What is Deicing & How Do Deicers Work in Grand Rapids MI

Deicing & Deicer Product on Asphalt

Deicing is an important component of any Lansing and Grand Rapids snow removal and ice management plan. Snow can be removed, but the result can still be a slick walkway or parking lot due to post-plowing conditions, freezing rain or re-freezing of moisture left on cleared surfaces. It’s vital to have an experienced approach to deicing to make sure your property is safe for all who visit your property. So let’s look at what deicing is and how deicers work.

What is Deicing?

Deicing refers to the use of either liquid or solid ice melt products. Liquid deicers are often used to prevent or greatly slow the formation of a bond between snow or ice and the pavement. Depending on the type of precipitation, these products are most effective when applied before the actual weather event, with periodic applications during storms to boost its effectiveness. It’s also important to note that not just one formula is perfect for every ice condition. A professional snow removal company knows that custom mixtures are best to accurately address the temperature and moisture of a given storm.

How Do Deicers Work?

Solid deicers work by lowering the freezing point of water, creating a brine with the chloride that bores through snow and ice and breaks the bond between ice and the pavement. The exact choice of ice melt product to use is dependent upon the temperature, current conditions and moisture or precipitation.

Refreezing occurs when the melted ice or snow dilutes the deicing chemical to the point where it allows the water to freeze again. Rock salt will melt ice to around 15 degrees, but when the temperature goes down again it refreezes. The increased freeze/thaw cycle is harder on surfaces like concrete. Even though a deicer with a lower re-freezing point may be a more expensive product, it will probably require less product to melt and control ice and fewer applications, resulting in fewer man hours and lower costs.

Refreezing is also dependent on factors such as surface temperature, chemical concentration and air temperature, and these variables should be closely monitored to determine the necessity and timing of reapplying deicing products.

Professional Snow Removal in Grand Rapids & Lansing

Sneller Snow Systems provides professional snow removal services to the Grand Rapids and Lansing MI areas. We watch weather systems closely including surface temperatures, and freeze/thaw cycles in the Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan areas. This ensures that we treat properties with the best ice management mixture at the exact times of the day when they are most effective. If you own a business located in the Grand Rapids or Lansing areas, contact us to discuss your deicing and snow removal needs.

How Deicing & Ice Melt Products Work

Snow Ice Melt

Deicing and ice management are important components of your snow removal and winter management plan, especially if you have a business located in Lansing or Grand Rapids MI where we’re located. Snow can be removed, but the result can still be a slick walkway or parking lot due to post-plowing conditions, freezing rain or re-freezing of moisture left on cleared surfaces.

Deicing refers to the use of either liquid or solid products, but in reality liquid deicers actually prevent or greatly slow the formation of a bond between snow or ice and the pavement. These products are most effective when applied before the actual weather event, with periodic applications during storms to boost its effectiveness.

Solid deicers work by lowering the freezing point of water, creating a brine with the product that bores through snow and ice and breaks the bond between ice and the pavement. Have questions about this? Contact us!

Refreezing occurs when the melted ice or snow dilutes the deicing product to the point where it allows the water to freeze again. Rock salt will melt ice to around 15 degrees, but when the temperature goes down again the remaining moisture can refreeze. The increased freeze/thaw cycle is harder on surfaces like concrete. Even though a deicer with a lower refreezing point may be a more expensive product, it will probably require less product to melt and control ice and fewer applications, resulting in fewer man hours and lower costs.

Refreezing is also dependent on factors such as surface temperature, product concentration and air temperature, and these variables should be closely monitored to determine the necessity and timing of reapplying deicing products. Sneller Snow Systems provides that monitoring, closely watching weather system, surface temperatures, and freeze/thaw cycles in the Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan areas. Contact us to discuss your ice management and snow removal needs if you have a commercial property in our region.

The Anatomy of Michigan’s Winter Dangers

Christmas Dinner

As the dark shadows of another Michigan Winter begin to loom over us and we head toward the Christmas Season, most of us look forward to our favorite winter enjoyments: skiing, building mammoth snow castles, Christmas shopping, or simply curling up by the fire with a good book.

We here at Sneller Snow Systems, however, would like to remind you that winter is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Not to be a downer, but we’ve built our business around helping businesses reduce risk and feel it incumbent upon ourselves to remind you of some of Michigan’s greatest holiday dangers so that you can begin preparing early.

Decorations

Statistics tell us that incidents of home fires and electrical incidents greatly increase during the winter Christmas season. Decorations not only increase your chances of a house fire, but they also increase your risk of injury due to slips, falls, and other accidents.

Reports of falls from ladders while stringing lights and hanging decorations, incidents of lacerations from broken glass ornaments and other holiday-related injuries are increasing. During November and December 2010, CPSC estimates that more than 13,000 people were treated in emergency departments nationwide due to injuries involving holiday decorations (CPSC).

While we’re not recommending that you completely tamp down your decorative instincts, we do suggest that you always complete outdoor decorations while taking proper safety precautions and using the buddy system.

Sidewalk Ice

Every year, thousands of people slip and fall on icy sidewalks during the holiday season. Apart from the pain of embarrassment, many who slip also deal with the physical pain of bruises, fractures, or head injuries. While it’s true that Michigan’s slip and fall laws leave some flexibility for liability, it’s also true that business owners have a responsibility to keep their sidewalks clear of accumulations of ice and snow, thus rendering them more safe for pedestrians. Using a professional snow and ice management company will help reduce risk of injuries and lawsuits.

Family Dinners

Family dinners can be more than just a danger to your blood pressure at times. Each year in the United States, 100,000 people are treated in Emergency Rooms for scalding incidents–many of those a result of holiday cooking frenzies. Bacteria from improperly-thawed turkeys can lead to intestinal distress. Apart from all of the food-related dangers, carrying and lifting luggage while helping out-of-town relatives settle in before the big dinner can lead to further complications.

Since the holidays are widely celebrated in West Michigan, we can only imagine how high our state statistics will rise in these particular categories this coming holiday season.

While we know that this isn’t the typical sort of post you’d expect from us, we couldn’t avoid telling you what the data says. Although we focus on snow removal and ice management, those aren’t the only things we care about. We really do have our clients’ best interests at heart–and it’s in your best interests to be extra careful as you make your way down those frozen sidewalks to your family’s decked-out houses for a Christmas dinner.

We can’t do much to help you with the cooking or decoration-related injuries, we’re more than equipped to ensure that an accumulation of snow and ice does not turn the sidewalks and walkways around your business from turning into a hazard. For more information on our commercial snow removal services, or to discuss a winter snow plowing contract, please contact us.

Slip and Fall Lawsuits: Can a Michigan Business Be Sued?

Slip Fall Accident

Michigan’s snowy winters, especially in areas such as Grand Rapids and the state capital, Lansing, are often impressive. When snow falls, businesses have risk management concerns of slip and fall accidents on their property. Can a Michigan business be sued for slip and fall accidents on ice? The answer’s a bit complicated but in the end, relatively clear. While we’re not lawyers, here’s what we dug up to help you:

Liability Increases During the Winter

A business that knowingly and negligently disregards its duty to keep its walkways, parking lots and entrances free of snow and ice increases its liability risks. An army of personal injury attorneys in Michigan eagerly await the start of winter, and they can’t wait to file lawsuits, no matter how frivolous they might seem. Fortunately for the average Michigan business when it comes to slip and fall injuries:

  1. Over the last several years, it’s become increasingly difficult to press slip and fall injury claims against Michigan businesses because of snow and ice on their premises.
  2. A January 2013 article posted on the Insurance Journal website reports that Michigan courts are using a tough recent standard, set by the state Supreme Court, to rule against numerous slip and fall injury claimants.
  3. Detroit’s local CBS affiliate, in a December 2012 online piece, also notes that slip and fall injury claimants must prove they had absolutely no other way to avoid the hazard to press their lawsuits.
  4. As a consequence, CBS reported wintertime slip-and-fall injury lawsuits have declined from 20 percent of business to 2 percent for some Michigan personal injury attorneys.

Should a Business Risk a Slip and Fall Lawsuit, Though?

While Michigan businesses can often beat wintertime slip and fall lawsuits, the bigger question is if the business should take such a risk at all. Consider:

  1. Slips and falls due to wintry conditions can quickly spread negative feelings about your business, both by word-of-mouth and over the internet. It costs your business goodwill, and that hurts.
  2. A business is also being ethical and smart to keep its premises free of snow and ice. Doing so helps increase customer safety.
  3. “The NSC says that approximately 25,000 people are victims of slip and fall accidents every day, costing businesses $3.5 million dollars every hour, 365 days a year. With the average cost to defend slip-and-fall lawsuits running $50,000 (as reported by the National Floor Safety Institute), developing and implementing a plan to reduce slip and fall claims against your business can dramatically improve your bottom line. The first step is to realize that you can’t protect yourself from false slip and fall claims without proof of due diligence.”

So who can help you in proof of due diligence and risk management in Michigan?

Sneller Snow Systems can. As Michigan’s only ISO 9001/SN 9001 certified snow and ice management company, we have endured and passed a rigorous audit process, which ensures that we adhere to the ANSI accepted snow industry standards, and maintain the appropriate records surrounding each snow event. This helps you to build a solid defense against a potential slip and fall claim.

For the best high-quality commercial snow removal in Grand Rapids MI and Lansing, contact us at Sneller Snow Systems today. We have ISO 9001 certified snow removal systems in place to keep your business open and visitors safe.

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!