It’s no secret that winters in NJ can be pretty extreme. Because icy conditions on roads, driveways, walkways and stairs are extremely dangerous, most of us like to keep bagged rock salt on hand. By lowering the freezing temperature of water, rock salt and other de-icers can prevent ice from forming, making it safer for people to walk or drive on these surfaces.
But will just any type of bagged rock salt do the trick? Although products may seem to yield similar results, choosing the wrong ice melt can end in disaster. To ensure the safety of both yourself and your property this winter, follow this guide to choosing bagged rock salt.
Traditional Bagged Rock Salt vs. Calcium Chloride Blends
In order to choose the best ice melt for your needs, it’s important to understand what your options actually are. While most homeowners will go straight for a bag of traditional bagged rock salt, this may not be the right choice for those living in NJ.
Rock salt is capable of lowering the freezing point of water down to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, as opposed to 32 degrees. This is great for regions where the temperatures do not drop lower than 25 degrees, but in areas like NJ, the rock salt could ultimately cause damage to your concrete surfaces. Because temperatures often fall well below 25 degrees in the Northeast, rock salt will cause your concrete to go through numerous freeze and thaw cycles, resulting in pits, spalling and weak spots.
In order to prevent concrete degradation in colder climates, bagged rock salt blends have been developed. These blends typically contain somewhere between 80 to 90 percent calcium chloride, with the remainder being traditional rock salt. Because calcium chloride lowers the freezing point of water to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, concrete will be subject to far fewer freeze and thaw cycles. These blends are also able to melt and penetrate ice much faster.
The Best Rock Salt for NJ Residents
Two of the most-effective ice melt blends available to NJ residents include:
- Peladow Calcium Chloride Pellets – In terms of speed, efficiency and effectiveness, Peladow Calcium Chloride Pellets are ideal. The blend contains more than 90 percent calcium chloride, which enables it to melt ice at a speed of between 2 – 5 times faster than other ice melters. This is because the material is able to absorb moisture and generate heat. In addition, the product is able to perform in a wide range of temperatures, including extremely cold conditions.
- Dowflake Xtra – Another Calcium Chloride blend, Dowflake Xtra contains 83 to 87 percent of the material, which significantly speeds up the process of melting ice. The advantage that Dowflake Xtra has over Peladow Calcium Chloride Pellets is that it is able to effectively reduce and manage dust on unpaved surfaces. This is accomplished by absorbing moisture from surrounding areas, thereby keeping the surface damp, which binds dust particles to the gravel. For homeowners with unpaved driveways, then, this may be the best option for you.
Environmentally Friendly Rock Salt?
Those looking for a “green” solution to de-icing should consider EnvironMelt. Formulated with soil supporting compounds, this Calcium Magnesium Acetate is able to protect against concrete and corrosion damage, is less harmful to vegetation and is safer for children and pets, all while continuing to produce the melting power that you desire.
By carefully considering your specific needs, you’ll find it easy to choose the right bagged rock salt for you.