Do I Have to Put Out Salt When it Snows? How Does Road Salt Work?

| December 29, 2017

Generally speaking, the answer will depend on your local laws, but most snow-removal laws just require you to remove snow and ice buildup rather than requiring any specific method.  New York’s local law, for example, requires property owners or tenants to clean the snow and ice from the front of their properties, within a specified period of time.  But New York’s local laws, like most laws, don’t specify a particular method for clearing out that snow and ice.

You could clear snow and ice the old-fashioned way, with a shovel or a snowblower. But there’s also the chemical method.  The chemical method uses chemical salts– usually rock salt or calcium chloride– to lower the freezing point of water.  Pure water has a freezing temperature of 32 degrees F (0 degrees C).  When the deicer meets with frozen salt in water, it lowers the freezing point of water, making the ice or snow melt even if the air temperature is below freezing.  Rock salt, which is corrosive, can melt ice down to 15 degrees F, and calcium chloride, which is not corrosive, works all the way to -20 degrees F.

In some cases, transportation departments have experimented with other, more exotic deicers.  Some cities in Wisconsin have tested cheese brine, which is a waste product of mozzarella and provolone production.  In New Jersey, the state has tested pickle brine; in Washington D.C., the municipal government has used salted beet juice to clear the roads.  No matter the name, though, these chemicals all work through the same mechanism: by lowering the freezing point of water.

Caution Ice Standing Sign

No matter how you choose to deice your property, remember that when it’s cold and slippery out, it’s always good to warn your customers.  MySafetySign carries a full line of ice and snow warning signs, at the lowest prices, guaranteed.

Category: News / New Products

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