Protecting Your Home From The Cold – Plumbing & Chimney Edition

We at Twin Pines know that proper preparation is the best way to prevent damage, especially when it comes to snow and low temperatures. Our guide to Protecting Your Landscape from Snow provides tips for preventing damage to the area outside of your home from the landscaping experts at Twin Pines. This edition of the Protection Plan for your Home, will feature advice from our Plumbing and Chimney experts, and will highlight how to keep these vital aspects of your home safe in the cold.

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Bursting pipes and damaged plumbing systems are always a hazard in the extreme cold. One of the most sufficient ways to prevent this damage is with proper insulation. In areas that are most vulnerable to temperatures, including attics, crawl spaces, and walls on the outside of the home, wall insulation should surround pipes to help keep them warm and safe.

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Twitter Poll-Snow Storm Edition

At the end of last week, the Snow Removal Specialists at Twin Pines posed a question for our followers on Twitter, asking which of a handful of items would be most beneficial in protecting your home during snow . After the poll was cast out and our followers had time to choose which option they thought was right, these were the results:

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The majority of our voters chose “Hairdryer” as the ideal household item for dealing with snow. Unfortunately, this is not the correct answer; there are a lot of dangerous downsides to this option. Most importantly, you should not use a hairdryer to melt snow because it has the potential to electrocute you.  This is a caution that comes whenever electric machines mix with water-based substances, but there are also many other complications to keep in mind. Melting snow into water this quickly on metal, like cars, can cause rust. It can also allow snow to melt too quickly in one specific area, causing breakage and the falling of large chunks of ice or snow, especially if used on a high surface like the top of a car or a roof. This can be very dangerous!

Instead, the best household item for snow removal was actually answer D: “Tights/Pantyhose.” This is a trick that all great Snow Removal Experts stand by, and is especially useful for preventing ice dams on roofs!

What To Do:

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Photo Credit: champaignrose.com
  1. Take an old pair of pantyhose or tights and cut the legs off
  2. Fill the inside with Calcium Chloride
  3. Tie off the open end
  4. Place the pantyhose on your roof so they are perpendicular to your gutter (Note: The end of the pantyhose should extend over the side of the gutter)
  5. Shift pantyhose into place with a long stick or broom handle
  6. Continue to monitor/check

How It Works: Basically, Calcium Chloride is a snow melting chemical, which, if you place it directly onto your roof, can cause corrosion. Instead, having a controlled barrier made up of pantyhose materials, allows the chemical to seep through and do its job of breaking down the ice/melt on top of your roof without causing any lasting damage.

Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for chunks of melted snow falling off of your roof due to ice dam removal tactics; Never stand directly beneath the ice dam and keep all cars/outside items away from beneath this area, as well. Dealing with snow removal can be dangerous, and we recommend taking all the appropriate cautions before moving forward.


A big thank you to everyone who voted as part of our first “Twin Pines Poll!” Please check back with us for more fun & interactive posts on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and here on our blog! Still looking for plowing, shoveling, salting, and more for this winter? Give us a call at (508) 358-4231 to find out if you are in our service area, then book a free, no obligation estimate with Twin Pines!

Protecting Your Landscape From Snow

You put a lot of time and effort into making your landscape and home look great. Don’t let a snow storm ruin all your hard work! Follow Twin Pines’ expert tips for protecting your landscape from snow, and keep your yard looking great even after heavy snowfall!

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Because plants and shrubs are often the focal points of your yard, its important to take the steps to cover and protect them when snow is in the forecast. There are a couple of noteworthy risks your plants face during this season.

Winter Burn

Winter burn is known as the damage to living plants that occurs during extreme winter snow, frost, and ice. Caused by a combination of winter sunlight and depleted moisture in the soil, this condition is a very poor one for plants to live in.

The best way for you to protect your plants, shrubs, and even more delicate trees from Winter Frost, is to wrap them up in burlap. This fabric protects while also allowing air to circulate to the plant without trapping heat. Whether you choose to engulf the shrub in a burlap bag, or literally wrap it in a sheet of burlap fabric, having this protective layer around the plant is the best way to keep it safe and thriving in winter weather.

Winterized Tree Wrapped In Burlap

How To Wrap Your Plants In Burlap:

  1. Insert 3-4 wooden stakes in the ground around the base of the plant. Note: Leave about and inch or two between the stake and the plant itself.
  2. Lay the layer of burlap over the stakes.
  3. Staple the material to the stakes. Note: Ensure that the burlap does not touch the plants, for if the fabric becomes wet and freezes, the plant can be damaged.

The most important detail to remember when following these steps, is to leave space between the stake and the plant itself. Burlap that touches the foliage can become wet and freeze, which will damage the plant underneath.

Snow Pile-Ups

Too much heavy snow piling up and resting on top of a living plant can crush it structurally, bending or even snapping branches and thin trunks. While snow mostly impacts the structure of plants and shrubs, some trees can be affected by this condition, as well, including many specimen and ornamental trees.

To prevent this issue, the best option is to create or purchase a wooden structure that can be placed above the plants for protection. Whether you go all-out with what is basically a miniature-hut over the plant, or go with a basic structure made of a few pieces of leaning wood held in place by a wooden pole, the extra effort will help protect your plants throughout the season.

Bring Potted Plants/Planters Indoors

Taking the time to transition your potted plants and planters from outside to inside before a storm will ensure they stay alive and healthy. While some species may be able to handle harsher weather if left to their own devises outdoors, leaving them vulnerable to winter conditions is never the best choice. Instead move these plants to a stable location inside with plenty of sunlight to ensure they remain alive and well until the snow eases and they can return to their original locations.

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Plowing during a snowstorm is one of the most difficult tasks there is. Large flakes and powerful winds can cause very low visibility, and slick surfaces can create difficult driving conditions. Make the process a little easier on your snow plow driver by following through with these simple, pre-storm tasks!

Staking Your Driveway

The process of inserting stakes along the edges of your driveway may seem tedious, but it is actually vital preparation for your snow plow driver. These stakes provide your driver with an idea of where the edges of your driveway end and your grass or other turf begins. While you may think this would be easy to see, when there is already a couple of inches of snow on the ground, these markers are often the driver’s only guide.

Many snow removal companies will offer to stake your driveway for you pre-snow season, but if you find yourself mid-winter and still without stakes, it is important to take this responsibility into your own hands.

The experts at Twin Pines suggest you choose between wood or plastic stakes, for they not only seem to last longer in harsh conditions, but also do not damage trucks if they are accidentally run over mid-storm. In terms of distance between the edge of the driveway and the stakes you will place, consult your snow plow driver for their preference. Some may suggest you place the stakes one to two inches from the edge of the pavement, while others may prefer as far as a foot back in order to leave room for snow piles during plowing.

Removing Obstacles In Your Driveway

While it may seem like an obvious suggestion, many homeowners often don’t think about what may be sitting in their driveway that could become an obstacle for snow plow drivers during a storm.

Toys, shovels, or other random objects that may have made their way into your driveway during day-to-day life need to be removed before a big storm. Once the snow blankets the pavement, your snow plow driver may not be able to spot a stray basketball or ice pick beneath the powder. This could result in not only damage to your item, but damage to the plow itself it the item ends up going through the mechanism.

Another way to prep your driveway for your snow plow driver is to move all cars out of the way. This may seem like an House and Driveway Covered with Fresh Snowinconvenient task to think about when all you want to do is stay inside, but having a driveway clear of cars is the only way to allow plow drivers to do their job correctly.

A car sitting in the driveway, means that the plow driver needs to maneuver around it during a storm, which can be incredibly difficult especially in heavy snowfall, and can result in completely missed patches. Cars in the driveway can also often restrict where the driver pushes the excess snow.

To ensure the best results from your snow removal expert, be sure to move your car inside a garage, onto the street (if safe to do so) or, at the very least, right up against the edge of the house during a storm.

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For those New Englanders who remember the Blizzard of 2015, (where a coveted bag of ice melt was being sold for as much as some electronic devices), it will come at no surprise that some of the best advice for impending snow is to stock up on the items you will need to during the storm.

A basic list of items that you will need for maintaining your yard/landscape during a storm include:

  • At least one snow shovel with a metal edge (to help break apart icy snow)
  • Bags of ice melt
  • A snow scraper to clean off your car
  • Sand for your driveway/walkway (Or kitty litter, for a more environmentally-friendly option)
  • Roof rake (used to prevent ice dams from snow piled up on your roof)

Stocking up on these items now, before the snow hits, will ensure that you are prepared and ready for whatever the snow brings.

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Whether you intend to handle your snow removal yourself (with a snow blower/plow) or hire a company to handle it for you, its important that you have that plan in place far before the storm hits.

If you will be dealing with snow removal on your own, ensure that your snow blower is prepped and ready to work (ie. that it is running correctly, that you have extra gas, etc.). For those who plan to hand over their snow removal practices to a professional company, be sure you reach out and get on their routes before the storm hits and their drivers become booked.


For more snow removal advice (or to inquire about snow removal services from Twin Pines), visit our Contact Us page on our website and submit a question/request!