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5 Advantages of Using Salt Brine for Ice Control

5 Advantages of Using Salt Brine for Ice Control

Justin Rollin

Winter is right around the corner, and it’s time to prep for winter weather. And any effective strategy for fighting snow includes salt brine.

At Ninja De-Icer, we’ve got our bulk rock salt ready, but salt brine for roads plays a big part in ensuring that cars can drive safely in snow or ice. While rock salt is important, it has to be wet to be effective. Salt brine is a liquid mixture that kickstarts the melting chemical reaction. Let's get into some benefits of salt brine for ice control.

What Is Salt Brine?

Before we talk about the benefits of salt brine for snow removal, we need to define what salt brine is in the first place! Salt brine isn't actually just salt: it's a mixture of salt and water that can be sprayed on roads, parking lots, and walkways, typically before a snow or ice storm to prevent the snow and ice from sticking to the surfaces.

So what is in salt brine exactly? Salt brine is an effective liquid solution made of water and sodium chloride, formed from the chemical reaction between sodium and chlorine. Many companies will also offer salt brines with additives like magnesium chloride and calcium chloride to make the product even more effective.

Liquid brine has a lower freezing point than regular water because of the salt component. This is what makes it so useful for anti-icing.

When Is the Right Time to Apply Salt Brine?

When Is the Right Time to Apply Salt Brine

When it comes to salt brine, timing is absolutely critical, as is paying attention to the specific weather conditions.

For example, while it’s important to apply salt brine before a storm, a rainstorm that comes before the snow and ice arrive would wash away the salt and negate the benefits.

Another aspect is temperature. If the weather falls below 20 degrees, the brine would freeze and be rendered useless. The air temperature could also be warm enough, but the roads could be too cold, which would end up freezing the ice as well. That’s why it’s important to have crews with hand-held infrared devices to determine the road temperature.

On top of all that, there are quick-moving storms to navigate. But if there’s 24 hours’ notice and the temperature is somewhere between 20-30 degrees, using salt brine can make an absolutely enormous difference in the battle against snow and ice.

Why Use Liquid Brine?

  • Brine works faster than granular salt alone.
  • Applied before the storm. It prevents snow from sticking to the pavement.
  • Liquid material stays in place. Working where it’s needed.
  • Less total salt means less damage to concrete, metal, and landscaping.

When Is the Right Time to Apply Salt Brine?

Right Time to Apply Salt Brine

Created by APWA. Reproduced and supported by WI Salt Wise.

Benefits of Using Salt Brine to Melt Snow and Ice

If salt brine requires such specific timing, why not just use regular salt? There are some major advantages to using salt brine over salt, which we’ll discuss below.

1. Brine Is Distributed More Evenly

When it comes to controlling ice, accuracy is incredibly important. It’s very easy for salt to not be applied evenly. And even missing just one small patch of ice can create a major issue for a pedestrian or a vehicle. With a liquid salt brine, it gets distributed as evenly as possible so that the chances of ice patches remaining are very small.

2. Brine Stays Exactly Where You Put It

Another major issue with using pure rock salt is the wind factor. Imagine laying down a nice layer of salt, only for it to be completely blown away with the high winds of an incoming storm. This can also happen especially on steeper grades and hills.

Salt brine, on the other hand, tends to stick right where it's applied so that the wind won't mess up your deicing efforts. Since applying brine is easier and less subject to wind, it saves you time and money. 

3. Brine Works Immediately

It’s already been established that timing is crucial when it comes to using salt for snow and ice removal, and a major benefit of using salt brine is that it begins to work immediately within the short window of opportunity you have for it to be effective. Salt alone requires moisture to be effective, and with salt brine, the catalyst for salt is already included.

4. Brine Is a More Cost-Effective Option

While effectiveness is a top priority for snow and ice removal, budget is another major concern. Salt brine, due to the volume, costs about 30% less than regular salt would cost, which gives brine an enormous advantage over salt alone. This cost-saving really does add up in a massive way when de-icing large areas at scale.

5. Brine Is Easier to Handle

Dumping multiple heavy bags of salt into a salter can be extraordinarily taxing, messy, and time-consuming. With a salt brine mixture for ice removal, the only thing you need to do is fill up the tank and go. This will enable you to do your job more easily, more efficiently, more quickly, and more reliably. When faced with the task of de-icing a lot of properties, this gives brine a huge advantage.

‍6. Brine Salt Works at Lower Temperatures

While granular salt can become ineffective in colder winter weather, liquid brine can handle a lower ground temperature. Due to its lower freezing point, it can be more practical to apply brine in lower temperatures.

7. Brine Salt Is Safer for People and Animals

Applying brine rather than granular salt can also be much safer. It won’t harm leather, fabric, or skin through contact, or pets if consumed.

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Salt Brine Disadvantages

Salt Brine Disadvantages

While salt brine usage is not without its disadvantages, most, if not all of them are qualified in the sense that they may end up being beneficial in the long run.

  • Salt brine does require a learning curve when it comes to an understanding when and how to use it. Sometimes, improper use of salt brine can backfire. However, once mastered, the brine becomes a powerful tool in any professional’s snow removal tutorial.
  • If you do want to start using salt brine, there are certainly some start-up costs involved that do add up, such as specific spray equipment and brine storage. However, these costs, over time, don’t add up to much compared to the benefits.

Salt Brine Popular Misconceptions

There are a number of popular misconceptions about the use of salt brine for snow removal that are important to address.

  • One misconception is that many believe using salt brine is only appropriate for large companies due to the initial cost. While there is little truth to the cost issue, the investment is highly likely to pay off even with smaller companies.
  • Another misconception is that salt brine should completely replace traditional salting. This is untrue, and salt brine should be thought of simply as another tool in the snow removal toolkit, not as a replacement for anything.
  • Some believe salt brines do not work. This is also categorically false. This is almost always due to the user not knowing which scenarios are appropriate for using a salt brine and which are not.
  • Some may try to build their own equipment to create salt brine, which is bound to create major issues. There are specific application systems that fit on trucks for a purpose. Having a system that is designed to work together, especially with regard to pressure and accuracy, is absolutely crucial.

Using Salt Brine vs. Rock Salt Is Safer for the Environment

Using Salt Brine vs. Rock Salt Is Safer for the Environment

Salt brine benefits the environment as well as your road surfaces. One of the biggest reasons to lower the use of regular rock salt is the negative environmental impact it may have. Traditional salt can make its way into lakes and other waterways, burn the landscape, and have other negative implications.

Because salt brine uses only a fraction of salt, it is much less harsh on the environment. In fact, one truckload of brine will cover the area of 4 full truckloads of salt. When you apply brine, the liquid mixture is less likely to contaminate nearby freshwater, thus protecting plant and animal life. .

Ninja De-Icer Is Your Trusted Salt Brine Supplier

As you can see, salt brine is an incredibly valuable tool in a snow removal professional's arsenal. And if you're looking for the best and most reliable salt brine supplier, look no further than Ninja De-Icer. We offer a variety of brines, including those with additives, like our Better Brine Pro and Headwaters HOT Additive.

We look forward to working with you and being your X-factor when it comes to snow and ice removal services! Get a quote now to learn more!