Many homeowners opt to hire out their annual snow and ice removal tasks, some for a lack of time to deal with it themselves, others for health and safety reasons. Another factor is the expense of purchasing and maintaining a snow blower, which is essential for long drives and sidewalks and for heavy-snow areas. A light-duty electric blower might cost less than $250 (approximately $335 CAD) and be maintenance-free, but for snowfalls of 40 inches (101.6 cm) and up, a single or two stage gas-powered snow blower will be needed- and that can cost $500 to $1,000 (approximately $670 - $1,340 CAD) or more.
Besides having a friend, relative, or neighbor shovel your snow or hiring a neighborhood kid to do the job, snow removal options for homeowners include the following:
Snow-Plowing Services: Since a plow attachment can cost $500 to $1,000 (approximately $670 - $1,340 CAD), can be a bother to constantly attach and detach from your truck/SUV, can quickly deteriorate your vehicle, and takes some expertise to use without damaging the pavement, a professional plowing service is often a wise choice. On average, it will cost around $40 (approximately $54 CAD) per drive, but longer drives can cost over $100 (approximately $134 CAD). An arrangement can be made whereby the plowman automatically arrives whenever a specified number of inches have fallen, otherwise, he can be called in as-needed. By pooling your resources with neighbors, discounts can sometimes be had, and there are often local, one-man operations that charge very reasonable prices.
Snow-Blowing Services: Since plows, truck-mounted salt spreaders, and wear and tear on a vehicle cost $3,000 (approximately $4,022 CAD) or more a season, it is only to be expected that snow-plow service will be more expensive than an entrepreneur with a snow blower, $25 (approximately $33.50 CAD) shovel, and a bag of rock salt. Plows may be needed when clearing your drive is urgent or when the snow is piled exceptionally high, but a snow-blowing service will often suffice.
Emergency Snow/Ice Removal: While focusing on your driveway, don't forget about your roof. Check your roof's load-bearing capacity against forecasts and against the average snowfall for your area, which can be found on many news/weather websites. Also watch for ice dams, which can cause damaging leakage inside your home. Have the contact number for a rooftop snow removal and ice-dam melting service readily accessible.
Snow Melting Mats: Mats consist of two layers of water-shedding, high-traction thermoplastic with a heating element sandwiched between. They can melt snow at 2 inches (5 cm) per hour and need only be plugged in during and following a snowstorm. You can also get stairway and entryway snow melting mats, so the whole path from house door to car door can be kept dry and snow-free.
Those who prefer to use professional snow removal services have a number of good options. Each homeowner will have to weigh the costs and benefits of each option in light of his or her snow removal needs.