Five Factors Affecting the Effectiveness of Ice Melts and De-icers

When it comes to ice, residents and snow removal operators have their favorite de-icers and ice melts. While some prefer to use more environmentally friendly products, others opt for those that work the fastest with less inconvenience. What very few – except for those who understand the nature of the product, realize is that various factors can and do affect the ability of an ice melt or de-icer to perform their job optimally.

Factors Affecting Effectiveness

Ice melts are products that help consumers prevent ice from forming or melt it. Deicers is a term often formally refer to products that do not melt the ice but do increase traction, therefore reducing the risk of slips-and-falls. Deicers also increase the ability of a vehicle’s tires to grip the surface of a road or driveway. When using de-icers and/or ice melt, it is important to realize that recent scientific research has found several factors to be influential in affecting the efficiency of salt. These are:

1. The freezing/melting temperature of the actual deicer or ice melt. You need to know this in order to determine whether it can melt or control the ice in your region and on certain days. For example, rock salt works best when temperatures are no less than 15 degrees F, while calcium chloride is highly effective at temperatures as low as -25.

2. The temperature of the surface on which the product is being distributed

3. The amount of snow on the surface: When snow is too high, it definitely can interfere with the capabilities of deicers.

4. The steepness and other land features of the ground on which the product is being scattered

5. Adherence to the surface: This considers such factors as ice melt/deicer bounce when the product is scattered by hand or machine or from a vehicle. For example, when traffic is heavy, products such as rock salt easily are thrown off the road. To a certain extent, the same can apply where foot traffic is heavy. This is one reason why some public works departments combine salt with a liquid such as beet juice, pickle brine, or even water.

These all are taken into consideration by road departments as well as snow plow operators and snow removal companies, particularly when considering the application rate.

External and Innate Factors Influence Ice Melt and De-icer Effectiveness

No one doubts the benefits derived from using de-icers and ice melts on roadways and sidewalks. Whether you are a snow plow operator under contract to a city such as Chicago, IL or a commercial snow removal agency hired by a resident in Cambridge ON, you know using such products helps reduce the amount of physical labor potentially involved in removing ice from streets, highways, sidewalks, and driveways. Residents, too, realize the advantages of using such products in a safe and responsible manner. However, it is always important to understand not only the ingredients of the product but how to use it optimally.

For professionals, such as those available through a third-party service such as Edenapp or those on the public dime, certain factors such as adherence to the surface of the pavement or concrete are important. By understanding what can and does affect the performance of the deicers and ice melts, it is possible to reduce labor and improve the efficacy of the product while making the entire process more user-friendly and cost-effective.

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