What’s Best for Removing Ice From Commercial Properties?
When dense snow piles up on your property, you can’t just sit inside with a cup of hot cocoa and admire the scenery. As a property manager, you need to be on the scene before the first snowflake hits the ground to prevent thick ice and snow buildup. In fact, cities require that property managers handle snow and ice removal on their own, in order to prevent slip and fall injuries and other inconveniences to residents and customers.
Liquid Deicer vs. Salt: Which Should You Use?
When it comes to ice and snow removal, efficiency is the name of the game. There are various methods for removing ice, the two most common being salt and liquid deicer. Both methods are effective in keeping sidewalks free of snow and thick ice, but which one is the best for removing ice from commercial properties quickly and efficiently?
Liquid deicers are very effective for preparing roads and driveways for snowfall. They have been used by city transportation departments for decades, but may not be an obvious ice solution for property managers. However, liquid snow removal can be just as powerful, if not more so, than traditional rock salt snow removal. Liquid deicer prevents precipitation from freezing and bonding to the ground, and the ice content in the deicer melts snow and ice to return roads to normal.
Pros of liquid deicer:
- Penetrates the surface of the road and cannot be moved or disturbed by street traffic
- Can stay on the road and maintain effectiveness for hours or even days
- Less damaging to nearby plants and buildings, as it tends to stay in one place after it is applied
Cons of liquid deicer:
- Generally takes longer to melt ice and can be washed away by rainfall or sleet
- Not as effective in getting rid of snow or ice buildup on a road, and is better suited for pre-treating the road before heavy snowfall
Rock salt is actually the same type of salt that’s in your salt shaker — it just comes in larger pieces. Ice melt is another commonly used salt deicer that combines rock salt and minerals like magnesium and calcium. Both ice melt and rock salt melt ice and snow by lowering the freezing point of water, making it harder for precipitation to freeze. When applied, salt melts the top layer of ice, and the melted ice combines with the salt to form a brine. This brine melts ice or snow buildup and prevents new snow or rain from freezing.
Pros of salt:
- Quickly removes ice that is already on the ground
- Can be easily scattered and applied
- Is readily available in most places with regular snowfall
Cons of salt:
- Rests on the surface of the road, so it can be knocked out of place by traffic
- Can erode porous materials and damage buildings and plants
- Can cause chemical burns on dogs’ paws (ice melt is more pet-friendly)
- Can leach into bodies of water and pollute the environment
- Can be expensive as pricing is usually dictated by supply and demand during the winter
How Should Property Managers Remove Snow and Ice?
While salt and liquid deicers have their own pros and cons, both can be very effective in removing snow and ice. There isn’t one definitive answer as to which one property managers should use. In some cases, both deicing methods should be used in tandem to prevent snow from freezing and to melt freshly fallen snow.
Effectively melting ice and preventing snow buildup requires some forethought on the part of property managers. It is not enough to simply sprinkle a walkway with salt after a heavy snowfall. Total removal — or removal considered adequate by city standards — often requires regular maintenance. Property managers will need to prepare driveways, sidewalks, stairs, etc. for snowstorms with liquid deicer. And if a snowstorm is particularly heavy, property managers may need to get onto the property themselves to shovel snow and apply rock salt to prevent icy surfaces and injuries.
This level of dedication could make sense for someone who owns one or two nearby properties, but may not be realistic for someone who owns an office park, apartment complex, or retail property. For larger areas that require regular upkeep and immediate snow removal, property managers turn to commercial snow removal companies to do the work for them and help them comply with city snow removal ordinances.
Lawn Butler has been providing snow removal services in Utah for years, helping property managers survive even the most severe snowstorms. We can salt, deice, and plow your property after a storm or in preparation for a storm, ensuring it stays safe without much effort on your part. Contact Lawn Butler at (801) 513-3988 for your snow removal, ice control, and snow plowing needs.