A common aspect of snow and ice management is the use of ice melt products. These chemicals are designed to dissolve ice and prevent water from refreezing, reducing the risk of falls, hydroplaning, and other such risks for which you may be liable. However, not all deicers are equal, and their efficacy also depends in part on their application.
The safety of staff and customers during dangerous winter weather conditions should be the top priority of every business owner and facility manager. Read on for a step-by-step guide on using ice melt products to ensure your commercial property is as safe and operational as possible this winter.
Prevention, rather than remediation, is always the best policy. The first step to keeping your property safe using deicers is to plan ahead of time. Make sure you are heading into the winter months with a snow management plan in place and your ice melt products in stock. Do your research ahead of time to decide which deicers to use.
Though it can be difficult to forecast snow and ice storms, make sure to apply your deicers before the weather event occurs. Waiting until after the storm hits allows the ice a chance to attach to surfaces. It’s much harder for ice melts to break through solid ice than to prevent it from forming in the first place. Pre-treating your surfaces in this way conserves your ice melt supply and saves you money in the long run.
When you spread deicers across your property, know that you are putting chemicals into the soil, water, local plant life, and potentially into pets. Thus, it’s crucial to choose your deicer wisely. Rock salt (sodium chloride) is the most basic and cheapest type of deicer, but not necessarily the best. In fact, it has been shown to have damaging environmental effects.
Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are more expensive, but have somewhat lower environmental impacts and are effective at much lower temperatures. Calcium magnesium acetate and sodium acetate are the most environmentally friendly and least corrosive. Sand, ash, and beet juice are a few natural ice melts that you can use in place of or alongside chemical deicers.
If you have a large commercial property, you may be looking at spending a pretty penny on ice melts throughout the winter season. The key to keeping your costs down is to use as little of the product as possible. As mentioned previously, pre-treating your pavements works especially well toward this aim. Remember not to transplant snow that has been treated with ice melt as these chemicals can damage your surrounding landscaping and erode building structures. While spreading ice melt, protect your eyes and hands with eyewear and gloves.
After applying your deicers, and at the end of the winter season, it’s crucial that you store your ice melt products safely. As deicers are designed to draw out moisture, it’s best to store them in a dry place away from sunlight. Make sure all containers are sealed and airtight. Otherwise, any remaining moisture in the air will cause the product to clump and become brittle before next season.
For sledding and snowboarding enthusiasts, winter weather may create the ideal conditions. However, for business owners, snow and ice are hazards to take seriously. From causing legal liabilities to introducing structural damage to property, snow and ice can wreak havoc upon a business. When implemented efficiently, the right types of deicing agents can offer one solution for both small businesses and large facilities alike. When you understand the best practices for using deicers on a commercial property, you can have peace of mind knowing your facility is safe year-round!
Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at BloggerOutreach.io, a blogger outreach agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at Blogstellar.