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Salting Questions for the Pros!

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by BrokenMRanch, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. BrokenMRanch

    BrokenMRanch Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    HI, I've been plowing a large number of commercial accounts for years now. No one in town salts other than right around the entrance of their business. I want to add a salt spreader to the operation. Pre-salt, post-salt. Been doing alot of research and have some businesses convinced to try it, so bought a V box.

    My questions are:

    What temp is salt good down to? Below __ temp, do I need to have magnesium chloride on hand?

    What are good reasons to pre salt/salt during storm other than to minimize the hard pack, theoretically making post storm cleanup easier/cheaper.

    Are there any problems with running a salter down the parking lot lanes with cars/customers wandering around? Will the flying salt hurt the vehicles?

    Those are the main questions I have right now....other than that have I have 6 pallets of bagged salt, a Meyer V-Box ready to go. Thanks for all the help and your patience.
  2. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Salting help

    1)Salt / Sodium chloride will work effectively to about 18 degrees. It gets very slow as the temperature goes below 20 degrees. If you look at Morton Salt's site they even tell you that sodium chloride is five times less effective at 20 degrees than 30 degrees. So by the time you increase your application rate for colder temperatures, you can add you magnesium chloride to act as the catalyst to begin the melting process. Once the melting has begun by using the magnesium, the sodium chloride will dissolve and work.

    2) Pre-salting and salting during the event work more than in theory. Yes they help keep the snow from bonding and freezing into a hard pack which in turn we save your client money. It will also cause part of the snow & ice to melt even though the snow is accumulating on the top. Then when you plow you will be able to plow more snow because it is not frozen to the pavement and reduce the amount of material required after plowing.

    3) Never had any issue with damaging vehicles with flying material. However, you will need to be careful while making the application not to throw your material purposely onto cars.

    Hope this helps. We offer a snow & ice management manual that answers these and many other questions you might have concerning ice melters and snow work.
  3. chachi1984

    chachi1984 Senior Member
    Messages: 416

    -15 for white bulk and around -30 for treated bulk salt.

    only thing about pre salting is that if the snow comes down hard enough your going to
    have to plow it and then salt it after agian.

    If the customer pays for the salt than you can presalt more often,
    but if salt is included into the price than it can get pretty expensive.
  4. Spool it up

    Spool it up Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    it's all about the $$$$ . you do a " SEARCH " by clicking the right top side of the page here . where it says "SEARCH"

    you will find a plethera of information. more than you'll ever think you can conceive .
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  5. the_snoman

    the_snoman Junior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 8

    Wayne is correct, 18-20 deg range for salt alone. Salt will work below that but it will need some help from the sun, traffic, or liquid deicer and takes considerably longer. We have a pre-wet system we can activate when it's fairly cold to apply liquid calcium chloride to the salt on the chain. This will lower it's effectiveness to somewhere around 0 but I'm sure it will still continue to struggle. One of the most overlooked attributes when it comes to deicing is the color of the surface you're trying to deice. Dark black asphalt is substantially easier to deice than a light colored concrete if there is any amount of sunlight at all. For this reason I've seen salt work fairly well on a 15 degree day with some decent sunlight and light traffic but it's considerably better above 25. It's also important to mention that pavement temps are much more important than ambient air temp though both play a part.

    As for pre-salting, it does work very well under the right conditions as the snow tends to clean up nicer. It can also help cut down on the slipperiness until you get all the snow bladed off. Now with that said, it doesn't guarantee you'll not have to apply salt a second time however it usually means you'll apply quite a bit less the second time and get better end results. Obviously you'll have to figure this sort of thing into your pricing and with my experience, only the pickier customers will go for the extra cost. I think it could be difficult to show a big savings in your second application with these lighter duty spreaders as they're not terribly easy to change the application rate on. Our spreaders use Dickey-john control point systems to accurately meter and control both the granular and liquid systems which means we have a fairly accurate idea of the amount we're applying and therefor we can see the difference more clearly.

    As for salting down aisle ways we do it all the time. You do need to be very cautious when there are pedestrians as there often are. We usually stop the spreaders when this happens as it's not worth one person complaining to the manager, whether you hurt them or not. Also we've never damaged a car to my knowledge however if one person thinks you did they will look their car over until they find something. I would recommend keeping your spread pattern in a little on the narrow side during these situations and letting traffic drag it into the parking spaces. No matter what you can't make a crowded, busy lot perfectly safe but you can cut down the hazards.

    In the end, the only way to learn this stuff is to give it a go on your own and see what happens. When it comes to deicing, there is no substitute for experience as mother nature is always throwing some curve balls at you.

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    -15 for regular salt and -30 for treated?? You must get the super special stuff:confused:

    Everyone else gave you correct info

    TKLAWN PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,637

    I'm assuming he's talking celcius.