Depending on how far north you live, you’ve probably seen snow accumulation on your balcony, rooks and sheds. While it may look pretty, it can be quite dangerous if heavy snow starts to accumulate due to the weight balconies can support. So what’s the best way to remove snow from your balcony to prevent any problems occurring?
Remove snow from your balcony before it becomes compressed and harder to move. Small amounts of snow can be melted with water or brushed off, while larger quantities may need to be shoveled away and melted in a bath. Use a suitable ice surface treatment to make removal easier.
You’ve woken up to a winter wonderland, only to realize that now you have to go out in the cold and shovel. But with a few tips and some elbow grease, you can make the snow removal as quick and easy as possible. So bundle up, grab your shovel, and get to work!
How to Remove Snow From Balcony the Easy Way
Most building complexes have a policy that you must remove snow from your balcony to prevent structural damage and allow for safer fire escape. Below we have a few simple ways to remove snow from your balcony without putting in too much effort.
- One method is to use a broom or brush to sweep the snow off the surface. Though be careful of those below and if in doubt double check that this is acceptable to building management ( and that you don’t just add to an apartments snow piles below you causing them even more problems) if you live in an apartment. If the balcony is on your house check out who is below before you cover them with snow!
- Another easy option is to use a garden hose to spray the snow off the balcony however if temperatures are still freezing or below then this may cause residue water to freeze, even if it started as hot water. A high rise ice rink is pretty much the last thing you want on a balcony.
- Some ice-removal products will help thaw ice and snow faster, but again check they can be used in freezing temperatures and that they are safe in case any accidently drips off your balcony to those below that may have children or pets.
- Try to clear the snow when it’s fresh and powdery. Once it gets packed down, it will be much harder to remove. If there’s a lot of snowfall, you can try removing snow buildup every few hours to prevent it from getting compacted and building up weight on the balcony.
- Invest in good-quality snow removal tools like shovels, brooms, and garden hoses, and often forgotten, a pair of boots or shoes with good grip.
- And finally, if you live in an apartment or condo complex, talk to your property manager about getting a professional snow removal service to come and take care of the heavy lifting for you. This will only be necessary if there is a lot of snow and of course is likely to come at a fee. (This fee will be considerably less than a new balcony or structure fix’s if the snow really does build up)
Tools You Will Need to Remove Snow From A Balcony
If it’s only a small dusting of snow, the simplest method is to leave it to melt and run off during the day. If there are balconies above yours, you’re not likely to get heavy snow as there will be shelter from them and it is unlikely to spread for the full width of the balcony.
Heavier snow accumulation will require removal, especially if you need to use your balcony and want to avoid your balcony door getting ice-shut, and to avoid any overloading issues
Compacted snow that has melted and reformed as ice will be a slipping hazard as well as a weight hazard so if you need to use your balcony in winter, and want it still around in the summer, then your best bet is to remove the snow.
You’ll need a few basic tools, and provided there’s not a lot of heavy snowfall; it should be easy.
- A hose pipe or large gardening can
- 5-gallon buckets or similar large containers you can use to move collected snow.
- A plastic snow shovel. These will break easier than a metal one but are lighter and more practical to use on a balcony with less risk of damage.
- A sturdy broom.
- Gloves, if there is still snow its going to be cold and higher balconies are going to have wind chill on top.
- Some good grippy footwear
- Company, you might need help and its certainly quicker and safer with two people.
Get Your Hands Dirty, and Let’s Start Removing That Snow!
Now that we’ve gone over how you can remove snow from your balcony, it’s time to get started! Gather up your supplies and head outside to start clearing away the snow. Remember to take breaks often, so you don’t exhaust yourself, and be careful not to slip on any ice.
How much snow you’ll need to remove will depend on the size of your balcony, how protected it is, and how heavy the snowfall has been. Balconies built in cantilever style usually take a lot of weight, so a little snow buildup shouldn’t cause any issues. How ever if you have a post support, or bracket support you will need to be both more aware and take more care.
If you have to go on to a bracket supported wooden balcony for example after heavy snow it would be worth shovelling as much as you can from the door first to reduce the weight on the balcony, especially if it is compacted snow.
- If the snowfall is light, you can melt it by running hot water via a hosepipe or using a large watering can filled with hot water. First make sure your balcony drain is free from an debris so it can take the melted snow and water. Also make sure temperatures are not freezing, as we mentioned above, so you don’t replace snow with ice on a balcony!!
- If there is heavier snow, begin by shoveling it into your 5-gallon containers. You may be able to tip the shoveled snow directly over the balcony if its your house, if its an apartment this is most likely a bad idea, and likely illegal, so take it to the closed bathroom and put it either in the bath or the shower, and after two or three buckets melt it with the water from their.
- DO NOT throw snow over the balcony if there is a sidewalk or road beneath you. The danger of hitting a pedestrian or car is too serious, if its your house and your garden, just watch for pets and family members, and of course your car!
- Use the broom to sweep the last of the snow into piles for shoveling.
- If you prefer, you can also use an ice-melting product such as Safe Thaw. Which we have linked to on thsi page.
Tips For Making The Snow Removal Process As Quick As Possible
To make this job easier, don’t leave the snow to get hard and compacted.
- Shovel it as soon as it has fallen, when it is still light and fluffy. It becomes a lot harder to dig into your snow with the shovel when the snow has crusted with ice.
- Spray some cooking spray on your snow shovel to help prevent the ice from sticking.
- If you use a product like Safe Thaw, which is safe to use on concrete and most surfaces and will not be harmful to pets or people, it leaves a layer on the surface, which helps snow and ice slide off more easily.
- If you have the option to protect your balcony by adding weatherproofing, such as all-season rolling outdoor screens, then this will prevent excess snow from falling on your balcony.
Can You Use Rock Salt to Prevent Snow on Balconies
We all know that gritters help keep our roads from getting too icy, but can you lay down rock salt or calcium chloride on your balcony? Using these may not be feasible, depending on the balcony surface, as they scratch away at concrete and steel.
Rock salt may be a suitable option if your balcony is has wooden decking. Rock salt works by each grain of salt melting the ice or snow around it. As it melts, this salty water melts the snow near it. However, this melting process can take longer, so it works best alongside mechanical removal.
Some building complexes will not allow the use of rock salt or grit due to their corroding nature . If the expense is worth it, you can invest in a snow-melting mat. This mat could be especially useful for people with disabilities or limited movement.
As snow on a balcony is primarily a safety issue, the articles below on balcony safety may also be of use.
Clearing a balcony or deck of snow could be a quick task or an enormous one, depending on the size of your balcony, how exposed it is, and how much snowfall you get. A small apartment balcony can quickly be cleared with a snow shovel and some buckets, or even a short hose with hot water ( keep an eye out for ice forming though)
Larger decks and balconies will require more work, and it is best to start shoveling the snow before it settles and becomes close-packed and dense. Use a snow blower for large decks. A snow-melting mat can prevent ice and snow buildup and help avoid slips.