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Sustainable De-Icer Strategies for Commercial Properties

Sustainable De-Icer Strategies for Commercial Properties

Justin Rollin

Every year, as the snow season approaches, it is essential to prepare snow and ice management plans for safety purposes. Though shoveling is a safe way to remove snow and ice it is not risk-free when it comes to the potential of damaging surfaces, especially when the ice has bonded to the ground’s surface. De-icing products are the best way to ensure that all the snow and ice is removed safely. But what is de-icing, exactly? 

What Is The De-Icing Approach?

De-Icing Approach

De-icing is the process of removing snow, frost, and ice from surfaces after the snow has already fallen. It is the most common approach to snow removal and is used widely. Removing ice and snow is generally done with snow blowers and plows when the snowfall has accumulated greatly, however it can become difficult when the ice has bonded to the surface. Instead of damaging equipment, de-icing is the solution. De-icing breaks the chemical bond between the ice and the pavement in order to allow for thorough and efficient mechanical removal.

Removing snow and ice with the de-icing approach is a multi-step process. First, most of the snow should be removed mechanically before applying de-icing materials. After reaching a point where further shoveling would damage the equipment, de-icer is applied. The de-icer will effectively break the chemical bonds of the ice and pavement and then the remaining, unmelted ice and snow can be easily removed. De-icer can be applied directly to packed snow, however, more material will be required to melt the snow and reach the pavement.

De-icer can be purchased in both solid and liquid form. Granular de-icers, or rock salt, are very popular and come in many varieties. Rock salt is usually made of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride. Liquid de-icers should be applied with a pencil sprayer to ensure the product reaches the pavement properly and does not become diluted by the melting snow and ice.

Do's and Don'ts of De-Icing

There are a couple of common mistakes you might make and problems you may encounter when de-icing after a snow storm. Here are a few things to avoid:

Firstly, do not over-salt the ice or snow. Using calibrated spreaders and exercising caution when choosing application rates helps to avoid over-salting. This can also save money and any nearby vegetation, which can be damaged by the salt.

Secondly, do not try to melt everything. Using salt to melt all the snow on the pavement is a waste of money and materials. Instead, use the salt as intended, to break the bond between the packed snow and the pavement surface. This will make cleanup easier and will save valuable materials.

Things to Consider Before Buying De-Icer

There are a few things to consider when purchasing de-icing products to ensure safe and effective application. First, that any product containing ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate should not be used, as they will ruin any surface they’re placed on. Next, that de-icers can be harmful to plants and vegetation when overused; some de-icers will build up in the soil and kill your landscaping.

When you are buying a de-icer, consider other materials that could be helpful for application. For example, sand provides helpful traction when combined with the de-icer. Finally, de-icers can be very damaging to concrete. To avoid damaging concrete, make sure to not apply de-icer to any concrete sidewalks and steps that are less than six months old. Also, consider purchasing ice melt, or magnesium chloride, instead of rock salt to melt ice on sidewalks and steps. This type of de-icer is not as damaging to concrete.

De-Icing Tips for Commercial Properties

Best De-Icing Tips for Commercial Properties

Below are some general tips for de-icing commercial properties in order to avoid damage and waste:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or manual before beginning any application of de-icing fluid or solids.
  • Keep in mind that de-icers are not meant to melt all of the ice and snow that has accumulated. De-icers loosen the bond between the ice and the pavement, making scraping and shoveling easier. The de-icer should be applied with that purpose in mind in order to avoid wasting material.
  • Prior to applying de-icer, remove as much ice and snow as possible to speed up the melting process.
  • Do not reapply the de-icer too soon, give it time to work properly. De-icers tend to work more slowly when it is very cold, but will still melt the ice and snow as needed.
  • Do not apply the material close to the bases of buildings.
  • When using granular salt as de-icing material, be sure to apply directly to the snow. The snow will only melt if it’s touching the granular material.
  • Be sure to properly calibrate the equipment in order to employ precise and accurate application rates.
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Whatever form of de-icer you choose, quality is the most important factor. Using higher-quality de-icers and following these tips and tricks will save you time, money, and material. Make your snow and ice management more sustainable with high-quality de-icers and rock salt from Ninja De-Icer!