10 Mar 2014
Using salt and other chemicals to melt ice that forms on roads, walkways and other surfaces is something practically every business does. But how can you choose the right ice melter for your specific needs?
Consider the Surface Type
The first step is to consider the type of surface you will be treating. What the surface is made from will help determine which product to use. Choosing the wrong product could actually cause damage. For example, any sort of chloride-based ice melter can damage the fastening systems used to hold the deck together. Plus, the brine may attract even more moisture in the wood causing it to refreeze as black ice.
Another factor to consider is the environmental impact of the de-icing agent you use. Where will the runoff containing the deicer go? Will the chemicals be tracked to other places by shoes or on vehicle tires?
For example, “No Salt Zone” signs are often placed on highways adjacent to reservoirs used to store drinking water. This is to prevent the water from becoming contaminated by runoff or tracking.
The third consideration is cost. Some deicers are very inexpensive but may not provide the type of melting best for your specific needs. Alternately, you can spend a fortune on high-priced deicers when less costly ones will give you the same or better performance.
There are five basic types of deicers that are commonly used to melt ice:
1. Sodium Chloride, or rock salt, a naturally occurring substance mined from the earth.
2. Magnesium Chloride, another naturally occurring substance that is often more effective than rock salt, but also more expensive.
3. Calcium Chloride, a naturally occurring substance that also is mined. It’s the most expensive of the three chloride-based deicers and comes in pellet, flake and liquid forms.
4. Potassium Chloride, another naturally occurring substance that has fallen out of favor as a deicer and is now used primarily as a fertilizing agent. Although it is environmentally friendly, it is ineffective in temperatures lower than 25F.
5. Acetate, including such organic chemical compounds as sodium acetate, calcium magnesium acetate, and potassium acetate. These deicers won’t cause chloride damage to surfaces because they don’t contain any chlorides. They also are environmentally safe because their organic ingredients break down naturally. However, they tend to cost much more than the chloride-based deicers.
Many Options Available
Whatever our ice melting needs, Bahrns carries a wide selection of many different brands and types. Ask any of our friendly, helpful associates and they can easily direct you to the ice melters that are perfect for your specific needs.
At Barhns, our main goal is to provide the high-quality products you want a the most affordable prices. Let us help you make it through what remains of this treacherous winter. Remember, think Spring!