As any New Jersey homeowner knows, wintertime means ice – and a lot of it. In order to prevent safety issues associated with driving or slip-and-fall accidents, most people make use of salt, or some other form of ice melt on their driveways, walkways or front steps.
Of all of the products on the market today, though, few are receiving as much notice as calcium chloride ice melt. What is it that makes this de-icer so popular, and is it right for your home? This simple guide will tell you everything that you need to know about buying and using calcium chloride for melting ice.
Should I Buy Calcium Chloride Ice Melt?
Although most people are familiar with traditional rock salt, there’s been some growing buzz about the use of calcium chloride as an ice melt. This is largely due to the fact that calcium chloride works faster than rock salt, melts ice at colder temperatures and often poses fewer problems in terms of damage to concrete and other surfaces.
In order for a de-icer to work, it must first dissolve into a brine. Differing from rock salt, calcium chloride is able to both absorb moisture from its surroundings, and release heat in the process. This enables it to form a strong brine quicker.
Another advantage is that while rock salt is able to lower the freezing temperature of water down to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, calcium chloride ice melt lowers the freezing point to -25 degrees. This makes a huge difference – especially here in New Jersey, where winter temperatures can be extreme.
The freezing point also makes an impact in terms of concrete degradation. Most ice melts don’t actually harm paved surfaces. Instead, numerous freeze/thaw cycles take their toll. The lower the freezing point of a surface is, then, the less likely it is to go through these cycles.
How Much Ice Melt Do I Need?
In order to protect the vegetation surrounding your home, de-icers should be used sparingly; a little bit will go a long way. Generally speaking, you should only need between two and four ounces of calcium chloride per every square yard of your front driveway, walkway and other surfaces. This will be enough to undercut bonded ice and snow.
More Information About Calcium Chloride Ice Melt
When selecting an ice melt product, most homeowners have a few concerns. First, these products tend to dry as a white, powdery residue that can be tracked indoors and make a mess. Even though calcium chloride leaves only a clear brine solution, you may wish to avoid this. In order to do so, it’s best to minimize the amount of ice melt that you actually use, and be sure to use walk-off mats in the higher traffic entryways of your house.
Homeowners with pets may also have some reservations about the ice melt that they purchase. It has been found that ice melters have the potential to make pets very sick (and can even be fatal) when ingested, and may cause dry paws and skin irritation upon physical contact.
As a general precaution, pet owners should be advised to avoid utilizing heavy amounts of ice melt in areas that are frequented by pets, and pets should not be left unsupervised in these areas. There are pet-friendly ice melts available for those homeowners who have outdoor pets.
For more information about calcium chloride ice melt, be sure to get in touch with a trusted professional.