Controlling Michigan Ice this Winter without Damaging Concrete

Deicing Truck Grand Rapids MI Lansing MI

If you were to ask the average person what the most concerning thing about Michigan winter weather is, what would they say? Most likely the answer wouldn’t be the snow or biting wind or bulky clothing, but ice. Though the weather outside may be frightful, it’s not nearly as frightful as a trek down a sidewalk or parking lot that’s coated in a dangerous layer of Michigan ice. The U.S. averages over 400 deaths by icy roads per year – and that’s not counting all the injuries caused by pedestrian slips and falls. Of all the conditions brought on by harsh winters, ice is by far the most dangerous. So how can we get control of the Michigan ice without causing damage to your concrete?

Deicing and Ice Melt Options

Rock salt, or sodium chloride, has long been the first choice for deicing roads and driveways, and for good reasons: it works well, and it is the most cost effective solution. Sodium chloride comes in the form of pellets that can be used with spreading equipment. Rock salt lowers the freezing point of water and helps keep roadways clear. But salt has its downsides. Since it is effective in lowering the freezing point of water, and therefore melting the ice, it increases the number of freeze/thaw cycles on the treated surface. This is the reason that new or lower quality concrete can be damaged by all effective ice melting products, not just rock salt.  Concrete is porous, and as water enters the pores, freezes, and expands, the surface of the concrete can flake off, called spalling.  The more freeze thaw cycles a surface goes through, the more potential there is for this to happen.

Salt also causes steel to corrode, so it should not be used on parking decks. Since concrete is porous, the chloride seeps into the concrete and causes the structural rebar to rust, expand, and break the concrete apart. Contact us to discuss chloride free products for your parking decks.

Magnesium chloride is a product commonly found in icemelt blends that we try to stay away from. Magnesium has been found to change the chemical makeup of concrete and break down the “glue” that holds the aggregates together, causing it to deteriorate.

Much of this potential damage can be reduced with the effective use of various types of ice melting products. One example is by pretreating the concrete surfaces with our calcium chloride brine. When done properly, the brine fills the pores in the concrete, keeping the water out, which prevents the freeze/thaw cycles from happening within the concrete, and eliminating the cause of spalling. We also utilize calcium chloride in our custom granular icemelt blend which generates heat in the chemical process of melting ice, as compared to just lowering the freezing point of water as sodium chloride does.  This creates a drying effect to the concrete, which also helps to avoid spalling.  Using a professional snow and ice management company with experience in proper salt application will reduce risk tremendously. Learn more about liquid deicing and other ice control options here.

If you’re unsure what products are best to use, give your local snow removal company a call if you are in Grand Rapids or Lansing Michigan, call Sneller Snow Systems at 616-868-4900. A professional company will know what type of and how much product to use for every snow event, keeping both your safety and the effects on the surfaces of your site in mind.

For more information on how to fight the ice this winter, contact us at Sneller; we look forward to helping you make this season a safe one!

Different Options for Ice Management and Ice Melt in Michigan

Custom Ice Management, Deicing - Michigan Snow Map - Sneller Snow Systems

With the cold winters in Michigan, ice management is important for avoiding hazardous conditions that cause slip and fall injuries. Whether you have a small business or large corporation, the need for custom ice removal solutions is a must. The problem is that most companies don’t take a customized approach to ice control depending on the current and forecasted conditions. At Sneller Snow Systems, we understand all ice melts are not equal and they do not work effectively for every situation. Often times a custom blend is needed. The following list will give you some insight as to the industry standard options for ice control used by a reliable snow removal and ice management company.

Calcium Chloride Pellets:

Melts ice quickly, up to 3 times faster than other ice melt choices. Calcium Chloride pellets primarily uses heat to eliminate ice and snow. Pellets also bore into the snow and ice, helping to break loose tough ice at the surface.

Calcium Chloride Flakes:

A good choice for sloping areas and in instances with high winds, which may push off the smaller pellet blends. Flakes are also good for large areas as they cover more surface area. Mixing ice melts are easier with Flakes and can provide a flat surface cover along with a pellet for stronger snow fighting capability.

Calcium Chloride ComboTherm:

Combines the benefits of the pellet heat with color indication to quickly melt snow and ice on an economical budget. This brand has the highest component of calcium chloride, combined with other salts to decrease melting time. Therefore, this ice melt combines the benefits of other leading ice melt brands into one solution.

Magnesium Pellets and Pastilles:

Melts snow and ice down to -13 degrees and work well with spreaders. Also less damaging and safer for people, pets, and plants. Magnesium pellets and pastilles can be used on the surfaces before snow and ice arrives to increase snow and ice melting capacity at the surface level.

Hot Melts:

Combination of Sodium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride which provides longer acting capacity and removes snow and ice at lower temperatures than other leading melt solutions. Hot melts are specifically designed for sidewalk maintenance.

Safe N’ Sure:

Contains Sodium, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium Salts as well as Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) to allow snow and ice melting capabilities greater than other leading snow and ice removal solutions. Effective at temperatures as low as -25 degrees.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA):

This Chloride free ice melt can be a good choice in certain conditions, as this ice melt compares to the safety of tap water, making it the best solution for concrete and other surfaces. This is the product we recommend on parking decks and around aircraft, although we find it to be less effective and than the more common chloride blends.

Sodium Acetate (NaAc):

Safe from corrosion of surfaces while acting fast like Calcium Chloride. This is another option for a chloride free melting product when working around aircraft and parking decks.

For every situation there is a perfect custom solution to your snow and ice management. Looking for a professional to remove your snow and ice worries? Contact us at Sneller Snow Systems for more information on different options for ice management and how we take a custom approach to snow and ice management for our customers to reduce risk for their Michigan businesses.