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Get Your Deicing Salt Ready For Winter
A bag of de-icing salt is an essential tool to have around your home or business during the winter months.
By: Salt and Grit Solutions
The science behind how salt works lies in something known as the freezing point. Salt has a lower freezing point than water, which is why salt water does not freeze as quickly as pure water. This lower freezing point is what enables salt to melt ice and snow.
When you spread salt on ice, it acts almost like a molecular sponge. It draws some of the frozen water molecules to it and, because of its lower freezing point, breaks the molecular bonds between them. These broken molecular bonds cause the ice to melt, creating a brine that encourages further melting. The more water molecules the salt can draw to it, the greater the melting effect.
Spreading Salt on Pavement
When you spread salt on your path, the most important factor is the total spread, not the amount you use. The thing to understand here is that each pellet of salt is very effective within a certain range. Outside that range however, it does not do much good. That's why you could deposit an entire cup of salt in a pile and only see melting within an inch or two of where you left it.
Salt should be spread evenly in a large field across your pavement. As for how much to use per square foot, there is no right answer. Most people figure it out through the process of trial and error. We recommend you start out using the least amount of salt you think will be effective.
If you make a point of spreading it evenly, and it is not as effective as you want it to be, try increasing the amount slightly next time. If the salt thoroughly melts the snow and ice but leaves clumps in its wake, you have used too much. Cut it down the next time.
Another thing to remember is that leaving clumps or piles of salt on your pavement is wasteful. When salt is clumped together, it does not work as effectively as it does when spread out. So use your hand or some other instrument to break up the salt before you spread it.
When to Spread Salt
If you know a light or moderate snowstorm is coming, you can prevent ice and snow build up by spreading your salt just as the snowstorm begins. Any snow that hits the salt pellets will immediately melt and create the brine that will prevent accumulation throughout the snowstorm. Obviously, this trick does not work during heavy snowstorms.
For a heavy snowstorm, spread your salt as soon as you can after the precipitation has ended. You want the salt to begin acting right away before the snow or ice has time to become heavily compacted. The salt may not completely melt everything, but it will make removing what is left over easier.
For more information on deicing salt for your home or to buy rock salt, visit: http://www.saltandgritsolutions.co.uk
One final tip comes by way of protecting yourself from salt dust. Whenever you spread de-icing salt, you should be careful to avoid inhaling the dust or allowing it to get near your eyes. Also, be sure to wear a glove or some other sort of hand protection. Salt is not immediately harmful, but long-term exposure can cause skin, lung and eye irritation.