How to Melt Snow and Ice Without Rock Salt

20 Nov 19

How to Melt Snow and Ice

If snow and ice are in the forecast, you’re probably already thinking about having to clear it from your driveway and sidewalk. Traditionally, this might be done with a trusty shovel and a bag of rock salt. While this method is effective, it has drawbacks. After years of research on the use of rock salt to melt roadways, it has been established that sodium chloride presents a sizeable danger to the environment.

It is statistically proven that the use of rock salt to melt snow/ice on roadways does reduce the likelihood of car accidents. However, it has also shown to be a pollutant. When snow/ice melt, runoff occurs. The saltwater that is absorbed into the ground, in addition to flowing into nearby lakes, rivers, and streams, contaminates freshwater quality and supply. Salt also presents a danger to both wildlife and plant-life. Increased salt levels within the environment can affect breeding in various animals, food supply, in addition to being toxic for consumption. Soil is also drained of nutrients from excess salt infiltration — this can result in the killing of trees and plants, in conjunction with making it harder to plant and grow in the coming spring seasons. Finally, the use of rock salt is corrosive — applying the mineral to your pavement can cause damage to your walkways.

While community public works departments continue to use rock salt to treat road surfaces, other solutions are being experimented with. However, even as no new large scale treatment method has been decided on, private homeowners are able to avoid the use of rock salt with serval alternatives for small scale use. Here is a list of possible options to use this winter to melt snow and ice from your property without the need for harmful rock salt.

Alternatives to Rock Salt

Rock salt works by lowering the freezing point of water, therefore, snow and ice will melt below the threshold of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However, several of these alternative options work in the same fashion, but without the environmental drawbacks.

Wood Ash – Leftover wood ash from your fireplace makes for a cheap and easy solution. With potassium salts, wood ash helps melt snow/ice and provide traction for footing.

Coffee Grounds – Those used coffee grounds are also a useful option. The nitrogen in the coffee grounds helps lower the freezing point. The dark color also will attract sun rays to help speed up melting.

Sugar Beet Juice – This is one of the alternative options to rock salt that several communities are testing out. Spreading sugar beet juice before a snow/ice storm will limit the ability of accumulation.

Rubbing Alcohol – Combine 2 quarts of warm water, 6 drops of dish soap, and 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol — spread on pavement areas. This solution is also useful for defrosting car windows.

Vinegar – Mixing 50 percent warm water and 50 percent vinegar will also help melt snow and ice. Shoveling soon after the application of the mixture will help speed up the process.

The Best Snow Removal Service in Columbia, MO

In the winter months, having a trained team do your snow removal for you eliminates the risk and worry for the safety of your friends, family, and/or customers. Our experts will keep a watch on your property and snowfall totals to automatically show up and perform the removal without you having to call us every time for assistance.
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