De-Icing Your Driveway
Every year millions of people break their legs from slipping on ice or snow. You don't want this to happen to anyone in your family, so keep that driveway and garden path free from ice. Few people like shoveling wet snow, especially if the winter is long. How can you get rid of the snow and ice in an easy way? What machines and products are available to help you? Are there any really good alternatives?Let's have a look.
First of all- remove that snow!
The most important step in keeping your driveway free from ice is to make sure there is no snow to trample down into ice. It doesn't take long for the snow to get compact and start turning into ice. Quickly removing any snow that falls will make it easier to maintain a free path. Putting cables in the driveway, to heat it, will make the snow melt away quickly- but this could be quite a big work.
Another option (if you don't like shoveling) is to use a snow-blower. There are snow-blowers that run on electricity, with a long cable (you can buy an extension cord), and there are those that run on gas. In general, the electrical snow-blowers are not as strong, but quite enough for a normal climate.
A little tip: Whether shoveling or blowing the snow away, put it far away from your driveway or path. As winter procedes, more snow will be added to that pile, and it is easier if you start out well.
Salt is great to use as a complement to removing the snow. Some salt can be used to prime the surface of the drive-way, already before the snow falls. Others are best used once the ice has formed. It is always a good idea to paint all metal surfaces before winter starts, minimizing the corrosion caused by the salt.
- Rock Salt / Sodium Chloride
Very common salt for de-icing the ground, often used on roads. Most damaging to environment and concrete/metal surfaces. In addition to melting the ice, it breaks it up. This makes it easier to hack away the ice while it is melting. Works best above 16 F.
- Calcium Chloride
Pellets which work well all the way down to temperatures of -25F.
- Potassium Chloride
Not so common, more environmental friendly. Works best in temperature above 15 F.
- Magnesium Chloride
Least corrosive and toxic of all the salts. Does not leave white residue on floors if some come inside. Less toxic to plants and grass. Works at temperatures as low as -13 F.