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De Icing Newbie

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by wints761, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. wints761

    wints761 Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Hello All,

    I have been plowing residential for quite a few years but am bidding on a few smaller commercial properties this year. I am curious how salting works? What exactly do you use? Do customers typically expect salting or is it per request?

    Thanks in advance!

    Dave Winter
    Landscape Expressions, LLC
    Mpls, MN
  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872



    Halite works when it contacts the
    snow and ice creating a chemical
    reaction which creates heat and
    begins to melt it.

    The man made deicing chemicals
    that are used by themselves or mixed with
    Halite allow deicing at lower ambient
    temperatures increasing its effectiveness.

    Deep mined Halite has a lot of salt dust below 30 mesh
    size that results from its transportation underground
    and to the point of use due to the type of high energy
    explosive used to extract it during the mining

    I use sand but thats a choice I made and am very
    happy with it as it costs much less less to use and
    does no damage to shrubs and grass.

  3. snobgone

    snobgone Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 122

    Salt "melts" and creates a brine solution that decreases the freeze point of water. If used as a pre-treatment, it helps keep the snow from binding to the surface of the pavement and helps you clean the lot quicker down to blocktop. It is most effective down to 18 degress, then becomes less and less effective as temperatures drop. Typical application rates can be as little as 650lbs per acre or less, depending on temps.

    Freqency of application depends on your customers expectation and should be discussed during contract negotiations. We typically pre-treat for zero tolerance cunstomers or fixed rate and post treat as needed.

    We have been using far less sand in our area because of its environmental impact on rivers and streams and the clean up and disposal costs but it does have its place. We still use it occasionally for abrasive traction for heavy icing events.
  4. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    Speaking from a Chicagoland POV, salt is all we use--no sand. Some municipalities will mix a little bird's eye (small gravel, larger than sand) in for traction on rural grades, but I pretty much never see sand out here. Some clients want to call for salt, but in my experience it is not a good idea to do just plowing and leave the salt up to the customer's discretion. Maybe for their entry way, where they can just salt it themselves--but not for the lots. Even for some that have a good handle on it, it's still unwise, because when they put it off to save money, and some elderly lady has a "gravitational confrontation" and ends up in an ambulance--you are going to pay out, even if it's just for an attorney and nothing comes of it. But be ready to be dragged into court over it.

    The best advice I can give to anyone new to salt (clients and contractors alike)? "Salt is cheaper than an attorney."

  5. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    We use a sand/salt mix and apply it when we feel is necessary. We plow on a per-push basis so there are no contracts.
    We charge 3 times what the material costs us to spread it.