With the winter season, snow and ice is an inevitable factor. And with the harsh, cold weather conditions comes an increased need for winter’s most trusted essentials – salt and deicer.
While each location requires a different tactic to remove ice and avoid any slips, the right materials can make a world of difference when it comes to your winter care. Thankfully, our team at Ninja De-Icer knows a thing or two about the different salt and deicer options and how to get the most out of each, and we know you have questions.
To help you prep for the winter chill, our team at Ninja De-Icer is answering all your burning salt and deicer questions so you understand how they work, why they are so essential and can make a more informed purchase. Let’s dive right in!
Why Does Salt Melt Ice?
Okay, let’s start with the basics – why does salt melt ice?
The reason salt is able to melt ice has everything to do with the freezing point of water. When salt melts into water, it actually creates a lower freezing point than that of plain water. Freshwater freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while a saltwater mixture won’t freeze until temperatures drop more. This requires it to be colder for ice to re-form, ensuring that ice is melted as the salt continues to dissolve.
Why Is Salt So Expensive?
Oftentimes, the price of salt is higher due to the mere size of the bag needed. Typically bought in tons or pounds, this is much more than your grocery store salt shaker, and for that reason, comes at a higher price. Additionally, the price of salt depends on the market, supply and demand, and when the weather is at its most extreme, prices will tend to rise as a result. What do we recommend? Stocking up on your winter salt needs long before the season actually hits.
Will Table Salt Melt Ice?
Are you wondering, “will table salt melt ice?” It may sound like a silly question to ask if the same salt you use in your kitchen can also melt the ice outdoors, but it’s not as ridiculous as some may think. In fact, table salt absolutely can melt ice. However, table salt will wind up being much more expensive than simply buying a bag of ice melt when attempting to melt the ice on an entire driveway or parking lot, so we don’t necessarily recommend it from a budget standpoint.
Will Epsom Salt Melt Ice?
So if table salt can melt ice, will Epsom salt melt ice, too? Actually, it will. Epsom salt often comes in larger bags, providing a larger quantity to tackle your ice melting needs. However, it works much slower than classic ice melts. That being said, it’s less harmful to vegetation, so if you are attempting to melt ice in an area where water will run off into plants, Epsom salt is a good solution. Just be prepared to have patience.
Can You Use Water Softener Salt to Melt Ice?
While we are still on the topic of the different household salt options that will melt ice, can you use water softener salt to melt ice? Since water softener salt relies on potassium chloride or sodium chloride, it can work to melt ice. It is often a more affordable option than rock salt, although it’s not one we use often.
What Salt Is the Best to Use?
The best salt to use at your location depends primarily on the temperatures in your area. Certain salt options only work in moderately cold temperatures, while others can handle the extreme cold. To avoid buying a salt that can’t handle your extreme winter temperatures, be sure to read the label to check what the lowest temperature it functions within is. Additionally, consider the handling and application needs, as well as the impact it will have on concrete or vegetation in the case those are concerns for you.
Is Salt My Only Option?
No, salt isn’t your only option when tackling winter ice! Liquid deicer is another great choice that’s easier to apply and can cut down on labor costs at larger locations. Plus, liquid deicer is a more affordable option.
There are even more perks to choosing a deicer. Oftentimes, liquid deicers will cause less damage to vegetation, whereas salt will dry it out. We particularly rely on liquid deicer as a pre-treatment to use before a storm has really gotten underway.
When to Apply Salt or Deicer?
The best time to apply salt or deicer depends on the weather conditions, as we would expect.
If you only have a light dusting of snow that hasn’t accumulated much and won’t require a plow, you can use a deicing material to melt it and avoid the snow from bonding and forming a slippery surface on the pavement.
That being said, if you experienced heavy snowfall, it’s essential that you clear away any snow before applying your ice melt. This will ensure the salt doesn’t have to work through the snow first, often resulting in it not actually tackling the ice.
Last but not least, you can apply your salt or deicer before a storm has officially hit. This will help keep ice from forming as the ice melt is already laid down as a groundwork to prevent accumulation.
How to Prevent Over-Usage of Salt?
Using too much salt or deicer can actually cause damage to hardscapes, buildings, and plants, so ensuring you’re not overdoing it is essential to removing ice without impacting your surroundings. With this in mind, always follow the specific directions on your package of ice melt, and if you have questions, consult with the experts at Ninja De-Icer.
What If My Pet or Child Eats the Salt?
Ice melts are not intended for human or animal consumption, and for that reason, should be kept away from your pets and children. That being said, certain solutions are safer for use around pets and children than others, so look out for these options when searching for your solution. Otherwise, keep your ice melt out of reach of children and pets at all times, and be cognizant of areas they frequent.
Will the Deicer or Salt Damage My Grass in the Future?
Since the basic function of ice melts is to turn ice into liquid, they often run off into surrounding areas. With this in mind, the chemicals in the solution of your choice will accumulate in the surrounding surface area, which can ultimately damage lawns and vegetation. While some solutions are safer for vegetation than others, we recommend flushing your lawn with water in the spring to rinse off the solution. Additionally, in following the specific directions on your solution, you can avoid causing excess damage to your surrounding space – another reason to not overdo it!
Will the Deicer or Salt Damage My Concrete?
Salt and deicers can be drying to concrete, which is why it’s important not to use these ice melts on uncured or first-year concrete. Additionally, do not use ice melts on porous or poorly-cured locations to avoid damaging the surface. Furthermore, to avoid damage, we recommend removing any slush and snow that may accumulate after using an ice melt to prevent any buildup from damaging your surfaces.
Can I Use Deicer or Salt on the Roof?
We do not recommend using deicer or salt on your roof. Instead, consult with a roofing expert to address any ice concerns on your roof. There are a lot of ice removal options for roofs that a professional service can advise upon.
Can I Use Deicer or Salt on the Deck?
There are some decks that deicers and salt can be beneficial on, but it depends on the material. Avoid using these ice melts on wood, brick, or patio decks. To be sure that your salt or deicer is suitable for your deck, we recommend contacting the manufacturer.
Winter weather conditions sure do result in a lot of questions! From will table salt melt ice to the question of why does salt melt ice in the first place, we covered a lot of the basics. However, if you have more questions or need guidance on the best anti-ice solution for your location, explore more on Ninja De-Icer – trust us, we have everything you need to tackle winter ice.