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ice on ground and icicles on the front of a car

To Liquid Deice or Not: When to Use Liquid Deicer and When to Use Rock Salt

Liquid deicer is one of the most important parts of snow and ice services. Deicer is applied to the parking lot before and after plowing, making it a vital part of the process. The most common question we get asked is: what type of deicer is best? To answer that question, we have to dive a little deeper into liquid deicer.

Liquid deicer is an efficient but often times costly system. More goes into it than products and application. The set up often is the bulk of that cost. Not all snow and ice providers will be able to accommodate these deicing requests. Meyer, Western, and Boss all make great deicing products that apply the melting agent.

The upfront cost often sways people when making a choice. Rock salt is generally cheaper making it the popular choice, but when you look at the big picture you save money in the end. The speed of spreading liquid deicer along with the accuracy and less waste are factors that contribute to the long-term savings. The actual product isn’t the only place people can save money. Less labor is needed for the application, clean up afterwards, and cuts down on time when removing snow. It is estimated that “5 times the amount of energy is needed to break the ice-pavement bond when anti-icing is not used”.

Maintenance is another huge deciding factor. With rock salt, the cleanup afterward is often harder. The salt tends to get moved around and ends up collecting in some spaces while spread out other places, meaning more work. Rock salt also causes more damage. The salt chews up pavement and sidewalks while the liquid leaves hard surfaces intact and is less abrasive.

When deicing or anti-icing, it is critical that the application is right for each storm. Your ice and snow plowing contractor you choose must be able to deliver both granular and liquid applications. Liquid deicer is the preferred method for pre-storm treatments (pending correct temperatures). In snowstorms that accumulate approx.. 1-3 inches of snow, using liquid deicer is an excellent way to keep properties safe while also reducing damage to the hard surfaces. For larger “snowmageddon” events, rock salt will melt the ice much faster. In these situations, it is important to find a company that can provide both services. With weather being so unpredictable, you need a company that can adjust quickly. 

parking lot with snow and equipment plowing it

Understanding how deicing works and doesn’t work is necessary for keeping the whole process successful. For example, not understanding ground temperatures and its effect on the deicing process can jeopardize the effectiveness of the melting agents. This simple lack of knowledge can be the difference between a safe and satisfied customer and an injured one taking you to court. At Transblue, we have over 20 years of experience in snow and ice management. Understanding and executing the process is in our blood.

Do your research. Look for a snow plowing company that has a good reputation in the ice and snow industry. Make sure they understand exactly how all anti-icing and deicing products work. They should know when and how much product should be applied to each clients’ parking lot. Ask for MSDS sheets, verify their knowledge, and look at their reputation in the industry. The company you choose should strive to keep your employees, clients, and stakeholders safe. The complexities of applying deicer are why finding the right ice and snow removal company is paramount. Having confidence that they can get the job done allows you to focus on what is important, your business.

Find a location near you to make sure your parking lots are handled correctly. 

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