Adding too much salt to an icy surface wastes money and increases damage to concrete, metal, drinking water, and vegetation. It is a good rule of thumb to use deicers sparingly. Deciding how much to use depends on the deicer. A successful rate for rock salt is about a handful per square yard. If using calcium chloride, the amount needed is less—about a handful for every 3 square yards.
Here are some precautionary steps you can take to decrease the amount of deicer you’ll need.
- Shovel the snow early and often. If the temperature drops after a snowstorm, the snow can turn icy and be harder to remove.
- The more scraping and removal of ice that you can do, the less deicer you will need to use. Deicers work best on a thin layer of ice.
- After you remove all of the snow and ice, sprinkle salt sparingly.
- As the sun comes out or the temperature rises, the deicer will make a slushy mixture of water and ice. Remove this before the temperature drops again and you should have an ice-free surface until the next storm.
- Salt won't melt ice very well when the temperature is below 15° F, so don't use it on the coldest days. Try sand instead for traction.
- If pavement or sidewalk is dry and you still see salt, sweep it up and use it elsewhere or put it somewhere where it can't wash away.
- Work together with town officials, businesses, schools, churches, and non-profits to find ways to implement the above strategies. They might be able to easily work with contracted snow removal workers to reduce use.
Consider reducing salt use and achieving LID Certification for you organization. View the latest innovations on reducing the use of salt presented at our Salt Summit. Watch this video below for more assistance on using less salt.