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Ice Melters: Application, Guidelines, and Precautions
Ice Melters

If motorist and pedestrian safety is endangered by the accumulation of snow and ice, decisive measures need to be taken to reduce the hazardous conditions.  Applying granular ice melters prior to precipitation halts ice from bonding to a road’s surface.  The granules may also be effectively applied during or after precipitation to thaw the ice and snow.

The process that ensues from the use of granular ice melters depends on the amount applied.  When the granules come in contact with ice or snow, brine is formed.  Brine is basically water that contains large amounts of salt.  Brine holds a pivotal role in the melting process because the solution does not immediately freeze.  As the brine becomes less concentrated, it melts the ice and snow.  Eventually it refreezes, but the time period before refreezing occurs is dependant on the quantity of ice melters applied and the success of each granule.  If the granules are applied prior to precipitation, bonding between ice and the highway surface is prevented, however, shoveling or plowing must take place within a reasonable period of time so the brine does not refreeze.

When ice melters are applied after precipitation, certain guidelines need to be taken into consideration.  If a heavy snowstorm has cause large amounts of snow to build-up, a plow or shovel should be used first.  Snowfall exceeding two inches is considered a large amount.  After shoveling or plowing the snow, use the ice melters to melt the hard packed snow left behind.  With sleet, on the other hand, take care of the application early in order to prevent ice conglomeration.  If the rain has not yet frozen into sleet, but is wet and heavy, apply the granules as soon as snowfall begins.

Precautions should be taken with the use of ice melting granules.  Check the label and apply at the specified rate.  Be sure not to over-apply, especially close to metals and vegetation.  Direct contact between plants and the brine solution can cause damage or death for the vegetation.  To avoid such injury to plant life, shovel melting snow away from plants and make sure adequate drainage exists for the brine solution.  Use of an application unit or spreader is helpful in dispersing the granules and keeping them away from things that could be harmed.  Tailgate Salt Spreader is a great option as it is designed to be mounted by one person.  These spreaders can be attached to pickup trucks, utility vehicles, ATVs, and tractors.  They are also precise with a spreading capacity up to forty feet wide.

Overall, ice melters are an effective method for melting snow.  The granular ice melting products are to be used in conjunction with physical removal of snow and ice.  Pre-applying the product will only be effective if the snow can be removed soon after precipitation begins.  The granules can also be dispersed after precipitation begins under the state guidelines.  Whenever the product is used precautions need to be taken, whether applied before or after the winter weather begins.