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Deicing and Anti-Icing Guide for Beginners

by Tim

We must take care of our walkways and driveways. For most of the year, this means sweeping and washing. However, once the cold weather arrives, it becomes more of a chore because there is more to do.

Snow and ice build up on these surfaces, becoming a slip-and-fall hazard, so you must stay on top of it and keep your paths clear. 

Do you know what to do when winter weather comes? It can be challenging, and you don’t want to waste money on products that don’t work. To help you get the best results, here are some effective pre-icing and anti-icing tips.

Difference Between Deicing and Anti-icing

While they sound similar and work to achieve the same results, deicing is different from anti-icing.

Deicing is a reactive operation when snow and ice are on a surface. You tackle this by applying a substance that either melts the stubborn layers or supplies some grip to wear them down gradually.

Anti-icing involves being proactive, using different products as a protective layer between snow, ice, and the ground. As the products melt away the snow, they allow you to clear it as it accumulates before turning to ice.

Know Your Products

There are many methods for dealing with frozen, slippery surfaces, so knowing your options and how they perform is key to management and removal.

A liquid de-icer is one of the standard formats, but there are other types to choose from. Here are some common agents used:

  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Calcium Chloride  
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Brines
  • Agricultural products like beet and corn liquids

There are also effective DIY methods, using common household ingredients like coffee grounds, kitty litter, and sand. 

Applying a Deicer

A deicer is applied after a winter weather event to prevent slipping and falling from snow and ice. First, consider the correct type of deicer to use. Products with calcium and magnesium chloride are less harmful to vegetation than rock salt and work well at lower temperatures. More eco-friendly options are even better for the environment. 

To apply a deicer, remove as much snow as possible with a shovel. This exposes the ice, and you want direct contact with it. Ensure you have uniform coverage and allow it to work as it breaks the bond between the solid surface and the ice. 

Monitor the affected areas and reapply as needed, not using more than you must. Once the ice has melted away, clean up any leftover residue with a broom and dustpan.

Applying an Anti-icer

Anti-icing applies to the product before snow and ice arrive, so it is a robust preventative measure. 

Rinse your concrete walkways and driveway before applying anti-ice to avoid salt residue. If needed, consider resealing your concrete ahead of time for more protection. 

Spread a thin, even layer over the areas you want to protect. Anti-icing prevents ice from bonding with concrete and reduces deicing efforts afterwards.

Liquid Deicer

For an even better and more effective method, use a liquid deicer, which can be used for both deicing and anti-icing. It is sprayed on the ground and is more precise in application, so you don’t waste the product by letting it go where you don’t want it to.

Liquid deicers are environmentally friendly, making them an ideal choice for those who cherish the planet. This keeps harmful chemicals off your plants and shrubs and doesn’t pollute the water table. 

Another pro tip is to use a liquid deicer to pre-wet your ice so that any other products won’t scatter or bounce when applied.

Traction Layer

Our ice removal efforts are often done at the last minute when we need to leave the driveway. This urgency prevents us from enjoying the benefits most products offer because they take some time to work their magic.

To help you out and aid in better traction, put down a layer of kitty litter, coffee grounds or sand on top of the ice. These materials will not melt ice but cause friction and allow better traction for walking on the ice or maneuvering in your driveway. 

These are your pro tips for deicing and anti-icing. Knowing what to do and how to melt ice empowers you during slippery winter months. With this knowledge, you can confidently take on snow and ice and keep everyone safe when traversing your hard surface areas.

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