When it Comes to Ice Melters, it’s Amazing How Many People Think That “Salt is Salt”
Some facility managers buy the cheapest so-called ice melting products they can find, then wonder why their sidewalks, entrance mats, carpets and floor finishes are breaking down so quickly. Many of the “salt is salt” crowd also see no need to place quality industrial mats at each entry door. Instead, they’ll use thin vinyl mats (if any mats are used at all). It is truly puzzling how many people shop around to “save” $1 on ice melt or matting without any thought that may be destroying 10s of $1,000s of carpet, flooring and concrete.
Understanding Ice Melt Products
The bulk of any ice melter product consists of sodium chloride. “Cheap” ice melters are primarily made of sodium chloride. These products work poorly and need to be applied at much heavier rates in an effort to melt ice and snow. Sodium chloride is abrasive and only melts to a temperature of +20F degrees.
Pure calcium chloride has excellent melting capabilities and absorbs moisture but, tracks into buildings. A pure calcium chloride product melts ice and snow to -50F degrees. Calcium chloride is harmful to pet’s paws and plantings that surround the sidewalks.
NOTE – Many “cheap” ice melter products make prominent claims on their packaging that they contain calcium chloride, when they barely have a trace amount in it.
Pure magnesium chloride is safer for pets and plantings and melts to -17F degrees. However, magnesium chloride is somewhat destructive to concrete as it tends to cling and eventually penetrate into pockets of air entrained concrete, breaking down these air pockets over time.
NOTE – Many “cheaper” ice melter products make prominent claims on their packaging that they contain magnesium chloride, when they barely have a trace amount in it.
Use Only Professional, Quality Blended Ice Melters
Check the label and MSDS to find the exact amount of each chloride in a blended ice melt product. You’ll need just enough calcium chloride to jump start the melting process while having a proper blend of magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and sodium chloride. Ask what the chloride usage is 100 square feet to gauge the amount of destructive sodium chloride you entries and walkways will be exposed to.
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