The winter snow and ice can prevent you from doing the things you love. Between slippery sidewalks and buried vehicles, it can be hard to want to leave the house. But you don’t have to hibernate to make it through the winter season.
From the garage to the garden, we’ve made a list of our favorite winter tools to keep Old Man Winter at bay around your home so you can enjoy the weather. Let it snow? Bring it on.
Winter tools for your house
Piled up snow and ice can damage your home. With the right winter tools, you can make your house safer this winter.
As snow and ice on your roof melt, they form pools and refreeze. These ice dams expand and damage parts of your roof like shingles, gutters, and downspouts. The good news is you can avoid the risk with winter tools like a roof rake or roof cables.
A roof rake is the simplest solution, especially if you have a single-level home. You can use this winter tool to gather snow and knock it off the roof. Look for a sturdy, telescoping roof rake with a long reach to clear as much snow as you can.
Driving in the winter can be scary. With a few precautions, you can make your driveway a safer place.
Start with salt. You’ve probably seen heavy bags of road salt on sidewalks around your neighborhood, but did you know standard snow melt can harm the skin on pets’ paws and damage plants?
Try a more eco-friendly pet-safe snow melter instead to keep the pets and plants happy. An ice-melt spreader distributes the salt evenly for better traction and (after a good rinse) doubles as a post-winter garden tool for sowing seeds or watering plants.
Snow shovels and snow blowers do the same job in different ways. Snow shovels require more manual labor, but attachments like a second handle or ergonomic design can speed up the job. Snowblowers are more expensive, but this power equipment can quickly plow through that blanket of snow trapping your car.
Whether you’re out doing winter yard work or taking the dog for a walk, you need traction to tread through slick spots on sidewalks. Attachable shoe cleats fit over most shoes and keep you upright in slippery, snowy conditions.
You can also try heated mats or cables for your walkway. Much like roof cables, these devices warm the surface automatically, paving a pre-melted path to your car or the street. But be warned, they may attract neighborhood wildlife.
Pipes and plumbing
Pipe insulation keeps your plumbing from freezing and prevents potentially damaging leaks. Before the first winter storm, install pipe heating cables, pipe wrap, and an insulated faucet cover to keep your pipes warm all winter. It doesn’t take long to install insulation and keep your water running throughout the cold weather.
We also recommend keeping a water leak detector under major appliances throughout your home. They work year-round and alert you to leaks so you can stop flooding before it starts.
You don’t have to live up north for winter weather to cause a power outage. Ice storms and hail are notorious for freezing power lines and cutting off electricity to homes.
We recommend keeping a generator handy in case the power goes out. Preparing candles, flashlights, food and water, and other emergency items is also wise in case you’re stuck without power for over 24 hours.
Winter tools for your car
While it’s tempting to stay inside all winter, you have to leave the house eventually. Keep your car road-ready by checking windshield wipers and tire pressure, especially before big storms hit.
Upgrade your old ice scraper this winter to one that handles ice and snow. The best ice scrapers have telescoping handles for hard-to-reach places and pivoting brush handles to simplify cleaning your windshield.
Snow tires or snow chains grip the road for traction while driving and make it easier to back out of slippery patches.
Traction pads offer another option for safely backing out or getting unstuck from snowbanks and slippery ice patches. You can even find some that double as ice scrapers.
Emergency kits for cars
Bad luck can strike at any time of year. We recommend keeping an emergency kit in your car in case you get stranded in the cold. Your winter emergency kit should include blankets, hand warmers (electrical or chemical), a first aid kit, food, and water.
Winterizing garden tools
Winter is a slow season for avid gardeners, but your yard, plants, and decorations still need help through the chilly months.
Before the first snow falls, cover your patio furniture or store it in your garage for winter storage. Furniture covers protect your patio chairs and tables from water and cold weather so they’ll be ready to use when spring comes.
If you have flowerbeds, insulate them with mulch or a garden blanket to keep them warm. Place potted plants on rollers so you can take them inside, or place clear bins over your plants to keep them warm without blocking light.
Whether you’re worried about your driveway, garden, or your home, the right winter tools can be your first defense against snow, ice, and winter conditions.
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Written by Katie McEntire
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more