Ice Melt Do’s and Don’ts

You may wonder about how to safely use ice melt products so that you don’t ruin your sidewalks and driveway. We’ve all seen concrete that’s all torn up from these kinds of products, but you don’t have to risk all that damage if you use the right product correctly.

Winter brings us all kinds of special things to deal with, and ice is just one of them. If you’re selling your home, icy walks and driveways are the last problem you want. If you’d like to talk about what else is important when selling your home, call or email me and I’ll fill you in on a few tips for getting your home sold quickly.

Here are five common mistakes that leading ice melt manufacturers say they’ve seen users of their products make, and how to avoid making the same mistake yourself.

#1 Not using it. It may be you want to save time, or perhaps save money, but not using ice melt at all is sometimes a costly mistake, and the liability if someone slips and falls on your property is certainly a problem you will want to avoid.

#2 Using too much. Many of us think that if a little bit is good, more is better. When it comes to ice melt, the opposite can often be true. Overusing ice melt can cause several problems, and it won’t necessarily do a better job. One problem is that excessive product will build up and get tracked inside which ruins indoor flooring. Another issue is that it can burn vegetation if too much product is put down. Just follow the instructions and you’ll be in good shape.

#3 Applying It Wrong. The best thing you can do is read the manufacturers instructions so you know how much to use and how often. Different products work in different ways. Also, when you use a calcium or magnesium chloride product, it’s important to cover your hands. You don’t usually want to put ice melt products on a roof, and rock salt products will eventually get into the water supply so go easy with that stuff.

#4 Using The Wrong Kind. Virtually all ice melt products sold in retail stores are made from one of five basic materials, or a blend of these five: calcium chloride, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride and urea. The useful differences are that these compounds affect how quickly they will work, and at what temperatures they will melt ice and snow. It’s a factor of whether the product releases or absorbs heat upon contact with ice and snow.

#5 Not Cleaning It Up. This is one of the biggest mistakes we make when using ice melt. Once the product has melted the ice, it’s a good idea to sweep away the excess product if it’s stopped snowing or freezing. On the inside of a building, sodium chloride (the one we sometimes call rock salt) can leave a powdery residue and if it sits on your floor too long it can mar the finish. Calcium and magnesium chlorides will sometimes leave behind an oily residue that might be slippery on smooth floors and if it gets on your carpet, it can attract dirt.

If you want more tips on home maintenance you can follow the link in my blog for more posts on this type of thing.
If you find you’re considering a change and have some questions about real estate in our area, please send me an email or give me a call so we can talk about what’s important to you right now.

-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker®

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