How to Keep Road Salt from Hardening

Ice Melt Storage

Winter months bring a set of unique challenges for snow contractors. Managing equipment, crews, technology and customers is tough but not the whole story. One of the biggest challenges is having enough rock salt on hand to service customers but also store it effectively so it doesn’t go bad. Road salt storage isn’t complicated, but it needs to be a priority to run your business effectively.

Road salt doesn’t go bad, but you will need to adhere to appropriate measures for storing it. If you fail to properly store road salt, it will end up clumping and getting hard. From this article, we will share some useful tips on how you can keep road salt from solidifying and getting hard. Even if you ended up hardening road salt, we will be sharing a few tips on how you can reverse it.

What exactly is road salt?

Road salt, which is also known as rock salt, is a form of salt that is available in granular components. It has a coarse texture and is not in a purified state. The chemical composition of road salt is similar to table salt. However, you will not be able to find it in a purified state, which makes road salt not good for consumption. It is also important to keep in mind that road salt is not milled to create smaller molecules. You will be using them in the natural rock formations along with iodine so that you will be able to avoid clumping. Depending on the nature of the ice and salt that you have to deal with, you may think about adding numerous additives to road salt.

Why does road salt harden?

When you apply road salt on the streets during the winter season, you can get deposited ice to break down. This will eventually create a brine mixture. Brine is nothing but a mixture of salt and water. The freezing point associated with this brine mixture will be significantly low when compared to water. Once you apply road salt to ice, you can get it to melt because of the above-mentioned fact. When there is excessive road salt present on the roads, you will be able to reduce the overall likelihood of ice forming again.

The natural attraction that road salt has to water would make it highly vulnerable to hardening. If you store road salt in an area where there is high moisture and humid temperatures, you will have to deal with this problem. This is the main reason why road salt is considered a hygroscopic solid, which is capable of attracting heat and water from the environment. When this substance attracts too much water, the composition would change. This is where you will end up with the hardening road salt you have.

How can you keep road salt away from hardening?

Now you have a clear idea of how road salt hardens. As you can see, storing road salt in a climate-controlled environment can assist you to keep it away from hardening as well.

Whenever you unload road salt to your facility, you need to make sure that you are storing it in a climate-controlled environment. If there is a possibility for you to invest money in purchasing sealable or airtight containers, you may think about doing it. This is a proven method available to keep road salt away from hardening.

It is possible to keep road salt outdoors during the winter season without any protection. However, you will need to move them to an airtight container at the beginning of the spring season. Then you will need to take appropriate measures to keep the environmental condition as it is. This will help you to protect and preserve road salt during the summer months.

You may also think about placing some charcoal inside the container that you use to store road salt. That’s because charcoal is capable of absorbing moisture. When charcoal absorbs moisture, you will be able to take away one of the factors that can cause road salt to harden. As a result, you will be able to store road salt without clumping them.

What should you do when road salt hardens?

If you fail to maintain proper environmental conditions, you will end up with hardening road salt. In such situations, you should not throw away or dispose of road salt. There are a few steps that you will be able to follow in order to get the road salt back into its original condition. However, it is not going to be easy.

In case you can hammer or drill through hardened road salt, you will be able to get it back to its original granular form. This may look like a straightforward thing that you can do. However, it requires a lot of time, effort, and preparation. For example, you will need to protect your eyes and take a power drill or a hammer. Then you may continue to break apart all the hardened pieces of road salt. The time that will be required to complete this job would vary depending on the total amount of road salt that you will have to deal with.

If hardened road salt is stored inside bags, you may take them to a higher elevation and drop them on concrete. The impact would make the road salt clumps separate. However, this method appears to be less practical when compared to the above-mentioned method.

Another method that you can follow to break down hardened road salt would be to place the clumps in warm water. Along with time, you will be able to get the clumps to dissolve into smaller pieces. Depending on how much road salt you have, the amount of warm water you require would vary.

Final words

As you can see, dissolving hardened road salt is quite challenging. Therefore, make sure that you adhere to proper methods of storing road salt so that you will not run into any major issues.