Ice Melt 101: What you need to know about ice melt
When used correctly, ice melt is a powerful tool that can help keep ice from forming and reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Keep these key points in mind when using ice melt:
- Ice-melt compounds are only effective down to a specific temperature
- The temperature of the air, pavement, and the type of ice-melt compound used will affect the rate at which snow and ice melts
Knowing what to use
It’s important that your organization assess your needs for application of ice-melt compounds.
- Where around your facility to use ice melt
- Whether the area has access to traffic and sunlight, which affects the overall effectiveness of ice-melt compounds
- All the methods for treating areas
What’s the science behind ice melt?
Ice-melting compounds lower the freezing point of water. These products attract moisture to themselves to form a liquid brine solution, which can generate heat and melt the ice. The amount of ice that is melted by a given quantity of ice-melt compound will decrease as the temperature of the mixture is lowered. As the ice melts, the compound solution’s concentration is reduced and the freezing point of the water starts to increase until such time that more ice-melt compound is spread on the ice and water.
The lowest melting point of the water and ice-melt compound solution is termed the “eutectic” temperature. At this limiting eutectic temperature, solutions of the ice-melt compound aren’t effective and the melting action on the ice will cease.
The quantity of ice-melt compound needed to lower the freezing point of ice to the eutectic temperature is called the “eutectic concentration.” At this lowest temperature, the rate at which ice melts is very slow. When this melting action slows, adding more compound has no impact on lowering the eutectic temperature, thus, the ice melts no faster.
Tips for using ice melt
- Do not use on concrete less than two years old. Freeze-thaw damage may occur.
- Know what product to use by understanding its composition and lowest surface temperature at which it remains effective. Use an infrared heat gun to determine the surface temperature.
- Apply in advance of a winter storm. Early attention before a storm will help prevent the formation of ice. When snow starts falling, the ice melt will create a brine solution, helping to prevent ice from bonding to the surface.
- Disperse ice melt properly. Contrary to popular opinion, using large amounts of ice melt does not affect the speed which ice and snow melts. Using too much product can damage surfaces and harm the environment.
- Use a mechanical spreader for accurate coverage. The proper coverage rate is about one cup per square yard. This coverage will fan out and undercut the ice, so that you can shovel the walkway clear.
- Continue to disperse ice melt during a storm. This helps to prevent snow from becoming hard-packed on surfaces.
Ice melt plays an essential role in many winter safety programs. Select the right ice melt and apply correctly to reduce the chance for slips and falls this winter.
Contact Kissner Milling Company Ltd. today for all of your Ice Melter needs.
148 Manitou Drive, Suite 301, Kitchener, ON N2C 1L3
Phone: 1-800-434-8248 | Fax: 1-877-434-8250