Wintertime heralds in colder weather, and with it, lots of snow and ice. Concrete and asphalt surfaces become riskier to navigate unless you take proper precautions. The right kind of salt will prevent ice from building up on your driveways and walkways. There are different features, however, to consider before choosing the best ice melt for you this winter.
The Truth About Salt
Salt serves as an ice melt by lowering the freezing point of water. The ice on your concrete and asphalt surfaces cannot stay frozen after introducing salt to the mix. Adding salt triggers a chemical reaction that makes it difficult for water molecules to remain bonded together.
Different Types & Their Uses
Almost any type of ice melt will do the trick when you need ice gone in the wintertime. But some varieties may be better suited to your home and needs. You should consider several factors, including price and potential harm done to your home, lawn, or pets.
Rock salt is the most common option because it is cheap and effective. This economical ice melt lowers the freezing point of water to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Sodium chloride is a quick fix, but it also makes it easier for water to melt and refreeze in cracks in your concrete. Small gaps will widen after a winter spent using sodium chloride. This variety is also not a good option for homes with pets that go outdoors often.
While calcium chloride is more expensive than sodium chloride, it will melt ice at temperatures as low as -25 below zero and does not damage concrete. Too much calcium chloride, however, will cause flowers and grass to die on your lawn. Be careful to use this variety sparingly to avoid creating harmful run-off into the ground.
Your best choice for a pet-friendly home is magnesium chloride. It is a more expensive type of ice melt but is not likely to cause unnecessary harm to your driveway or lawn. Magnesium chloride will help de-ice surfaces down to temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Calcium Magnesium Acetate
Calcium magnesium acetate is safe for any home. It is not harmful to pets or grass, and it will not worsen cracks in your pavement. This variety is the most expensive but carries plenty of benefits to make it worth the money.
Tips and Tricks: What To Do and What Not To Do
Spreading these products on your outdoor surfaces can stop dangerous situations from ever occurring. But ice melts need to be mindfully used to avoid harm to you, your family, your pets, or your home.
Keep Hands and Paws Clean
Cheaper varieties can be harmful to you and your pets. It can make your skin itchy and irritated upon contact. Some salts, like sodium chloride, can also be incredibly dangerous when ingested by pets. The best course of action is to carefully wipe your pet’s paws before they come inside and to always wash your hands thoroughly with water after handling any product. varieties
Don’t Spread Too Much
Less is more in this situation. A thin layer of any of these varieties will melt thin sheets of ice neatly. Save money and use an ice melt of choice sparingly. Spreading too much on your concrete or asphalt can actually increase damage to your surfaces or lawn.
Spread Salt Evenly
Your eyes may deceive you – the spot that seems to be very icy is no worse than the rest of your driveway. You should make sure to carefully spread salt across the entire surface of your driveway or walkway. Ice melt is much more effective when spread evenly over as much surface area as possible.
Don’t Shovel After
Applying salt before shoveling will not work out well. Save yourself the trouble of spreading more product (and wasting your money!) by shoveling first.
Be Ready Before The First Snowfall
Planning ahead for the winter by contacting the right snow removal company is always a smart idea. And having the right ice melt on hand for the worst winter has to offer will save you many headaches. You should always keep in mind your budget and your personal needs when choosing the right product.