Best Contractor-Grade Ice Melt for Extreme Winter Conditions

winter woods

If you are a snow and ice management contractor, you don’t need us to tell you that dealing with extreme winters can be challenging, especially where we’re located in the Washington DC area. One of the biggest problems that you have to face would be the accumulation of ice in your surroundings, such as the driveway and sidewalk. This is where you will come across the need to make sure you are using the best contractor-grade ice melt so you can keep your customer’s parking lots, roads, and walkways safe. The better product you use, the more effective it will be and the less you will need to use to make sure you are providing the best snow and ice management services possible.

Not all ice melting products available for purchase in the market are a good solution in extreme temperatures. This is why you should be careful to locate the best ice melting product that can help you when temps drop crazy low. From this article, we will share some useful tips on how to find such a product. Then you can stick to it instead of using road salt, rock salt, or bulk salt.

How do ice melt products work?

Ice melting compounds lower the freezing point of water, causing ice and snow to melt and preventing it from freezing again. Some ice melts may seep through thick snow or ice, forming a brine at ground level, making the ice or snow simpler to remove. Others just transform the ice into a soft mush (brine) that may be scraped or swept away.

While basic rock salt is the oldest and most well-known kind of ice melt, a broad range of chemical compounds are also utilized. Some, on the other hand, maybe less than ideal for pets or they have a reputation for creating issues for plant life in drainage. A few kinds have even been found to pit concrete! It’s crucial to understand what you’ll need and how this will respond before utilizing it.

All deicing chemicals have a temperature range where they start to lose effectiveness. The ice melt’s efficiency is usually determined by its ability to function within 15 to 20 minutes after its application. Although each variety may vary, most tend to work best in temperatures ranging from 30° F to -25° F.

Almost all ice melts have the potential for negative consequences, especially when applied improperly. They may harm plants, or they could be harmful if ingested, and so forth. Overall, when compared to the risks of slick snow and ice in the winter, it’s widely accepted that using ice melt is still better for everyone in the long haul. However, certain varieties are more secure than others.

What are the different types of ice melting products?

Now you have a basic idea of how different ice melting products work. While keeping that in mind, let’s also take a look at the different types of ice melt products available.

  • Sodium Chloride

While salt is the most frequent and likely the oldest ice melt, it is not the quickest to melt ice. It’s typically used as a bulking basis for ice melt mixes since it’s incredibly affordable and readily accessible. It’s only effective up to 20° F, whereupon the ice melting characteristics reduce dramatically. Due to the same reason, we cannot recommend it for harsh winters.  It has a crystalline structure and resembles boulders rather than pellets. Road deicing using rock salt is common, however it produces a white, powdered sodium residue. 

  • Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride will melt snow and ice up to -25° F, making it one of the most powerful ice melts on the market. If you are searching for the best ice melt for extreme winter conditions, you may consider using calcium chloride without keeping a doubt in mind.  Calcium chloride, which comes in pelleted, powdered, or flaked form, as well as liquid ice melting products, is one of the more costly options, despite the fact that it only requires a little amount to be effective. While calcium chloride is typically present in fertilizers in tiny levels, it is among the permafrost melts that may cause significant plant yellowing, putting your lawn or boundary plants at danger. It can also cause concrete to pit and is somewhat corrosive to certain metals.

  • Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride melts ice at 12 degrees Fahrenheit and urea at 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, you will not be able to use it during extreme winters. Both of these compounds are regularly added to fertilizer mixes and are thus deemed safe to use near plants. Potassium chloride in a super-refined form has been used as a salt replacement in meals, but road-quality potassium must never be consumed. Far too much in drainage into your lawn and garden might lead to excessive potassium levels within your soil, which will need balancing.

  • Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is a finely flaked white substance that melts at temperatures as low as 5° F. Therefore, is somewhat less caustic than calcium chloride and sodium chloride, so it is slightly less harmful to plants. It will begin the melting process as quickly as calcium chloride but becomes diluted and far less effective over time. It will begin to create concrete pitting after many years of usage. You will not be able to use it during extreme winter conditions as well.

  • Sodium Acetate and Calcium Magnesium Acetate

As a runway deicer, sodium acetate ice melt is often employed. It’s exothermic, which means it gives out heat as it breaks, and it’s active up to 0° F. It’s usually a powder that may be dispersed across a larger area with less amount. You cannot use this in extreme winters as well.

Many state road systems in the United States employ calcium magnesium acetate to preserve aging roadways. It’s sprayed on roads before ice forms, and instead of melting it, it makes ice molecules stop attaching to each other, keeping the substance mushy and enhancing grip. Animals dislike it because it smells like vinegar. CMA is less prone to harm metals or roads, and it is typically environmentally friendly. CMA is a good option for an ice melt that is safe for concrete.

Final words

Now you are aware of the different ice melt products available out there to use. Among these products, calcium chloride is the most effective for extreme winters. That’s because such products have a melting point of up to -15 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, anyone who is facing harsh winters may purchase a calcium chloride-based ice melt product to get the best results.

If you have any questions or if you’d like a quote on picking up or getting ice melt products shipped to your location, please contact us today!