Avoid These Common Ice Melt Mistakes!

When summer turns to Fall and Fall to Winter, there is one thing that you can be guaranteed to see; Ice. Ice is the bane of us all when we leave our houses in the morning, or arrive back after the sun has set. Slipping and falling is not only painful, but it also presents a very real danger to people of all ages. From children to the elderly, there are accounts every year of physical harm and even death when slipping on ice. To avoid possible injury or worse, make sure to avoid these common ice melt mistakes!

Ice Melt Mistake #1 – Not Using it!

For some homeowners, buying and using ice melt can seem like a waste of time and money. Unfortunately, this could wind up being a costly and lengthy mistake!

“Ice melt plays a major role in preventing slip-and-fall accidents, because it rids surfaces of ice,” says Kevin Wice, president of XYNYTH Manufacturing Corp. in British Columbia, Canada. “Falls represent a huge liability issue in many states and provinces, as many regulatory bodies have legislation that requires a business to take some action to prevent people from slipping and falling. By doing nothing, business-owners open themselves up to legal action.”(source)

After shoveling, you may think that a path is clear, but more often than not there is a thin but dangerous layer of ice waiting for you to slip on it. Spreading some ice melt will take care of that problem.

Don’t wait until big storms either! Even a light dusting could leave behind a layer of ice that is potentially hazardous to your health if you were to slip.

Ice Melt Mistake #2 – Using Too Much!

As the old saying goes, “Less is more.” When it comes to using ice melt, you don’t need a huge amount of it to get the job done. In most cases, a little bit of ice melt can accomplish a much bigger job than you think!

In fact, an excessive application has been proven not to improve the performance of ice melt. Each product is different, but each one should tell you how much will cover a given area.

TIP: Use a handheld fertilizer or seed spreader to get an even layer of ice melt in a particular area. Using a shovel, scoop, or cup tends to lead to clumping and an uneven spread across the property and may result in overuse.

Ice Melt Mistake #3 – Applying it Wrong!

seed spreader used to spread ice meltAll ice melt comes with everyone’s favorite thing to ignore; Manufacturer’s directions. Depending on the type of ice melt you’ve bought, you may not be able to apply it to certain areas or might need to handle it differently. For example, if you’re using a product with calcium or magnesium chloride you will likely be instructed to wear gloves.

Instructions will also tell you things like if the ice melt will damage your roof if it’s likely that materials could end up in the water table, and when to apply.

Don’t use ice melt on a snow pile; it simply won’t work. Ice melt needs to be applied to the ground for it to be effective. This means placing it BEFORE the storm is coming. It can be difficult always to know when a storm will hit, especially if it’s not forecasted, but if you can apply the ice melt before the storm you’re doing yourself a favor.

Ice Melt Mistake #4 – Using the Wrong Kind!

The ice melt market is dominated by products that are one of (or a mix of) five materials.

  1. Calcium chloride
  2. Sodium chloride
  3. Potassium chloride
  4. Magnesium chloride
  5. Urea

Each ingredient works better in a different environment and temperature. For example, calcium chloride releases heat and will be effective in temperatures down to -25˚F, while sodium chloride absorbs heat and is only effective down to about 20˚F.

More expensive deicers usually work better, so consider carefully how much you spend keeping a supply on hand. Most of the time a less expensive product will work, but don’t be afraid to have some high-quality melt on hand to take care of any emergency deicing.

Ice Melt Mistake #5- Not Cleaning it Up!

Ice melt can cause some major headaches for owners of hardwood floor, treated wood floors, laminate, tiles, carpets… You get the point! Ice melt works wonders when it comes to removing ice, but for your interior floors isn’t the best of treatments. Sodium chloride (known as rock salt) can cause a white powdery residue streaks to appear on your floors that are known to dull finishes. Calcium and magnesium chloride, on the other hand, can leave an oily residue behind that damages urethane or wax finishes, create slipping hazards, and dirty carpets.

Wrap Up

The biggest mistake you might make this year is not buying your ice melt at Koopman Lumber. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will make sure you get the right product at the right price, guaranteed. Visit any one of our locations and get what you need before the ice hits!