When the temperatures drop, most people tend to take the availability of rock salt for granted.
What happens, though, if there isn’t enough supply to meet the community’s demand?
For those who don’t remember, this exact problem arose at the end of last winter.
As the frigid weather dragged on longer than anticipated, suppliers began to run out of rock salt and ice melt.
Homeowners, business owners and cities alike were left scrambling to find materials that would keep their properties free and clear from ice, and safe for travel.
Weather experts are predicting that the winter of 2014-2015 is going to be equally harsh. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead for the chance of yet another rock salt shortage.
To ensure that you aren’t left out in the cold, here’s a quick guide to surviving a rock salt shortage this coming season.
The Importance of Being Prepared
The worst mistake that people can make is to fall into the trap of believing that it’s “too early” to stock up on rock salt. Waiting until the last minute to purchase rock salt, though, can result in problems like:
- Short Supply – If you’re in the habit of only purchasing ice melt when the need arises, there’s a good chance that the product won’t be available when you need it. As the winter drags on, the scarcity of rock salt will only continue to increase. This is especially true in situations where the freezing weather lasts longer than expected. Suppliers may not have stocked up on enough material to get through an excessively long winter, meaning that the amount of available rock salt may grow very limited or even non-existent.
- Little Variety – Many people have specific needs when it comes to purchasing rock salt. Some homeowners are concerned with using an ice melter that is safe for their pets paws, whereas others are looking for a product safe for children. If you put the purchase of rock salt on the back burner, you may not have much of a selection when you finally make it to the store. Buying the necessary product in advance will ensure that you get your first pick of your rock salt options.
- Inflated Prices – Of course, the largest problem with not preparing for a possible rock salt shortage is that you’ll end up spending a lot more on your ice melting products than you actually need to. When the demand for rock salt and other de-icers is higher than the actual available supply, prices will skyrocket.
Purchase Rock Salt in Advance
The best thing that you can do for yourself is to stock up on rock salt well in advance. If you wait until the winter months roll arrive you could end up dealing with slightly inflated prices.
Once the ice melting products are “in season”, many suppliers will take advantage of the heightened demand and increase their prices.
In order to spend the least amount of money, it’s in your best interest to make your purchases during the months leading up to winter. This way you’ll get the most bang for your buck and you’ll be well prepared when the first winter storm strikes.
Smart Rock Salt Application
One reason a rock salt shortage may occur has to do with the fact that too many people overuse it. According to experts, the excessive application of rock salt doesn’t improve the effectiveness of the material. Instead, those that over-apply will only end up wasting material.
This will cause individuals and companies to end up using more rock salt than is actually required to get the job done, and therefore, have the need to purchase more material.
In turn, rock salt suppliers are more likely to run out of various de-icers. For best results, it’s important to always follow manufacturer instructions for how much rock salt to use. This will ensure that you don’t run out in your hour of need, and it will also prevent you from overspending.
Stocking up on rock salt in advance will do little to help you if it ends up being damaged as a result of improper storage. The key to maintaining the integrity of your rock salt is to store it in a location where it will not be vulnerable to damage from moisture.
In addition to this, you should avoid storing rock salt in temperatures less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit, as it can clump and become less effective. One of the best ways to store the material is in an unused garbage can.
Don’t let a rock salt shortage compromise the safety of your property. By taking steps to prepare yourself for a harsh winter, you’ll have all the materials that you need to get by.
Photo courtesy of Highways Agency – Winter Operations 9