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Winter Maintenance: A Comprehensive Guide to De-icing Your Safely and Effectively

De-icing your driveway and sidewalks is integral to winter maintenance to prevent slips and falls. However, the chemicals used for de-icing can harm the environment and pets. In this blog, we will explore different de-icing options, from chemical to eco-friendly and pet-friendly so that you can choose the best and most effective option for your needs.


Rock Salt

One popular option for de-icing is rock salt, also known as sodium chloride. This is a common and inexpensive choice, but it can harm plants, pets, and the environment. When it melts snow and ice, it creates a brine that can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater. In addition, it can damage concrete and metal surfaces over time. Additionally, sodium chloride effectiveness is highly diminished in colder weather as it only works in temperatures between 15 to 20 F.


Blended Option


When temperatures drop below 15 to 20 F, a blended form of de-icer can be effective. These will work quickly and can work up to -10 F. These blends will typically be a rock salt coded with Magnesium Chloride, Calcium Chloride or CMA (more information on all these is below. These agents will react to ice and snow and begin warming up, allowing the salt to create a lasting brine to keep ice away. Ice-No-More will actually be coated with all three and has food dye in the product, which will ensure that you do not have to use the product over!

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is an excellent alternative to sodium chloride. It works better in colder temperatures -20F and is less harmful to plants and soil. It is not, however, pet friendly and can be corrosive on concrete and wood.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

An eco-friendlier option is calcium magnesium acetate or CMA. This de-icer is derived from acetic acid (found in vinegar) and is less harmful to plants and the environment. It is also less corrosive to metal surfaces and is less damaging to concrete than rock salt. However, it is more expensive and may be less effective at lower temperatures.


Potassium Chloride

For pet owners, there are de-icing options that are safe for animals. Potassium chloride is a pet-friendly de-icing option that is less harmful to plants and the environment than rock salt. However, it is more expensive and may be less effective at lower temperatures. Winter Paw de-icing agent has a mixture of magnesium, sulfate, and potash and, if effective, down to -15F

Urea

Another pet-friendly option is urea, a natural compound that is less harmful to plants and the environment than rock salt. Urea will also help green your lawn when it washes off into your grass or garden. That is due to its extremely high amount of Nitrogen. That, however, can release nitrogen into the air, contributing to air pollution. It is also more expensive than rock salt. There are also eco-friendly de-icing options that are made from natural ingredients. Beet juice, for example, is a natural de-icer that is less harmful to plants and the environment than rock salt. It is also effective at lower temperatures and can help prevent ice from forming on surfaces. However, it is more expensive and may be less widely available. In conclusion, various de-icing options are available, from chemical to eco-friendly and pet-friendly. Rock salt is a common and inexpensive choice, but it can harm plants, pets, and the environment. Eco-friendly options, such as CMA, potassium chloride, and urea, are less harmful but may be less effective at lower temperatures.

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