Types of Ice Melt

Types of Ice Melt

The two main types of ice melts are exothermic and endothermic, and the common types of ice melts include ‒ calcium chloride ice melt, sodium chloride ice melt, sodium acetate ice melt, and urea, among others. Most of these include the chemical compounds having chlorine compounds. 

If ‘By what time will they clear your driveway?’ has been your thought all over the winter, we are here to help you easily drive away.

Ice melts are available in both pellet and liquid form, and their primary function is to prevent ice formation. It can help keep the surface safer for driving and walking. It ensures that your yard and property are not damaged due to the excessive ice build-up during the freezing storms.

Why are the different types of ice melt?

Ice melt (also known as ice deicer) helps reduce water’s freezing point, preventing ice formation. Ice melt keeps away the ice buildup allowing the ice easy to clean. These are applied before the snowfall or even after ice formation.

You have solid ice melts like rock salt. Also, there are liquid ice melts, which are available in brine form. Solid ice melt is suitable for the existing ice and is applied on its top surface. It absorbs moisture leading to brine formation. It weakens the bonds, thus allowing the ice to melt. However, it may work slowly during extreme freezing conditions, since melting ice demands some moisture.

Liquid ice melt is applied over the surface to prevent ice and snow buildup. These are available in the brine form, which helps you use them efficiently at colder temperatures. You can apply the liquid ice melt using a hand spray, while for commercial purposes, it is sprayed by tanker trucks. 

These are further divided as follows: 

  • Exothermic deicers – This type of ice melt releases heat helping the ice to melt quickly. They are effective during low temperatures. Calcium chloride and Magnesium chloride fall in this category. 
  • Endothermic deicers – This type of ice melt collects the heat from their surroundings to dissolve. These remain slower compared to the exothermic deicers, particularly during cold conditions, as the moisture content is low.  Rock salt, or Sodium chloride, fall in this category. 

Common Types of Ice Melt 

Eden has enlisted the common ice melts below:

1. Calcium Chloride Ice Melt  

It is the most common type of ice melt used by most lawn owners in the U.S. It offers effective results compared with other ice-melt compounds. These are less expensive than sodium acetate but costlier than a few other compounds. 

After coming in contact with the snow attracts moisture very quickly to form a brine. It reduces the freezing point of water and then produces heat allowing the ice to melt soon. The products have calcium chloride, which makes them cold temperature tolerant. It proves effective for facilities with concrete and can easily work even in the lowest melting temperature of -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Sodium Chloride Liquid Brine

It is a liquid-type ice melt typically made with one-fourth of sodium (salt) and three-fourth of water. When we compare it with rock salt, liquid ice melt works with the help of using a small quantity of salt. This makes it very environmentally friendly. Also, there is less waste compared to solid rock salt as it fails to blow away. It is applied on the surface a few hours before the snowfall to get the best result. 

It also helps in preventing the snow from sticking over the concrete surfaces. These have lower freezing points when compared to others, like rock salt. The more dilute the liquid, the higher the freezing point. You can use it up to  -6 degrees Fahrenheit. Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt also falls into this category which gives good results. You can use it up to zero degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Sodium Acetate Ice Melt

The next on this list is Sodium Acetate, regarded as the most environmentally friendly choice for lawn owners. It does not carry biodegradable chlorides, however, it is considered an expensive choice. It has no side effects like metal corrosion and offers a longer residual effect. It means you do not have to apply it too often. 

Its effective results are approved by agencies like the FAA and even used by several commercial airport runways. However, as said above, lawn owners find it expensive. Lawn owners keen on getting quality outcomes consider it. Its lowest melting temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit. 

4. Sodium Chloride Ice Melt

Sodium Chloride is also called rock salt, and is a popular ice melt in North America. Several features make it popular. These include lower cost and effective results; Sodium Chloride is widely used in yards, driveways, and sidewalks during winter. 

Rock salt is in the endothermic category; it quickly draws heat from its surroundings and thus remains less effective during cold temperatures. These are moderately corrosive to metals, leaving powdery and whitish residue. If you can apply it properly, it can prove a safer choice. However, excessive use can kill plants. The lowest melting temperature of Sodium Chloride is 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Urea 

Urea is regarded as an endothermic type of ice melt. It is more often used as fertilizer and carries nitrogen which seems a desirable option. However, if you fail to apply it correctly or go overboard, it can burn vegetation. It is known for its slow action but is regarded as a safe choice for the environment. 

Also, it is not regarded as an effective ice melt for extreme temperature regions. It works fine with upto 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Urea with nitrogen content is a safer choice for plants when compared to ice melts. However, applying excessive urea can lead to issues like plant burn. Thus moderate use is recommended.

6. Blends 

As the name suggests, it combines sodium chloride and other expensive ice melts, including Magnesium or Calcium chloride. Sodium chloride is used in the form of solar or rock salt, which is of the purest form. Thus you get high-quality blends with powerful effects.

Using sodium chloride can work for a longer duration, while the magnesium chloride blend can work fast with a low melting point. It will help develop a quick and long-lasting ice melt having a lower effective melting point. The other benefit of using blends as ice melt is reducing the choice of highly affordable rock salt.

Choosing the Best Ice Melt

You need to check some factors to choose the best-suited ice melt for your yard. Have a look: 

  • Climate – Ice melt works by reducing the water’s freezing point. The chemical compounds used to make the ice melt vary in working temperature. Opting for exothermic is a better choice for extreme freezing temperatures, while endothermic ice melt can be appropriate for moderate temperatures. 
  • Residual Deicing – This product’s chemical composition will decide upon how long it will offer the de-icing effect once it is applied. Thus, ice melts with higher residual action giving a quick ice melting action.
  • Environmental considerations – You next need to check how the chemical compound will impact the surrounding areas. The various ice melt ingredients have a few negative impacts on the surrounding plants, human beings and animals, and even the man-made gates and doorways. The salts running with the melting ice can adversely affect animal life and vegetation.
  • Ice Melt Form – These are available in liquid and solid forms; however, the latter is more prevalent among lawn owners. The soil-based ice melt absorbs the moisture content and develops a brine. It further softens the bond found in the ground and ice surface. However, liquid ice melt is used as a pretreatment choice. 
  • Ice Melt Shape – Ice melts are available in diverse shapes. The evenly shaped ice melt is more effective than any irregular shape or flaked particles. On the other hand, the solid and round ice melt goes down and outward evenly, giving quick results. Lastly, the irregular shape-based particles melt in a horizontal pattern. 
  • Price – The cost of ice melt varies on factors like chemical composition and manufacturing. Generally, compounds including Potassium Chloride, Sodium Acetate, Urea, Blend, Rock salt, Sodium Chloride, Liquid Brine, and Magnesium Chloride are regarded as affordable options.

In conclusion, the two main types of ice melts are exothermic and endothermic, and the common types of ice melts include ‒ calcium chloride ice melt, sodium chloride ice melt, sodium acetate ice melt, and urea, among others. Ice melt is one of the best ways to manage winter snow in your yards. However, choosing the right product is important. Contact Eden for affordable and professional snow removal services for your yard. 

If ‘By what time will they clear your driveway?’ has been your thought all over the winter, we are here to help you easily drive away.

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