How To Pick The Right Deicer For Any Job

Deicer is a catch all term for the many types of chemical compounds — each with different pros and cons. Some work at varying temperatures, have different side effects, or work best on different surfaces including: wood, concrete, metal, roofing, etc. From the popular Midwest brand, Ninja Deicer, there are a couple deicers to choose from. They provide rock salt, ice melt, and liquid deicer. Whether your snow removal company is a small business that services residential properties, or a large business that services commercial properties, it is important to choose the right deicer for temperature and surface. 

Deicer is a catch all term for the many types of chemical compounds — each with different pros and cons. Some work at varying temperatures and have different side effects. Different deicers work best on different surfaces:

  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Metal
  • Roofing

From the popular Midwest brand, Ninja Deicer, there are a couple ice melt products to choose from. They provide rock salt, ice melt, and liquid deicer. You may have a small business that services residential properties. Or a large business that services commercial properties. Either way, it is important to choose the right deicing product for temperature and surface.

Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride)

Rock salt is the most common ice melter. It only costs about $10 per 50 lbs, and can only melt snow and ice above 15 degrees Fahrenheit. As far as deicers go, rock salt is fairly slow, and leaves behind a powdery residue when it dries. Rock salt is most effective for concrete, as it can’t chemically attack it. This avoids concrete deterioration. Be careful when distributing it, as it is toxic to any vegetation. The most common uses for rock salt is on roadways, parking lots, concrete driveways, and walkways.

Ice Melt

Ice melt on a road removing ice.

Ice melt’s active ingredients are sodium chloride, magnesium chloride pellets, and calcium chloride pellets. Ice melt can melt at up to -15 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is very effective and one of the best deicers. It is fast acting, and it lasts the longest. Ice melt is less damaging to vegetation than rock salt. It is less corrosive so it won’t erode surfaces as badly. There are still cons though. It is about double the price of rock salt, but you pay for the advantage. It is usually blue, so it is easy to see how well distributed it is in snowy conditions. The most common uses for ice melts are on roadways, parking lots, and walkways.   

Liquid Deicer

Truck spreading liquid deicer on a highway.

Liquid deicer is a little different, as it’s use is for  pre-treatment. It stops the snow from sticking to the pavement. If the snow can’t stick to the pavement, then ice won’t form when temperatures drop below freezing. Even after using liquid deicer, post-snow deicer is still needed. It ends up being cheaper in the long run, since there is less waste compared to solid deicers. It also causes less damage than salt, since you apply with precision onto only surfaces that need it. This reduces the environmental impact as well. The only downside of it is that the melting process is slow and may not do the job in full. That is why it is great in combination with a solid deicer to finish removing snow and ice. You can use less of each and do a more efficient job.

Which DeIcer Should You Choose?

Now that you know all about the different kinds of deicers offered, decide what is best for your property.  Looking at how low the temperatures will be reaching and consider the effective temperature of the deicer you are using. You  don’t want to be stuck with a deicer that won’t melt the ice and snow at the temperature it is going to drop to. It is also important to look at the property, and how much vegetation there is. Weigh if it is worth ruining the landscaping for a specific deicer.

It is also important to consider safety conditions. Consider that different deicers melt ice at different speeds. If you are going to have pedestrians driving or walking on your property right when the ice is forming, consider using a faster deicer. You want to make sure they are as safe as possible and don’t slip and fall. Protecting your business and its customers should be the main component when deciding. Having many deicers on hand is always a good idea, as the weather can be very unpredictable.

Now that you know all about the different kinds of deicers offered, you need to think about which one will be best for your property. Looking at how low the temperatures will be reaching will help you to decide, as you don’t want to be stuck with a deicer that won’t melt the ice at the temperature it is going to drop to. It is also important to look at your property, and how much vegetation there is. Weighing whether or not it is worth ruining your landscaping for a specific deicer is something to think about. It is also important to consider safety conditions. Deicers melt ice at different speeds, and if you are going to have pedestrians driving or walking on your property right when the ice is forming, you want to make sure they are as safe as possible. Protecting your business and its customers should be the main component when deciding a deicer. Having multiple deicers on hand is always a good idea, as the weather can be very unpredictable. 

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Al Gossen
Al Gossen
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AG Excavating, Inc
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