No matter where you live in the country, the weather cools off, the days get shorter, and storms roll in. If you live somewhere particularly cold, it’s about time to prepare for snowstorms. Some people adore the snow while others absolutely hate it. No matter how you feel about flakes falling in cold weather, you have to admit that winter forces you to do more work than other months.
From shoveling to scraping ice off your car to dealing with frozen pipes, each task can make life a little bit harder, but don’t let them make life unsafe.
Learn about some of the most common and dangerous winter mistakes — and how you can avoid them!
- Using the Wrong Shovel
Every year, multiple people injure themselves while trying to shovel snow. Snow is deceptively heavy, so it can seriously hurt your back if you don’t use the right shovel. Instead of using a shovel with a straight handle, use one with a curved handle. This will make lifting the snow a bit easier and less dangerous.
2. Shoveling Incorrectly
Shoveling is also a very strenuous activity, although it may not seem that way at first. Be sure to warm up and stretch properly beforehand. Otherwise, you could end up pulling a muscle. When shoveling, use your legs to lift instead of your arms and back. Using your arms to pick up the heavy snow can put stress on your heart. If you’re dealing with a lot of snow, you should consider using a back support.
3. Pouring Hot Water Onto Your Windshield
If you’re trying to clear ice off your car, never ever use hot water. Pouring hot water onto cold glass can actually make the glass crack and shatter. The same goes for windows in your home. Instead, use a product specifically designed for this task, like an ice scraper.
4. Using An Open Flame Or Electric Heater To Thaw Frozen Pipes
Having frozen pipes is awful, but don’t try to heat them up with an electric heater or an open flame. Using these two heat sources could actually cause serious damage to your pipes or even cause electrocution. Try using hot towels or electrical heating tape instead.
5. Climbing Onto The Roof To Clear Snow
After a heavy snowfall, many people want to clear off their roofs to make sure the accumulation won’t do any damage. This is a fine idea, but don’t climb onto your roof to clear it off. The compacted snow is already heavy enough — you don’t want to add your weight to it. Instead, use a snow rake or just clear off what you can from the ground.
6. Using Outdoor Heaters Inside
If the power goes out, you might think it’s a good idea to stay warm by bringing an outdoor heater inside. This is actually a very bad idea. Kerosene heaters and other outdoor heaters release toxic gases that can be extremely dangerous. Bundle up with blankets or buy a generator instead of risking your safety.
7. Bringing Firewood Inside
So many people are guilty of this mistake, mostly because they don’t realize there’s anything wrong with it. In the winter, building a fire in the fireplace is one of the nicest things, but you should keep the wood stored outside. That’s because bugs love to live in firewood — and they’ll like your house even more if you welcome them inside. Instead, just bring your firewood in right before you’re about to burn it.
8. Forgetting To Clear The Gutters Before Winter
Remember to clean your gutters before the first frost! Cleaning out your gutters can help reduce the number of icicles that form, which can reduce roof damage, leaks, and even potential injuries.
9. Forgetting To Wear Sun Protection
Many people only wear sunscreen and sunglasses during the summer, but it’s really important to wear it during the winter as well. Light reflecting off the snow can cause sunburns and eye damage. Make sure you wear sun protection anytime you’re planning on going outside.
10. Going To Bed Before Heat Sources Are Cool
Most people know they shouldn’t go to sleep before a fire is totally out, but you also shouldn’t sleep if your space heater is still cooling off. Wait for heat sources to cool down completely before you head off to bed.