The winter of 2011 has been a record-setting season in many states for the amount of snowfall received. As we head into March, some of us are breathing a sigh of relief as warmer temperatures head our way. The weathermen warn us, however, that winter is not over quite yet. For those of you who dread digging out from yet another big storm, it’s not too late to take preventive measures. Here’s a few tips that may help make your job easier the next time Old Man Winter shows up in your neighborhood.
If you have enough warning and are able to get a jump before the first few flakes of snow fall on your driveway, you can try using an anti-icer on your driveway. An anti-icer is a liquid salt that comes with a pressurized sprayer. Amazon.com carries one called Bare Ground Solutions, which includes liquid snow and ice melt with a gallon sprayer and gallon solution kit for $38.99. About one to two hours before the snow is supposed to begin, spray a thin layer directly on to your driveway, following the label directions.
If it has already begun to snow and ice has started to form, you can use a de-icing salt product, while you are working on snow removal. This will help minimize the amount of ice and snow that pile up and can make your job easier overall. Several different types of products are available on the market for this purpose. Calcium chloride is not as toxic as some of the other readily available products and will work to -20 F. Magnesium chloride and potassium chloride are also less toxic, but they don’t work as well in extremely cold climates.
Realize that sodium chloride is widely available and one of the cheapest ingredients out there for melting ice, but it’s also the worst for the environment and for pets. You can easily damage your greenery if the salt piles up on them over the winter. Be very careful in your application, especially if you use the de-icer on your sidewalks in close proximity to trees, shrubs and perennials. You can check pet stores and hardware stores for more eco-friendly products that will do the job. Often times, they are more expensive; most still contain some controversial ingredients. It’s hard to find a product that will cut through ice and snow that is completely safe.
However, if you choose your product wisely and apply it carefully, you may just get a jump on the next storm—and make the job for your snow removal service easier too.