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How Much Ice Melt Do You Need: Best Winter Practices

How Much Ice Melt Do You Need: Best Winter Practices

Justin Rollin

Winter is fast approaching, and it brings with it a beautiful and dangerous layer of snow and ice. It is important when planning for the winter season to choose a winning ice melt strategy. The big question is when to put ice melt down and what products to use. Look for de-icing products that will contain sodium, calcium, or magnesium chloride for the best results. Do not let your commercial be caught off guard by a heavy snow or frost.

Ice Melt Application Strategies

According to the Smart Salting for Property Management Manual, your ice melt strategy will be linked to your Level Of Service (LOS); this will determine which products to use, how to apply them, and it will also determine the frequency of use of these products throughout the winter months. 

Bare Pavement

Bare pavement is the hardest to achieve in the winter months because it requires a well-thought-out ice melt strategy. It is not impossible, but it requires planning. A bare pavement is a road or parking lot that is free of ice and snow where the stripped lines are visible all winter long. The LOS for these pavements are typically reserved for high vehicle and pedestrian traffic , to ensure a maximum level of safety.

  • Liquid de-icing plays a vital role here, this is the first line of defense to keep ice at bay. It is paramount to apply liquid brine before the first frost or snow to achieve the best results. Instructions must be followed when using liquids to avoid misusing them.
  • Mechanical snow removal is the next logical step. This needs to be performed on a regular basis to avoid any dangerous conditions and prevent the formation of ice that can become a long-term problem. It is important to use the right tools for plowing these surfaces and to plow them as frequently as possible.
  • De-icing products must also be kept on hand and applied on a regular basis or as needed. Some surfaces may require more de-icing products while others less; this will depend on the traffic and on how the liquid de-icing and snow removal steps were executed.

It is paramount to not skip any steps. In the case of the LOS required for ‘bare pavement’, not executing the ice management plan as detailed above can have costly repercussions.

Ice Melt Application Strategies

Non-Bare Pavement

Not all roads or parking lots require the same LOS, this is evident when looking at non-bare pavement; let’s face it, snow doesn’t have to cripple us or prevent us from enjoying the season, some people even look forward to the snow. Non-bare pavement is defined as less trafficked roads or parking lots. However, it is noteworthy that certain businesses prefer that their sidewalks and parking lots are categorized as bare pavement— this comes down to the customer’s choice. Certain municipalities will also impose restrictions and mandates regarding the minimum level of snow removal and ice management services required per area. Non-bare pavement usually requires 2 steps:

  • Mechanical snow removal must be performed regularly. This is the main strategy to achieve the most successful outcome. This is the most important task to perform to properly execute a snow and ice management plan on a basic level.
  • De-icing is the second step to control the surfaces in non-bare pavement areas. De-icing is done to ensure a level of safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. De-icing products must be applied as needed, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Abrasives can also be applied, not as a separate step but connected to the deicing process; if the temperature drops down to 0⁰F, then abrasives can be applied to ensure traction. It is important to note here that abrasives are commonly used on gravel roads.

Ice Melt Application Patterns

When using ice melt products, the idea is to apply the right amount to make sure sidewalks, parking lots, and other surfaces are safe for pedestrians and vehicular traffic. 

Granular Ice Melt Spread Pattern

When dispersing granular ice melt, it is important to orient it more towards the center of the surface rather than applying an unnecessary amount throughout. The idea is safety, not pavement damage.

Liquid Ice Melt Spread Pattern

When it comes to liquid ice melt it is always best to refer to the instructions written on the product itself. Depending on when the liquid is applied, the pattern will vary according to conditions on the ground such as ground temps, wind, etc.

Ice Melt Application Patterns

Application Rates

Less is usually more. In the case of ice melts, this is important to remember. Over-using ice melts can cause the pavement to become slippery, it can damage the concrete, and it can harm vegetation. So, the application must be thoroughly planned out to use the right amounts. Strategically spread ice melt over the surface, but not in an excessive fashion. It is noteworthy to mention that ice melt products dissolve and spread out when used, everything will eventually be covered without covering the entire ground with it yourself. 

When to Apply Ice Melt?

When to put down ice melt is a tricky question to answer; it is best to apply it before a snow event, however, it may be hard to predict the quantity needed. Applying ice melt must be done before a storm for the best results, it is a time-sensitive issue; following the weather reports can give you an indication of when a storm is coming and how bad it is predicted to be. The timing is a perfect marriage between guesswork and intuition. This is not an exact science, but can help you deduce the amounts needed. 

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Ninja De-Icer Is Your Reliable Ice Melt Supplier

Snow and ice melt management is a responsibility that may seem daunting at first glance, but it is important to remember that there is help available. Ninja De-Icer is your reliable supplier of ice melt products. We will ensure that your customers can walk easily and feel safe with every step they take. Do not wait, winter isn’t waiting for anyone, get a quote!