Pelleted Ice Melts at a glance:
Very few industries are more secretive. These products are not required to define their contents and none will. This makes ice control impossible, because ice melt inputs vary greatly in their safety and performance at different temperatures. Without knowing what’s in the container, just how do we know how much to apply as conditions change? The single most important fact affecting ice melt performance is that no two scoops of product will be the same.
Every ice melt ingredient begins to fail as it gets colder. Cheaper materials (think rock salt / sodium chloride) fail faster. It’s important to realize that whenever you see sodium chloride (rock salt) listed on a package, that it is going to be 50% – 90% of the blend. Other inputs work better in cold weather but they are expensive, so marketers add small amounts to claim “works in cold weather”. The sad fact is, that in most products, only a fraction of contents work in cold weather.
Here are a few other quick facts about these pelleted products:
- Granular ice melts don’t work until they dissolve into a liquid
- In colder temps, most pellets don’t melt at all
- These pellets make a mess of flooring
- They don’t have to disclose ingredients, even when safety claims are made
- All granular ice melts are either painful to pet paws or toxic to their tummies
- These pellets are almost all chloride based and bad for the environment
- Chlorides are corrosive
- With the exception of Urea (which will not work below 25°F) all inputs are irritating to paws, toxic to pets, or both (see pet safety)
Liquid products at a glance:
These a products have not been used by homeowners, but professionals rely on liquids for for the following reasons:
- Each teaspoon of product is identical (think about that)
- Liquids do not get blown away by the wind or moved around by traffic (foot or auto)
- Because they stay where applied, liquids are an excellent pre-treatment for high traffic areas. When applied before snowfall the surface is protected against ice bonding. This allows a snow shovel to completely clear the area without the need for additional ice melting / removal.
- Liquids are cost effective:
- One gallon of liquid = 150-200 pounds of pellets when applied before snowfall as an anti-icer
- 20 minutes of pre-treatment will save hours of ice removal
- Slip and fall danger is eliminated whenever ice is prevented
- By replacing pelleted products with liquids, cleaning expense (labor, etc.) is eliminated
- Without having to first dissolve, they go to work immediately — reducing the amount of ice melting time