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salt vs. liquid

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by csl, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. csl

    csl Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    i would like some more EDUCATED input if i could. we have been using liquid deice for years now (mag. or sodium cl.) and this year a buddy of mine that has a much larger company than mine has converted all his trucks to rock salt rather than liquid. he says that they are saving tons of money on material and time. we pay roughly $.95 a gallon for liquid and $3.25 a bag for rock salt in 50 lb. bag or $80 a ton. i have done a lot of research on benefits and drawbacks, but they seem to be fairly bias, as most posts are by salesmen. does someone care to add to this as to the benefits and drawbacksd, thanks
  2. cycles13

    cycles13 Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    I cut my salt usage down 90% and mix my own liquid de-icer. I save on cost of salt by over 80%. The last year I used all salt, my salt cost was $23000.00. Last year my salt cost was less than $7000 including material for mixing my own de-icer.
  3. csl

    csl Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    how were you making your own brine? formula? mixture? process? thanks
  4. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963


    2.3 pounds salt per gallon of water and stir well

    Mix 90% salt brine and 10% calcium chloride together and spray until melted :jester:

    I use rock salt and liquids. Cut my salt usage by a minimum of 50% :D
  5. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    We just got back into using liquid this season, we used it solely when rock salt prices sky rocketed a couple years ago. Now that rock salt prices came down it isn't that cost effective. The only reason we got back into liquids is we needed another salter and traded a large liquid system that we used in a dump truck. Now that we sold the dump, that system was too big to fit into a srw truck and trading for this system was much cheaper including liquid versus buying another V box. Plus IF rock prices jump again we have option's. Your liquid and rock salt are expensive! If rock salt reaches the 80-90 dollar mark, we'll be switching back total liquid. There's been only one time I didn't like liquid and that was during an ice event/freezing rain. Talk to kubota, he's got it down to a science for mixing it yourself.
  6. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963

    Making your own Salt Brine:

    Rock Salt @ $80/ton ? 1 ton of rock salt to treat avg of 3 acres? = 666 lbs/acre?

    32% calcium chloride @ .75/gallon

    Labor @ $48/hour ? ( I like to be paid well to turn valves and drive the skidsteer )

    My Brine Maker Batch time =30 minutes for 850 gallon ( really it's less)

    Brine application rate = 80-100 gallons per acre ( I'm usually in a hurry for it to melt)

    850 gallons x 2.3 pounds per gallon = 1,955 pounds of rock salt ( close enough ) = $80
    850 gallons x 10% cal chloride = 85 gallons x .75 = $64
    Labor = 1/2 hour x $48 = $24
    For the nit picky, water and gas =$ 12

    ADD $80+$64+$24+$12= to make 935 gallons of liquid brine = $ 180

    application rate 80-100 gallons per acre? I'll use 90 gpa. 935 divided by 90 = 10.3 acres can be treated by that 1 ton of rock salt and 85 gallon of cal chloride mix. My cost per acre using rock salt = $26.50. Cost to treat 1 acre liquid = $17.50 ( approx)

    When making your own equipment and making your own brine vs buying brine VERY different.

    Any errors in my numbers? All are high estimates.
  7. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,559

    I agree with Kubota...and it is true for the fact of making your own brine versus buying it or buying production equipment.
    I make my own brine and blend it 80/20 with GeoMelt55.
    In pre-wetting applications I have reduced my salt by at least 40%.
    I apply it at a minimum of 10 gallons per ton.
  8. Brad3403

    Brad3403 Senior Member
    from Alberta
    Messages: 392

    Kubota.....down to what temperature do you feel liquid works???
  9. csl

    csl Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    thanks for all the help guys. to be more specific, a lot of companies around here are rock to spreading just rock salt on properties, no liquid. how many do this now? benefits / disadvantages? thanks
  10. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963

    The very first time I sprayed liquids, I sprayed 32% Liquidow @ -7F / 21.6C air temp. I didn't realize or have a way to measure ground temperature. Sprayed it on top of 3/4 - 1" of snow and had a total melt in 45 minutes.

    The following winter I sprayed a mix of 90/10 salt brine / liquidow, on an asphalt surface with a surface temperature of 7F - 10F and 3/4 -1" of snow, had a total melt in less than 20 minutes.

    When temps get low I will either spray 32% Liquidow (+5F and below) or I have already sprayed my salt pile and spread rock salt.
  11. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963

    My cost per acre using rock salt = $26.50

    My cost to treat 1 acre liquid 90/10 mix = $17.50 ( approx)

    My cost to treat 1 acre liquid 32% calcium chloride 60 gpa = $43.20

    The most I can pay for a 80 gpa liquid would be $0.33 per gallon or 60 gpa liquid would be $0.44 per gallon or I might as well use Rock Salt?

    That's why I make my own and why I use the mix I do.
  12. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    I hope you are getting some good stuff at .95 cents a gallon.... Because i pay .34
  13. Harold Finch

    Harold Finch Member
    Messages: 88

    Adding water to water with salt to melt ice?

    I do not use brines for de-icing, Only treated rock salt. I went through your math but something in the common sense area doesnt add up for me..

    It takes x amount of salt to melt y amount of ice. You go through all of the trouble of making a brine, putting your salt into solution, and then spraying it as a de-icer.

    When I de-ice it is because we have ice/snow on the pavement. Why add water to salt and then use the weaker solution to de-ice? Sure it acts faster but it also dies faster and wont melt as much ice as if you had just put down the granular in the first place.

    Try treating your rock salt with an organic based performanced enhanced liquid? Even spraying your liquid cacl onto your rock salt and then spreading it granular seems less wastefull than making a brine and it will act as fast but also give you more residual and total melting capacity.

    Why add water to a product that melts less ice and re-freezes with the more water you put into it?

    There is plenty of frozen water on the ground when we are de-icing.. Truck de-icers around, not water. Just my thoughts, I could never understand why anyone would use brines pre or post storm. It may be cheap per gallon (and it should be as there is a very small amount of nacl/cacl in each gallon of water/solution) but overall, trucking, labor, equipment, return trips, slip and falls, etc you spend more.
  14. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963

    It would appear as if you were a granular salt dealer or treated salt salesman? This would explain your negative post and attitudes toward liquids in general.

    If your not using liquid deicing brine of some sort your probably over using the granular products. Some situations call for rock salt or enhanced rock salt and some do not. I happen to use liquids, rock salt, or enhanced rock salt depending on the snow event. If you have tried liquid brine and had a refreezing problem, it was either with the product you were using, improper application, or wrong tool for the situation. Depending on how much snow or compaction your trying to melt will determine the product you should select.

    Pre-storm? To either buy some time or prevent a bonding of the snow to the pavement. Liquid does not get plowed off like rock salt does. Unless your getting paid by the ton.

    Post storm, post plowing? Because there isn't enough snow left on the lot to get a good , fast brine going from a rock product. Also is far cheaper than rock salt or enhanced product.

    Wasteful is having rock salt left on the pavement after everything has melted? With liquid this does not occur. Not everyone wants or needs a residual effect.

    If you don't put down the right amount of rock salt can the surface re-freeze?

    Liquids are simply another option to have available, the same as enhanced rock salt?

    Having the right tool for the right job is practical and another way to maximize your profits.

    Can you drive a nail with a sledge hammer? Yes but it's not always necessary. Why use rock salt if liquid brine will do the job?
  15. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963

    If you are making your own liquids, then your are losing out on opportunities to maximize your profits. There are alot of things that go into the decisions to using liquid. .... moisture content of the snow, Fluffy or not? ..... temperature ....... your contract requirements ..... pre-treatment requirements for preventing the snow bonding with pavement? etc.

    I have noticed alot of guys buying liquids and paying alot for them. For me it's about saving/making money and using the right tool for the job.
  16. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    I agree with Jim (kubota)
  17. fercho1

    fercho1 Member
    Messages: 31

    I think you called it right. He sounds like another salesman who is pushing his "own" product!wesport
  18. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,866

    Thanks for the info Kubota. I dont do a ton of salting but I do do enough to where I want to get away from the salt companies stealing from my pocket. I have always bought bagged product. This year I want to go 70-80% liquid and 20-30% rock. I'm also going to try buying by the ton and running it through my tailgate spreader. I added a vibrator to it last year and never once had a problem with it jamming up on me. I should have done that 4 years ago.... Spent alot of time banging on the dang thing and lost alot of moo la doing it.. Time is money folks.
  19. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,866

    O and also. MAking brine is not that difficult. Plus it's not like your working every single day in the winter. If you can make enough brine for two events before hand your golden. Like mentioned before its going to take and hour tops to make the brine solution. And if its super cold out just add some flake Peldow or such to your tank and bam you have "HOT" brine.
  20. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963

    Liquid salt brine POing salt company salesman for years.........PRICELESS ! :laughing: But attacking common sense? Iowa DOT started the ball rolling if I'm not mistaking, Illinois DOT worked and developed and tested what was called the super mix. Many other state DOT's followed, not to mention counties, boroughs, cities and private contractors. They must all be morons? I think not. :D

    Also figured out not to post near him, it's like a big bad vacuum and your post get deleted. :salute: