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Liquid Ice Control... Lets air somethings out.... Must read

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Clapper&Company, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    Hello Fellow Plow site members,

    There has been a lot of talk on this site about liquid Ice control within the last few weeks. Some of the info on here is helpful and some very not helpful at all. In order to help some of you out, and clear the air I have decided to post this thread, as I tried to early in the week, but was not very appropriate in the manner that it was done. So I am reposting this, to apply to the rules of this site. (This takes the fun out of it lol)

    Buying the Product:
    There are a few sponsors on here selling liquid products and I’m sure they will chime in on what I have to say to help clear the air on this matter. It is important that everyone knows that there are a lot of people trying to sell liquid products, and that before you buy you need to test what you’re getting and do your homework.

    There has been a few people trying to compare their products to each other, in fact this is very hard to do. They all come from wells, but not every well is the same; I was just told about a guy selling brine from an oil well!
    As our sponsor will tell you, the stuff that they are selling, are coming from places not in the same state, and there not the same make up, This will go to show what I’m talking about.
    I have also talked to a few people selling these products, that really have never used it and they really don’t have a clue what there talking about either.

    Can I Market liquid ice control?
    No you cannot. You can use liquid to help better your services, but as of now it is almost impossible to sell it to the client. I know that there are a few large companies who do billion a year in snow removal. They can’t even sell it!
    • They don’t know anything about it.
    • They can’t tell what you’re really spraying.
    The best use for it is to use it, on your seasonal accounts to save you time and money.

    I’m now going to try to touch base on some of the things I have heard and help clean them up:

    This will replace Salt and save lots of money:
    I don’t think we will ever completely; cut rock salt out of the program.
    • If used right you, Anti-Ice and De-Ice you can save up to 1/3 of your salt.
    • Pre-wetting Salt, you will get better results; therefore, saving more salt.
    • Liquid will never be able to do what rock salt can.
    • It breaks down too fast for some applications therefore you need to still keep salt in the barn.

    One thing, I have yet to hear on this site, is how this needs to be used as a tool

    • If you’re planning, on using this as a deicer, you need to plan on plowing more.
    • Pre-Treat / Pre-Wet / Deice are things you can do with liquid.
    As Dale Keep says: • Plows don’t melt snow
    • Deicers don’t move snow.
    • We need to use all our tools to have the best snow program.

    Inclosing let me give you some background info:
    I have been studying Liquid Brine, for about three years now. I have been very lucky to be able to visit and talk to guys from the OHIO DEPT of Transportation. There I was able to look over the brine plants, Talk to their people, Look over there charts and numbers. I also been able to go to some classes where Dale Keep has speak some other classes and stuff that has been offered.
    This is newer to the contractor side of things, and there is still a lot of info out there, and it makes me mad to see members of this site, trying to learn about liquid and being mislead on some things.
    This is the bulk of my thread, and I will add to it as needed.
  2. dannyslawn

    dannyslawn Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Thanks for your insight. Our company is starting to experiment with liquids. Last year we started using treated salt. This year we will experiment with pre-treating some walks with a liquid Mag mix.
  3. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    Well put, i am replacing one of our salters with a liquid unit. I am sure a bunch of "Know it alls" are going to churp in now
  4. toby4492

    toby4492 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,513

    You mean you are gonna make more posts :confused:

    I.....................I......................I just can't believe that Ron :jester:

    Great post by the way and thanks for the information.:salute:
  5. turboguy

    turboguy Member
    Messages: 56

    Discussions can be a lot more interesting when you get someone who disagrees with the things someone says.

    Unfortunately I can't disagree with much you say.

    You said:

    Liquid will never be able to do what rock salt can.

    The other side of the coin is rock salt will never be able to do what liquids can. I am referring primarily to Anti-Icing.

    The first Internet study I ever read sort of stuck in my mind, partially because it was the first study I read but also the results they had. Here is a link to that 6 year study.


    In their studies they reduced materials by 83% and time by 62%. That is a far cry from the 30% you are suggesting.

    I thought one of the interesting parts of that study was they also reduced accidents by 83%. I think this is an interesting side of anti-icing. I have seen numerous other studies that show liquids make the roads much safer. One in NY in an area where they had an extremely high accident rate liquids totally eliminated the problem. I think liquids could be the body shops worst enemy.

    I do agree with you that marketing liquids is tough right now. I think a big part of that is that for the general public it is a new area where there is little knowledge and in time it will become an easy thing to market and something many will demand, but for now that is a problem. I think one of the other parts that make it hard to market is they really don't see anything. If you plow snow, what you did is very visible. If you pretreat with liquids they don't see anything except perhaps that they have no snow and others do.

    I agree too that there are a lot of different chemicals and many don't know much about what they are selling. Liquids have been around for a while and their use has been steadily increasing. I have talked to very few who were not happy with their results. I think we all need some trial and error and exchanging ideas here will help determine which chemicals work the best and are most cost effective.

    I see some guys who want to go all liquid and I have seen a few have some success at it but I agree with you, it is a tool but not a total solution. It won't replace salt but it can help to provide better services, at lower cost and increased profits. Used as part of the package it can be a very good thing.

    Your turn.
  6. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Thanks Clap. I've been reading alot of your posts. I have read ALOT of posts about liquid technologies and like Superior, have just started doing a little experimenting of my own. Call it my skeptical nature. Further informative posts are really appreciated and don't fall on deaf ears
  7. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    What do roads have to do with parking lots? Your trying to sell products to people that do parking lots not roads, so try and explain to me how they are the same? Most of the savings on roads is due to salt bounce and salt bounce doesn't matter in a parking lot.
  8. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    since salt and liquids work better at different temps and moisture count, is there a system that can control the amount of product applied to make sure under/over application stays in check? maybe a computer linked to a ground temp laser, humidity sensor, and your vehicles speed which then activates your spreaders throughput?
  9. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    something people haven't mentioned is when you've "saved X amount of " salt you've had to replace that with liquids, so what, if any, are the actual dollar's saved? was this done with a different truck (aka extra trip) or accomplished with the same vehicle and route schedule. does anyone have numbers for this? (not asking for hard earned trade secrets here just examples based on your real world findings)
  10. Grampa Plow

    Grampa Plow Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 274

    Holy Crap...most of the people on here have 1, 2, or 3 plows, some maybe more. ON board computers with lasers, humidity sensors, etc. Who has the money for all of that? One end of our parking lot will more than likely be the same as the other end. Like someone said, some of that stuff is more for street plowing, which most of us don't do.
  11. turboguy

    turboguy Member
    Messages: 56

    Good point Dave. I agree there are differences but let me ask you this. If no one is concerned about bounce, why the interest in pre-wetting?

    I agree with most of what Clap said but am a little bored today and feel like playing devils advocate.
  12. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    The only benifit I have seen with prewetting is when it's very cold, bounce means nothing in a parking lot. Actually you get a better spread with dry salt then wet.
  13. turboguy

    turboguy Member
    Messages: 56

    There are GPS and Radar controlled units that will speed up the flow and slow down the flow as your speed changes and shut off the unit if you stop. They are not cheap. I have not seen any linked to ground temperature which would be a good feature. Perhaps the next time I am talking to the guys that make those things I will pass that suggestion along. There is a thing called a Raytek gun that uses infrared to read ground temperature which really is more important than air temp in using liquids. I have not seen too many guys using these but it is a nice tool. In case someone is interested in them you can find them on Ebay but don't go for the cheap models, the ones selling in the $ 250 range are pretty good.
  14. turboguy

    turboguy Member
    Messages: 56

    It seems to me a lot of the guys are in their first year with liquids or at least there are a lot of guys just starting in. I am not discounting that there are guys who have been doing it for a while, just a lot that are pretty new. Once winter gets a little further along that seems to me that it would be an interesting thread.

    I have a feeling there will be a pretty wide range of costs. I see guys paying 40 cents a gallon or even a lot less and guys paying 5 bucks a gallon. I see guys applying at 20 gallons an acre and guys applying at 100 gallons an acre. I think a lot of the data coming from people selling material is somewhere between being a little over optimistic and being BS but it seems like most expect some good savings. A thread where people detailed what they did accomplish seems like it would be beneficial.

    Most of the guys I talk to seem to be using the same vehicle. Some might want to think about baffle balls or they may find themselves plowing something they did not mean to.
  15. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    You can play devils advocate all you want.

    But as dave said roads and parking lots theres nothing the same about them.

    I'm with dave bounce dosent mean alot to me either. its in the lot so its doing what we need it to.

    Pre-wet works good in the cold, thats why we do it.
  16. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    Heres something you might like to know

    The big shots of for the Ohio Dept of Trans, says brine is the greatest thing ever!

    If you talk to the guys at the outpost, like I do.

    Pre-treat saves them at the most 30mins of time.

    But by the time you factor in the 20ton of salt they used to make it, The overtime they paid, the Loader, power to run they brine plant.

    They could of called out the crews a hour sooner, and still saved money + 20ton of salt in a truck would go alot longer.
  17. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    Thats funny you say that about making the brine. There was a article in the local paper yesterday that our county had just spent $75,000 on a brine maker.
  18. SpeedyGreenInc

    SpeedyGreenInc Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Do any of you try the liquid magic - 0 or the salt treated with it? That product is non corrosive so that should be an easier selling point and save alot on equipment wear.
  19. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    My turn to chime in :dizzy:

    We have studied and experimented with the use of "Liquid De-icer" application and have concluded that on roadways and parking areas we spent more in labor to apply + the cost of the material and this resulted in only minutes of time savings. We did also run liquid test sites and applied it to walkways,steps and Handicapped areas. This resulted in hours of time savings for our hand labor crews due to the fact the liquid kept the snow and ice from bonding to the surface and made hand shoveling and snow blower use much faster. The amount of time spent to apply the liquid was only a couple of hours and we saved many hours in labor.

    State highway departments use it to keep the snow and ice from bonding to the road surface. This speeds up the reaction time of other chemicals to melt and "evaporate" the moisture on the road. ( Key word >> Evaporation ).

    Sorry Clapper, didnt mean to steal the show from you but we have studied the use of liquid ice melt for many years and have only one use for it..... Sidewalks !
  20. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    I Agree with you, on sidewalks there gold. Saves alot of time and money