We have a gravel driveway, roughly 150 feet long. It's about 12 feet
wide, except for a 20x30 area in front of the garage where we park and
turn around. It has a few curves, and slopes up towards the county road.
The county keeps the main road plowed, but just getting out of our own
driveway can be a real adventure.
I've traditionally gone out and shoveled the driveway clear when we've
had snow storms. It wasn't bad when I was younger, but as I get older I
realize I won't always be able to shovel snow for hours just to run to
town. So, I'm investigating other solutions that will be easier for "an
old guy" to manage. :) Unfortunately, staying home till the snow passes
won't be an option for many years to come.
The first option seems to be a snow thrower, but I don't really like the
thought of one more piece of equipment to maintain. We can have a few
really mild winters, followed by one or two really wild ones. So, a gas
snow blower could potentially sit unused for a couple of years, just
taking up lots of space. Fighting to start a small gas engine in the cold
doesn't sound much better than shoveling snow. And the $700 and up price
tag seems high considering how often we might use it.
Considering the erratic nature of our storms, an electric model like the
Toro 1800 seems nice. No gas, no oil, no routine maintenance. I already
have 100' long heavy duty 12 gauge extension cords, and a couple of
electrical outlets along the drive. But, I hear they don't work so well
on gravel drives, or with wet deep snow. Still, the $300 price tag is
easier to manage, and it wouldn't take up so much space in the shed when
we weren't using it.
I'm also considering some sort of snow melt system. I'm hoping to install
pavers and a drainage system in front of the garage this summer anyway,
so it seems like a good time to install a melt system if I'm going to.
But again, the costs for materials seems like it would be rather
expensive. Electric seems like it would be a lot less maintenance (and we
have low electric rates) than hydronic. But, both systems seem to need
some type of paved covering (concrete, asphalt, pavers), which would
further increase costs.
So, I'd like to hear how others deal with snow that falls erratically,
but can be a big problem when it does?