Deicing & Salting? What are they and when to use each?

There are so many terminologies, and they are used interchangeably, not to say incorrectly, season-in and season-out. So we’ll bring order to chaos.

Let’s start by defining deicing. Deicing is the term using to describe the process of removing snow, ice, or frost from surfaces, be it roads, driveways, walkways, cars, airplanes, or anything else.

Deicing is a process and can be accomplished through:

  • Mechanic methods such as scraping, blowing, or pushing
  • Use of heat
  • Application of liquid or solid chemicals that lower the freezing point of water, or
  • Combination of the methods above.

So you see, scrapping the windows of your car is deicing as much it is to apply salt to a parking lot.

As per the definition, deicing can be accomplished by using a combination of deicing methods. Pre-treating the surface before the snow starts will make now plowing easier.

Salt is the traditional deicer, but the type of salt used depends on ground temperature and contract requirements.

There are several types of chemical salts, and these are the three most used by the snow removal industry:

Rock salt is the most inexpensive type of salt and widely used. However, rock salt needs to be used in the right concentration because it can be toxic to plants, animals, and waterways and cause corrosion of steel. Another downside of rock salt is that it freezes below 0 oF, so it doesn’t do much good when the temperature is lower than 0 oF.
Calcium Chloride can prevent freezing at a temperature as low as −62 °F and is relatively harmless to plants and soil.
Magnesium Chloride is highly soluble in water and can be extracted from brine or seawater. Magnesium chloride resists low temperatures, like calcium chloride, but it doesn’t damage concrete as much as calcium chloride does. It can be mixed with salt to spread on paved roads and sidewalks.

How about liquid deicers?

Liquid Deicers has been in the market for a while now, but it’s not often requested for commercial properties. The advantage of liquid deicer is that it’s cheaper per application, it can cause less damage and lower labor cost. However, it does take longer than traditional salt melt ice, so it’s best as a pre-treatment.

There you have it!! Salting & deicing demystified!

As always, the ADR Snow Management team is here to help. Call us at 914.371.5245 to talk about your commercial property snow management needs.

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