Options for Deicing Home Walkways and Driveways
Posted Feb 14th 2014 | By:
Since snow is once again in the forefront of our minds, also present there should be avoiding the dangers associated with snow and ice. The very nature of winter precipitation is that it is slippery, which can cause plenty of falls if we are not careful. On the sidewalks and steps leading up and into your home, there are a few precautions you can take to prevent injuries and resulting medical bills until spring finally arrives.
The most readily available product to combat winter snow is deicers. These products often consist of mineral salts which have a lower freezing point than water. The idea behind using deicers is that they will penetrate snow and ice and prevent freezing due to having a lower freezing point than water. While deicers will not eradicate thick layers of snow, they are useful in taking care of small amounts. Since they can attack a frozen bond between paved areas and ice/snow, they can make shoveling what snow you do have a task that can be done much more quickly and easily.
Some commonly used deicers are:
Rock Salt (also known as Sodium Chloride) is inexpensive to purchase but can cause damage to concrete and may make pets ill. It also only works in temperatures above 15 Fahrenheit.
Potassium Chloride has a similar method of working to Rock Salt but is also something that should be used in warmer temperatures due to being ineffective in extreme cold.
Calcium Chloride is a product that works by drawing in water and generating heat. As a result, it can actually cause ice to melt in addition to preventing the formation of new ice. It works at temperatures as low as -20 Fahrenheit and is less toxic overall.
Magnesium Chloride works comparably to Calcium Chloride but works at temperatures not quite as low so is best in areas that do not experience negative temperatures. You can rely on it down to 5 Fahrenheit.
Products containing Urea, which is also referred to as carbamide, is synthesized from natural gas but you may wish to stay away from it due to its corrosive qualities. It has chemical components that are damaging to concrete so using it comes with the risk of having repairs to make later.
Safe Paw is a pet-friendly alternative that is made from acetic acid (which is contained in vinegar) and limestone. It is also salt-free.
When all else fails and you do not have these products on hand but still need to get out of the house, both sand and kitty litter offer traction. Neither of these products will melt snow but they will assist you in the moving of stuck vehicles as well as safely crossing the ground on foot. That could be all it takes to get you moving about outside of the house to purchase one of the products above for your deicing needs.
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