Purchasing and applying the right de-icer and ice melter is a crucial aspect of your annual winter property maintenance strategy. There are a number of different types of chemical de-icing agents currently available on the market. They each have their own unique list of pros and cons and characteristics that make them suitable for various weather conditions, temperatures, and surfaces. To protect your commercial property and the people who use it from winter damages, it’s important to select the right de-icing agent for the job.
Keep in mind that not all de-icing agents are made equal. Some de-icers are bad for the environment and can be harmful to animals if ingested. Certain de-icers also boast superior performance and melting points in extreme weather conditions and temperatures. Climate change in your region during the winter months is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an effective and safe de-icer for your commercial property.
How Does De-Icer Work?
Although there are many different types of de-icers that vary in performance, they all essentially accomplish the same goal: to melt snow and ice instantly upon contact. When applied prior to snowfalls or storms, de-icers effectively create a protective barrier to prevent snow and ice from binding to asphalt pavement and other surfaces. As soon as the snow touches down, the de-icer springs into action by lowering the freezing point of the snow and rendering it into a briny liquid.
Even when de-icer is applied onto well-established patches of ice, it immediately begins to lower the freezing point of the ice. Within minutes, the ice is reduced to a liquidy slush. Store-bought chemical de-icers are typically water-soluble, which is why they result in a briny solution when they come into contact with snow and ice. Theoretically, any substance such as sand, fertilizer, or even kitty litter can also act as an effective barrier to prevent snow and ice from bonding with a surface on your property. However, de-icers have certain chemical properties that work to actively melt snow and ice faster than they naturally would in cold temperatures.
Different Types of De-Icing Agents for Commercial Properties
When it comes to de-icing for commercial properties in Ontario, there are a number of different options that contain various chemical compounds. Each one is suitable for specific conditions and surfaces. The right de-icer depends on the type of surface your property consists of and the winter climate in your area. Here are the top contenders used by snow removal companies in Mississauga, Brampton, and other parts of the GTA.
Rock salt happens to be one of the most common and inexpensive de-icing agents on the market. It forms a strong and effective barrier to prevent snow from sticking to the ground and forming ice in freezing temperatures. However, rock salt can also be incredibly damaging to various surfaces such as asphalt pavement, wood, and metal. When the rough and sharp edges scrape across any surface, rock salt can create indentations and even break off pieces of asphalt. The added pressure from vehicular and foot traffic slowly grinding the sharp bits of rock salt further into the ground can lead to more serious and expensive property damages over time.
Plus, rock salt doesn’t break down or disintegrate in low temperatures and it’s hazardous to any animals that ingest it.
There are a variety of different ice melts to choose from and some manufacturers even use a blend of chemicals to ensure their products achieve the desired effect. Typically, ice melts consist of magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, and calcium chloride pellets. Commercial-grade ice melts are fast acting and remain on any surface for a very long time. Many Canadian ice melts have the capacity to effectively melt ice at up to -26 degrees C.
Chemical ice melts are also less harmful to the environment and less damaging to your property than rock salt. The only real downfall of ice melt is that it’s one of the more expensive de-icing agents on the market, but the results are well worth it, and the results are visible. Ice melt turns a bright blue colour when it comes into contact with snow or ice, so you can literally see it in action.
Liquid de-icer is a pre-treatment product that effectively prevents snow from sticking to the ground from the get-go. The point is to prevent ice from forming when outdoor temperatures reach the below freezing point. As effective as it is on its own, liquid de-icer isn’t always enough to melt large amounts of snow. Applying a solid de-icer after a snowfall will help to quickly remove all traces of snow from your property. Liquid de-icer is easier on the environment than rock salt and even chemical de-icing agents and it won’t damage the surface of your property.
How to Choose the Right De-Icer for Your Commercial Property
Several different factors determine the appropriate and most effective type of de-icer for your commercial property. When it comes to winter property maintenance, safety, practicality, and environmental sustainability should be your top priorities. Here are a few tips for choosing the best de-icer or ice melt for your property.
- Evaluate the performance of each de-icer. High-performance de-icers should be effective in extremely low temperatures without damaging or disintegrating the surfaces to which they’re applied.
- How quickly can they melt ice? Chemical ice melts and liquid de-icers are the most effective at melting or liquefying snow and ice immediately upon contact.
- Consider safety conditions. De-icers like rock salt can be harmful when ingested by local wildlife. Plus, they can also quickly degrade various surfaces on your property, making them unsafe to use.
- Environmental friendliness. Certain de-icers are extremely harmful to the environment and can even cause serious health risks if they get into local waterways and vegetation.
Hire a Professional Salting and De-Icing Contractor in Brampton
If you need a little advice on which de-icing agent will work best for your property, then the winter property maintenance experts and snow removal contractors at FOREVER GREEN LAWN & LANDSCAPE INC. are here to help. With well over 20 years of experience in the snow and ice removal industry in Toronto and the GTA, our crew is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to recommending and applying high-performance de-icing agents for various surfaces and environmental conditions. Contact us today to learn more.