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 and be maintenance-free, but for snowfalls of 40 inches and up, a single or two stage gas-powered snow blower will be needed- and that can cost $500 to $1, 000 or more.
- Snow-Plowing Services: Since a plow attachment can cost $500 to $1, 000, 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 per drive, but longer drives can cost over $100. 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 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 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 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.