How to shovel
There’s a reason that shoveling snow is considered a great workout. It works lots of muscles and burns calories. But that means it can also cause back injuries or, worse, a heart attack. So you should prepare for shoveling a driveway or sidewalk and do it mindfully, not pushing yourself.
Here are some tips:
When to use ice melt
If you’re trying to make the pavement safe for pedestrians, shovel as soon as you can after the snow lets up. Pouring on de-icer will probably only create a slimy, slippery mess.
De-icer is not a substitute for shoveling, and it does not provide traction for walking safely on slick pavement. The main purpose of de-icer is to break the bond between ice and pavement, usually by causing the ice to melt. It can make walking safer if it is applied before a storm or after snow has been cleared out of the way. In general, the thinner and newer the ice, the better de-icers work.
If slick spots or slush is left behind, a material used for traction can be applied, such as sand or kitty litter. But nothing works as well as removing snow and ice with a shovel.
Be careful not to track de-icer into the house, because it can leave chemical residues as well as a mess. And once the need for traction material is over, clean it up, or it can pit concrete, hurt plants or make its way as a pollutant into water.
Protect the plumbing
North winds could cause problems for plumbing in some houses in the Wichita area, said Greg Lee, project manager at Superior Plumbing. “That’s usually when things start freezing up,” he said. But the last cold snap probably revealed problems that hopefully have people better prepared this time, he said.
Pipes can freeze in any house, new or old, that doesn’t have enough insulation in the right places, Lee said. When a frigid wind is blowing from the north, for example, kitchens or bathrooms along an outside north wall that have pipes in an uninsulated space such as a crawlspace can have problems. Lee gives these tips for people in such situations:
The city of Wichita also offers these tips:
Need help? 2-1-1 available
The United Way and Red Cross offices were closed in Wichita on Tuesday, but the Kansas City office of the United Way’s help line, 2-1-1, is answering calls. Help may not be available until after the storm, but the help line is answered 24 hours a day, a 211 operator said.