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Packed Snow on Sidewalks

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by CanuckSV, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. CanuckSV

    CanuckSV Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I'll do my best to be brief. First year clearing snow with backpack blower from steps and sidewalks in Alberta for 98 condo units. I live in the condos and in the past have seen guys with only backpack blowers, never scrapers. I apply ice melt and blow as soon as the snow stops but always end up scraping packed footprints off steps. I also do a little old lady down the street. While walking there I just leave my blower going and pointed at the ground in front of me. I've noticed the packed footprints quite often just blow off in chunks even at idle speed. I doubt these people apply ice melt to their city sidealks. Snow has been continuous lately so timing before people walk is tough.
    Is ice melt actually causing me more problems than its solving? e.g. helping the snow pack?
    The condos love their ice melt but I don't think they would complain if there was never any snow on their steps.
    I would rather blow twice at 7AM and then 3PM to avoid footprints than have to scrape each time. Any recommendations on ice melt application? I try to get a good bed before the snow comes but like I say it has been steady this year.
  2. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    In my opinion no, ice melt or salt will actually create a barrier between the snow and walkway so it won't bond and make it easier to remove. I do not use backpack blowers though so it might be a different situation.

    What is the technique for using backpacks if you don't mind me asking?
  3. CanuckSV

    CanuckSV Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Everybody seems to agree on that "barrier creation" thing, but I just can't find any consistancy. Seeing as how they pay for the ice melt, I'm thinking of applying much more liberally next time.
    Not too much technique involved. Backpack blowers (a.k.a. leaf blowers) just get the snow off the sidewalk and airborne. A little wrist twisting and you can blow it where you want. Just like blowing leaves except you really don't care where the snow ends up, as long as you're not standing on it.
  4. Deco

    Deco Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    salt only works down to 22*. nuke it with calcium
  5. CanuckSV

    CanuckSV Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Been using Alaskan Ice Melt. Supposed to be good down to -30C.
  6. plowindiesel

    plowindiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    My boss last year had us using backpack blowers whenever we could. used them on sidewalks with 5in or less and they worked surprisingly well. most of the walks were stamped/decorative concrete so that was the main reason for using them but after seeing how well they worked we started using whenever we could. never really used any sort of de-icer on the walks so wouldnt know about the barrier theory that you all are talking about.
  7. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Try it with ice melt and without....see what works best for you.
  8. CanuckSV

    CanuckSV Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    OK. No snow today and none expected in the near future.
    I dumped a real load of Ice Melt on everything.
    We'll see at the next snowfall. I'll keep you posted cause I must not be the only lazy one.
    Good thought Hydro...
    But testing on 98 units is a real pain in the back if you go wrong.
    Although that's what I've been doing.
    I was just hoping for some seasoned pros that had a secret.
    Maybe there is none.
    Maybe I have to work for a living. BLAH!!!
  9. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

  10. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    I know I saw that but I didn't feel like getting into it again.
  11. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    I thought it was ineffective after 20 degrees.....ya learn something new every day. :laughing:
  12. grasskeepers

    grasskeepers Member
    Messages: 78

    if you want to use a backpack blower use no ice melt or salt at alll and it will blast the packed down snow right off
  13. CanuckSV

    CanuckSV Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Hey Grasskeepers,
    Thanks. I think you're right. Good to hear from a fellow Northerner.
    We may be more up on this method than Southerners that are always trying to move the heavy wet stuff.
    The best method seems to be -20C with nothing applied.
    But in Calgary we have Chinooks...
    And all my condos have steps...
    So woe is me, for liability reasons I do have to keep some concoction on the steps.
    I try my best to avoid it if possible though.
    So let's hope for a brown Christmas, or a bloody cold one.