If you want to keep your drives, walks, and public entries clear from ice and snow, then you will want to use ice-melting compounds. You need to find a solution that will work fast and keep the ice off your property. There are many choices on the market, and it can be confusing to find the best one for you. Here is a brief look at the best deicers for melting snow and ice.
How Do They Work?
All ice melters work in a similar fashion. They will depress the freezing point of the snow and ice as they turn the mixture into a liquid. Deicers with chemical salts will work through the ice and create a brine solution. The brine works to break the bond to the surface. Once it is loose, the ice can be removed by hand or machine. In many cases, these ice melters are applied before the snow or ice hits the ground.
When you add deicer to a surface, a bond is prevented from forming as the ice comes in contact with the solution. Fertilizers can also work in the same manner, but they do not develop a brine solution. Most of these solutions are soluble in water and depress the freezing point of ice and snow. While these deicing solutions work in the same way, they will often vary in performance on your surfaces. The environment, quantity of material, speed, and melting action can all affect the performance of your deicing material.
Several Types of Deicers
When you walk into your local hardware store, there are several choices to use on your property. Different salts can be used as ice melts. In many cases, the major brands will use a combination of two or more salts. With so many options, you might be left overwhelmed when searching for the right product. Before you choose a deicer, you need to know what will work in your climate. Some of these options include:
One of the best solutions to melt ice and snow from your surface is calcium chloride. It is a hygroscopic compound. What does that mean? Calcium chloride absorbs moisture and will start dissolving ice. When the dissolving process starts, the solution will generate a heat of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. With a high level of heat, the ice and snow will quickly melt and turn into the water on all your surfaces.
Dissolved calcium chloride works in a similar manner. It also breaks the bond between the surface and ice. Many people prefer this method because it is less corrosive and poses less harm to the environment. Calcium chloride is also a popular option because it can work in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. While it is an environmentally safe option, it can damage grass and plants if you add too much to your surfaces.
Unlike other methods, magnesium chloride can be used in dense vegetation spaces, and it is not corrosive to some surfaces. If you have pets, you may want to use this solution for your ice removal needs. Magnesium chloride has a minimum working temperature of -13 degrees, and it is almost as effective as calcium chloride. While it works the same way as calcium chloride, it does cost more per bag.
Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)
This compound is another good option for deicing your surfaces. CMA is comprised of acetic acid, which can be found in vinegar, and dolomitic lime. This solution is a safe option for plants and animals. In some cases, CMA is used to coat the surface of other ice melts. CMA can melt snow and ice in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unlike other ice melts on the market, CMA does not form a brine on the surface. This solution works by preventing ice and snow from sticking to each other on surfaces, and it can affect the snow’s ability to re-freeze. However, calcium magnesium acetate will leave a slush mixture. CMA is also less corrosive than other salts.
Potassium Chloride is a mixed bag for many people. It is safe for pets, but it can be bad for grasses and plants. However, it is one of the top choices for concrete surfaces that contain rebar or wire mesh. If you are looking for a quick solution to melt ice and snow, you might want to skip this option. Potassium chloride works slower than other ice melt blends. For those with large amounts of ice and snow, it might not be that effective. Potassium chloride can work in low temperatures down to -12 Fahrenheit.
Rock salt is another popular option for deicing sidewalks and drives. It is inexpensive and can work for large surfaces. However, there are several problems with this type of deicer. Rock salt is extremely damaging to any surface, and it doesn’t work in low temperatures. For those with pets, it can also be lethal if it is ingested.
Find the Right Product For You
It can be a tough decision to choose the right deicer for your property. Calcium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate are some of the best options since they have a high level of melting power. These solutions will also help to prevent re-freezing even on the most frigid of winter days. Your choice of deicing solutions will depend on your preferences for your property. If you want a safe walking surface, you need to choose an ice melt like calcium chloride. However, those with pets should use calcium magnesium acetate due to its environmentally friendly properties.
If you are having problems finding the right solutions, you can always ask for advice from your neighborhood landscaping company. A professional landscaping service can help you find the best deicer for your home or business that will not harm your surfaces or lawn.
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