of cementing a post hole easier and more stable.
In Michigan, we often talk about diversifying our business base. But based on the amount of products for the home available from Michigan-based companies, I’d say we are well on our way to reaching that goal. This is just a small sample of the many quality companies that call Michigan home. If you know of other home-improvement products from Michigan-based companies, drop me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted from America’s Master Handyman® Glenn Haege
Publication date: 12/25/2009
Article By America’s Master Handy Man ® – Glenn Haege
In the next month or so, the snow will start flying, and that means it’s time to make sure you have your snow shovels and snow throwers ready to remove it. Unfortunately, shoveling wet and heavy snow can put some people at risk of having a heart attack.
According to Barry Franklin, Ph.D., Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, those who are older than 45 and have a history of heart problems, symptoms suggestive of a cardiac problem or major coronary risk factors such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking or high blood pressure, are at an increased risk of a heart attack when shoveling snow.
“The weight of heavy snow in a typical-sized shovel can be as high as 16 pounds, and if you are shoveling at a rate of 12 shovels per minute for 10 minutes, you could be lifting as much as 2,000 pounds,” Dr. Franklin said. “Unfortunately, the usual warning signs of a heart attack aren’t always noticeable, so people may not even know they are having a cardiac problem.”
In a series of studies at Beaumont Hospital, Dr. Franklin found that the heart rate and blood pressure of most subjects in the study catapulted to dangerously high levels while shoveling snow, with the heart rate reaching 170 beats per minute, comparable to the levels achieved during an exhaustive treadmill exercise stress test.
A second study reported on 20 heart attack victims who were admitted to the hospital’s emergency center during a 12-day period of blizzard conditions. Five of the 20, all men age 55 to 77, were shoveling snow.
And two of the five had been using snow throwers.
Obviously, the best way to lower your risk of a heart attack during a snow storm is to pay a snow removal service or local teenager to shovel the snow, especially if you have to shovel the big mound in front of your driveway that the snow plow leaves behind. However, if you have to shovel the snow, Dr. Franklin suggests you don’t do it after eating a heavy meal, drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. Using a snow thrower does make the job easier, but if you don’t have one, he recommends that you brush or broom the snow wherever possible, and to “push” it with a shovel if the snow is heavier. However, he doesn’t recommend lifting the snow.
Fortunately, there are some good snow-removal products that can help you minimize the amount of stress you put on your heart when shoveling snow.
One thing you can do is use ice melters on the snow before you shovel to help make your snow removal efforts easier. Another is to coat the shovel with a thin layer of silicone spray so the snow won’t stick while you’re shoveling.
Make sure you have a shovel that enables you to push the snow rather than lift it. And the wider the pushing shovel blade is, the easier the job will be. Two wide pusher shovels on the market today include the Alpine 36-inch version from Garant, (418) 259-7711, www.garant.com, or the SnowPusherLite from TRW Innovations, (248) 866-1315, www.snowpusherlite.com, an Auburn Hills-based company.
While most pushing shovels are only good for lighter snowfalls, you will still need to lift the snow occasionally. Lifting shovels that have ergonomically bent handles make lifting the snow easier, and they are available at most local home and hardware centers.
Removing snow from your wood or composite deck requires special care. It’s best to use a shovel with either a plastic or acrylic blade to avoid damaging the surface.
If you have to lift a lot of snow from sidewalks and driveways, you might want to consider the Snow Scoop from Michigan-based company Silver Bear Manufacturing, (877) 483-4077, www.silverbear.biz, which allows you to tip the unique snow scoop up like a dump truck to deposit the snow rather than having to lift a shovel.
Shoveling snow is not high on the list of things people want to do around the home, but using the right products and techniques can help it be less hazardous to your health.
Reprinted from MasterHandyMan.com
Publication date: 10/23/2009
Detroit’s Channel 4 Ruth Spencer put SnowPusherLite to the test in her “Ruth to the Rescue” segment on January 31, 2008. Yes, she did recommend the SnowPusherLite with 4 stars!