Joe’s Guide To Safe + Affordable Ice Melt

There’s a chill in the air and winter is becoming tangible, which means it’s time to start replacing shovels, breaking out the snow blower and stocking up on ice melt.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t enjoy clearing all that wintry mess from your walkways and driveway. Not only does ice wreak havoc by posing safety hazards, but it compromises the structural integrity of many surfaces, especially asphalt.

Common deicing solutions, such as rock salt (also known as halite), are inexpensive and seem to work wonders. But because salt attracts water, it will make paved surfaces more saturated – which means trouble when the mercury drops, subjecting your driveway to pressure and causing it to crack once the water freezes at a deeper level within already existing holes or cracks.

cracked-asphalt-874x343Flowers and shrubs planted along driveways also are susceptible to damage from “salt spray” kicked up when your vehicle or snow blower makes contact on the asphalt. When salt enters soil, it pulls water away from the plant tissue, causing it to burn and eventually dry out. Salt also deteriorates soil by breaking the bonds which hold it together, consequently reducing pore space and making it more easily compacted.

An effective ice melt is needed to prevent these issues, but you shouldn’t settle for just any product.

Importance Of Ice Melt

Traditional rock salt typically performs down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, we here in the Northeast, as well as may other northern regions, often experience much lower temperatures.

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When the deicer is past its melting point, it will allow water to freeze and thaw repetitiously, resulting in water trickling into any fissures as we described earlier.

When the cooler weather settles in again, the same water freezes and expands, making the cracks wider and deeper, which is why I recommend choosing a product that is capable of performing in subzero conditions.

Best Types Of Ice Melt

Calcium Chloride Crystals + Pellets are the most popular ice melting materials on the market. The great thing about calcium chloride is that it works effectively down to as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that no matter how cold it gets outside this winter, your asphalt driveway will be protected against the threats associated with freeze-and-thaw cycles. The material is also fast-acting as it attracts water to quickly form a brine, while simultaneously releasing heat.

Snow Joe’s original MELT is a unique formulation of calcium chloride and comes in both pellet and crystal varieties, which are are super-enhanced with extenders for long-lasting traction control.

MELT is designed to quickly, safely and effectively tackle frozen snow, sleet and ice around your property during the winter season. Packaged in a resealable bag, jug or bucket for easy storage, MELT can be conveniently dispensed directly out of the container or into a hand-held or wheeled salt spreader. MELT exhibits the following properties:

  • MELTS DOWN TO -25°F: MELT calcium chloride blends effectively melt ice and snow on contact, even at temperatures as low as -25°F.
  • INSTANT HEAT: MELT calcium chloride blends generate heat instantly upon contact with snow and ice, thereby accelerating the melting process.
  • FAST ACTING: MELT calcium chloride blends are specially formulated with super-enhanced melting properties to deliver fast and reliable results.
  • LONG LASTING: Formulated to last up to 24 hours, MELT calcium chloride blends go to work immediately upon contact with snow and ice and continue working all day long to ensure your surfaces are safer and ice-free.
  • NON-TRACKING: When used as directed, MELT calcium chloride blends will not track from your shoes onto your home’s floors or carpets.
  • EASY TO DISPENSE: MELT calcium chloride blends are treated with an anti-caking agent to extend shelf-life and improve spreading.

Available in 25 or 50 pounds within a bag, jug or bucket.

Similarly, Calcium Magnesium Acetate is an extremely efficient and effective type of ice melt. As in the case of calcium chloride, you can expect the material to continue working down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Snow Joe’s Environmentally Friendly Blend Ice Melter  and Beet Extract Ice Melter blends use CMA technology to effectively dissipate ice without harming grass, wood, concrete, metals, or other vegetation, and is safe for pets, children and the environment.

Available in 25 or 50 pounds within a bag, jug or bucket.

Tips + Tricks

Buy In Advance! Too many of us delay purchasing ice melt until the first brutal storm hits, risking the chance of stock being sold out, increasing the amount of manual labor and prolonged safety hazards on walkways and driveways.

Buy based on need. Don’t guesstimate how much product you’ll need. Some factors to consider when calculating how much material you will need are the size of your driveway/walkways, terrain, amount of snow and ice expected, and length of winter in your region.

A 50 pound bag holds an average of 80 cups. A single cups melts close to 20 feet of ice, which means the bag will deice an area of 1600 square feet.  Calculate the square footage of your driveways and walkways, and then multiply it by how many storms you anticipate will hit your town.

Follow instructions. Ensure you’re making correct use of the product. By assuming the more ice melt you spread, the faster and more effectively it will clear is not the case. Refrain from depleting your stash and check Snow Joe’s specifications on each formula to maximize use.