When it comes to selecting the right ice melter for your needs, there are many factors to take into consideration. For instance: the surface that you are treating and where the runoff will go. There are many options to choose from, varying in ingredients, uses and costs. So how do you know you’re choosing the right product?
Things to take into consideration when choosing an ice melter:
- What type of surface are you treating? Concrete sidewalks? Wood deck? Just as different surfaces hold ice and snow differently, chemicals react differently as well.
- What are the runoff or tracking possibilities? Will the runoff go into a stream or wetland, causing environmental issues? Or will it be tracked in on shoes into the home and ruin the carpets?
- What is your budget? Like with many things, cost can vary.
Here is a breakdown of the five most common deicers:
- Sodium Chloride (NaCI) AKA “Rock Salt,” a very abundant compound. It’s the most popular option because it’s inexpensive, readily available and found all over the world. It performs best in 20-30 degree weather but can still be effective down to 16 degrees.
- Magnesium Chloride (MgCI2) A very effective deicer that is also found throughout the world. More expensive than Sodium Chloride, but it’s gentle on most surfaces and vegetation. It’s also safe for animals and the environment and doesn’t track so your rugs are safe too! Effectively melts snow and ice down to -13 degrees.
- Calcium Chloride (CaCI2) More expensive than the previous two, but has been used in the US for over 100 years and can melt ice in temperatures as low as -25 degrees. However, the toxicity is the highest of all chloride deicers, can bit a little rough on surfaces and messy when it’s tracked.
- Potassium Chloride (KCI) Most commonly used as a fertilizer, it’s not widely used as a deicer. It’s not a very effective deicer because it won’t melt below 25 degrees, but it is preferred for being so environmentally friendly.
- Acetates Come in three forms: sodium acetate, calcium magnesium acetate and potassium acetate. These are not chloride (salt) based so they protect surfaces from chloride damage and they break down easily in the environment, leaving little adverse impact. However, these types of deicers can be very expensive, as the ingredients are in short supply and therefore very expensive.
Still not sure? Ask your supplier or give us a call, we are happy to help!