5 Must-Have Items Every New Englander Needs in Winter

New Englanders love their four seasons, but winter is often the one that causes the most heartache for homeowners, especially when they’re left unprepared. Browse through Twin Pines’ list of must-have items for your winter tool kit, and stock up before the next storm hits!


1. Snow Blower/Shovel

Man Operating Snow Blower

Perhaps the most obvious item to have in your winter tool kit is one which can help you manage the snow on your property. Whether you prefer to shovel or snow blow, having a sturdy, up-to-date piece of equipment is vital when the powder begins to pile up.

A Twin Pines Tip: Get to know your machinery beforehand! Snow blowers especially need a lot of prep–including ensuring they are gassed up and ready to go for the first snowfall. But even familiarizing yourself with the weight, capacity, and functions of your shovel can help make the task of actually shoveling a lot more manageable.

2. Ice Melt & Scoop

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Photo Credit: www.walmart.com

Ice melt is another New England must-have during winter. When the temperature fluctuates between freezing and warm one week to the next, water that gathers on the ground can freeze, unfreeze, and refreeze in succession, creating slippery and dangerous walking and driving conditions. Sprinkle ice melt on stairs, walkways, driveways, and more to help break down the ice.

A Twin Pines Tip: Don’t forget to invest in a scoop to help distribute the ice melt. Anything from a metal shovel to a plastic cup will work, but you want to avoid letting the ice melt touch your skin, especially when dealing with a brand made with calcium or magnesium chloride.

3. Pantyhose

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Photo Credit: champaignrose.com

This may seem like a strange item to have in your tool kit, but its not one you’re going to want to forget about. Experts use pantyhose filled with calcium chloride to help break down ice and snow on the roof, as the permeable nylon material allows the chemical to secrete through the fabric without touching the roof directly and causing any damage.  For more on the Pantyhose Method, check out this post from Twin Pines.

4. Roof Rake

Snow Roof Rake

Roof rakes are another incredibly beneficial item to have in your winter toolkit. Rather than using a damaging shovel to try to scrape excess snow, homeowners with pitched roofs should use these tools to clear 2-3 inches off. You can find roof rakes at your local hardware store.

5. Kitty Litter

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The main use of kitty litter in your winter tool kit does not in fact have anything to do with your pets. Instead, this crumbly product can be used to create traction on snowy and icy surfaces in winter, creating safer walking and driving spaces for you and your family.

A Twin Pines Tip: Keep a bag of kitty litter in the trunk of your car during winter for extra precaution. It can be spread out beneath your tires if you ever get stuck in an icy or snowy spot and can’t seem to get the grip you need to drive away!


Follow Twin Pines on Facebook and check back here on our blog for more winter tips from Twin Pines!

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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!