Washington Snow Problems: Ditch The Rock Salt This Winter
The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that ‘Winter temperatures and precipitation will be close to normal, on average, with below-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will occur in mid-January and early and late February. The snowiest periods will occur in early December and from mid-to-late February.’ However, Forecaster in its report indicates the confidence of 40-50% chance of below-normal temperatures in the winter in Washington.
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Reasons Why You Should Avoid Using Rock Salt This Winter
1- Harmful to concrete
A common way to clear icy pavement is to use rock salt. However, it can lead to bigger headaches later. Rock salt is corrosive to concrete, asphalt, and bricks as well. Salt traces left on the surface causes stains and streaks. The real problem starts when it gets into the porous concrete and creates holes and cracks that get worsen with frequent freeze-thaw cycles of water.
According to the American Concrete Institute (ACI), there are several chemicals, some of which are used in ice melt formulas that actually attack concrete, and are best avoided. They are – Aluminum Chloride, Ammonium Nitrate, Ammonium Sulfate, Ammonium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Chloride, and Sodium Cyanide. Different chemicals react with the concrete differently. For example, Sodium chloride attacks the metal rebar contained within the concrete when it is soaked-up into the concrete.
2- Not safe for kids and pets
Another reason you should not use rock salt is it is not safe to use around kids, pets, and plants. Chlorine in salt and chemical-based ice melt is a toxic respiratory irritant and can damage pets’ skin, eyes, and membranes.
So, What’s The Solution?
How to get rid of snow without damaging the concrete, vegetation, and property and without harming pets and kids?
1- Use Ice melter that is concrete safe
Luckily, there are chemical-free and salt-free options that are concrete safe ice melt, and you can try. A concrete safe ice melt is made with urea or crystalline amide solution. Such salt-free ice melt are also safe to use around children and pets. Since they are non-corrosive, they don’t cause damage to the concrete driveways and sidewalks.
Ice melters that are concrete safe and non-corrosive are also environment-friendly, 100% safe for your plants, pets, and children. New concrete is more vulnerable. Therefore, make sure your ice melt is safe for new concrete also.
You can get rid of snow from the driveway and pavement with the good old-fashioned shoveling. That’s one natural way of solving this problem without hurting plants and pets. The only drawback with this method is it’s labor-intensive and can be hard on your back.
3- Adding some traction
Another way to fix a slippery driveway is by using traction. Although traction doesn’t melt ice, it can definitely help you avoid some serious slip and fall accidents. Adding traction allows you to immediately cross the slippery layer of ice without the fear of fall.
Looking for more chemical-free, natural ice melt solutions that are safe and effective to use this winter? Check them out here.