pet safe ice melt

Pet Safe Ice Melt

Many ice melters on the market are labelled as eco-friendly.  When used as directed and applied in moderation, these “green” ice melters are less harmful for grass and vegetation in proximity to the area where they are applied.

This characteristic makes the majority of ice melters great for most commercial use. However, for personal  use around a home where pets may walk, a pet safe ice melter is a better choice.

Makings of a Pet Safe Ice Melt

There are two primary reasons why pet safe ice melt products are continuously being developed and produced.

Pets Have Sensitive Paws

Pets such as dogs and cats are generally more sensitive to the colder winter weather. They might have a sufficient coat of fur to keep their bodies warm, but the drying and stinging effects of ice and snow may have a negative effect on their delicate paws. Likewise the salt and certain chemicals included in various ice melters can also cause irritation to these sensitive areas.

Ice Melter Ingestion Dangers

There are reports of ice melter ingestion among pets filed with the ASPCA-APCC (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Animal Poison Control Center) every year. Some of the symptoms seen in animals after the ingestion of ice melter granules and residues are; drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, disorientation and increased water consumption.

While it is unlikely for pets to consume a large enough amount of ice melter that would lead to poisoning, that does not eliminate the small chance that pets can be adversely affected by the presence of such chemicals. According to the ASPCA-APCC, consumption of excessive amounts of ice melter by an animal may result in; low blood pressure, decreased muscle function, cardiac abnormalities, seizures, coma or death.

Pet Safe Ice Melt Benefits

Pet safe ice melt products can help reduce any harmful effects to animals and the environment. A pet safe ice melter will not irritate and dry out your pet’s paws and is less harmful if accidentally swallowed. Using pet safe ice melters will help ensure that your pets will be protected from the harmful effects of non-pet friendly ice melter blends.

Using pet safe ice melt products may help when used on your property, however you cannot always control where your pet roams outdoors. Please observe the following precautions for the safety of your pets:

• Keep pets indoors while ice melter is applied
• Avoid taking pets on long walks during the winter
• Restrain pets from haphazardly running and jumping on piles of ice or snow
• If going outdoors for long periods of time is unavoidable, have your pets wear boots
• Keep a rag or towel near the door and wipe ice melter residue from their paws

Pet Safe Ice Melt Informational Video

In this video, Dr. Brian Langlois of the Humane League of Lancaster County discusses winter hazards to pets and mentions safety tips – including how to deal with the use of pet safe ice melt products:

Pet Safe Ice Melt Supplier

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why does salt melt ice

Why Does Salt Melt Ice?

Salt is the primary component in most of today’s ice melter products. Rock Salt, Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, and Potassium Chloride all contain a considerable amount of salt in them.

If you live in a cold climate  with frequent snowfalls, then you have probably seen people spreading pure salt on sidewalks to melt the snow. This practice has become quite common and you might wonder how the salt is able to melt ice and snow.

Salt Lowers the Freezing Point

Why does salt melt ice?
In a nutshell, salt is a great ice melter because it causes “freezing point depression.” This means that salt helps in lowering the freezing point and, consequently, the melting point of water (the main component of snow and ice). In its pure state, water freezes at 0°C or 32°F. By using salt, that freezing point can be lowered which forces the ice to melt and prevents the water from freezing or re-freezing.

It must be noted, however, that salt alone can’t melt ice. It must first be combined with water to start the melting process. Fortunately, ice and snow are generally covered with a thin film of water. As salt touches this water, it starts to dissolve – subsequently lowering the freezing point and melting the ice surrounding it.  It is because of this process  that most, if not all, ice melters today are made with some quantity of salt.

Perhaps you are also curious why ice melters also make use of different substances like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These ingredients help in further decreasing freezing points. They also help in reducing tracking and the corrosive characteristics that salt naturally possesses. To give you an idea of how salt solutions work, here is a very short list:

  • With 10% salt solution, water freezes at 20°F (-6°C)
  • With 20% salt solution, water freezes at 2°F (-16°C)

The reason why salt melts ice is quite simple. This melting power is the main reason salt will continue to be used for producing the majority of ice melters on the market today.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt

Shoveling snow that has built up around homes and on roads and driveways can be a strenuous task. This is one of the main reasons why ice melters have become the norm in parts of the country that experience colder winter weather. Although rock salt is still considered the most popular type of ice melter, magnesium chloride ice melt is known as a smarter and safer choice.

Advantages of Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt

Typically available in flake form, magnesium chloride ice melt might look like any other deicer but it has attributes that make it preferable to other ice melters. The following are some of the important advantages:

Slow Attack Rate

When over-applied and not used as directed, it is possible that standard ice melters can corrode pavement and other surfaces over time. That is why it’s crucial to choose one that is the least damaging to both properties and vegetation. Among popular choices today, magnesium chloride ice melt is known to be less corrosive. It is less harmful to concrete, walkways and vegetation when used as directed. It attacks pavements very slowly and therefore leaves no visible damage after use. Also, as a natural mineral, magnesium chloride ice melt has been recognized as an environmentally friendly method of melting ice and snow.

Quick Melt and Minimal Residue

Similar to calcium chloride, magnesium chloride melts ice at a quick pace. This is because it is hygroscopic which simply means it that it absorbs moisture. This helps the ice melter to dissolve into a brine faster which instigates the melting of the ice surrounding it. Unlike other ice melters, magnesium chloride ice melt leaves minimal to no residue which makes clean up easy and virtually non-existent.

Cold Temperature

Magnesium Chloride ice melt can melt up to an average of -5°F, which is much lower than the temperature than popular rock salt and urea products. This low temperature advantage makes magnesium chloride a highly suitable melter for residential and commercial use.

Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt Cautions

As great as Magnesium Chloride ice melt is, it is still important to know its limitations before making a purchase. Some notable items as follows:

  • It is only 48% active. Magnesium chloride is made up of more water and may become diluted and ineffective after some time. While it dissolves as quickly as calcium chloride, it usually loses its melting capabilities after a short time, requiring you to apply more product in cases when there are excessive amounts of ice and snow to melt.
  • Higher cost. Compared to other ice melters (e.g., rock salt), magnesium chloride is more expensive. With its shorter active state, melting excessive amounts of ice and snow may prove to be difficult and more expensive.
  • It is not as effective in extremely cold temperatures. As mentioned above, magnesium chloride only works down to -5°F. If you are planning to use this type of ice melter during colder temperatures, you will experience reduced results.

On the whole, Magnesium Chloride ice melt is a great option for deicing small amounts of ice and snow on your residential or commercial property. However for extreme temperatures and wider surface areas, other ice melt formulas are recommended.

Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt Supplier

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Calcium Chloride Ice Melt

When it comes to finding the most powerful ingredient for melting ice, Calcium Chloride ice melt is generally the top choice. Calcium Chloride is a chemical used for numerous purposes, including refrigeration, dust control, and melting ice.

Calcium Chloride is available in liquid formulations, but as an ice melter it is usually provided in pellet or flake form. If you are thinking of using Calcium Chloride on your residential or commercial property but are unsure of its benefits compared to other ice melters, the following information will help you make an informed decision.

Calcium Chloride Ice Melt: Information

Calcium Chloride is widely used by commercial businesses for melting ice and is the preferred choice over common rock salt. It has several key advantages, the most important being the following:

Quick Melt

Calcium Chloride has the most powerful and quickest melting action on the market today.  For ice to melt, deicing chemicals must first reach the pavement and dissolve into brine. Calcium Chloride absorbs moisture from the atmosphere as opposed to relying on the little water that snow has to offer. As it returns to liquid state and mixes with water, Calcium Chloride also becomes exothermic—it releases thermal energy that further helps in melting the ice surrounding it, which in turn allows it to release more thermal energy.

Cold Temperatures

Calcium Chloride currently holds the record for melting ice at the coldest temperatures. While potassium chloride can melt ice down to approximately -13°F (-25°C) and rock salt down to -10°F (-23.3°C), Calcium Chloride can melt down to -25°F(-31.7°C). This makes Calcium Chloride ice melt the most effective ice melter during harsh winter conditions and heavy snowstorms.

Calcium Chloride Ice Melt – Cost

A lot of people might be deterred by the higher cost of Calcium Chloride ice melt as it is relatively more expensive compared to rock salt, urea and other types of ice melters. However, when evaluating the cost it is important to not only look at the price tag but also the results. Since Calcium Chloride is able to melt ice at a rapid speed and at very low temperatures, it can be argued that it is the most cost-effective ice melter solution.

Using Calcium Chloride Ice Melt

Calcium Chloride is not a perfect ice melt solution. While it is indeed effective and can be used in a wide array of temperatures and winter conditions, you still have to be cautious and use the product as directed to get maximum results. Here are some important factors to consider when using Calcium Chloride ice melt:

  • • Make sure you are wearing thick protective clothing including gloves and a mask.
  • • Use Calcium Chloride in moderation. Over-application may harm concrete, vegetation and other surface areas.
  • • Use mats in entranceways to to prevent tracking.
  • • Wash hands thoroughly after applying this chemical. This product may cause skin irritation for some individuals. If skin irritation occurs, rinse with water, remove and wash contaminated clothing, and consult a physician. This product may cause eye irritation. If eye irritation occurs, flush with water for 15 minutes and call physician. Harmful if swallowed. If ingested, give water, induce vomiting and call physician immediately.

Calcium Chloride Informational Video

In this video, Brian Erickson, a field biologist and expert science tutor, further discusses the nature and foundation of Calcium Chloride as well as its various uses:

Calcium Chloride Ice Melt Supplier

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