Pros and Cons of De-icing Agents

Pros and Cons of De-icing Agents

Canadian winters are notorious for being too long and too cold. When the majority of the year is constituted of cold temperatures and marked by snow, precautions to maintain safe surroundings become crucial. Ice or snow are accompanied by various hazards, some of which can even be fatal. As the winters approach, landscaping dos and don’ts have again come to the forefront, and how to tackle ice and snow to avoid accidents tops the list.

Making roads and sidewalks safe requires some conscious effort and the use of the correct agents. Deicers are chemicals that (contrary to popular belief) help in melting the snow and ice, thereby making it simpler to plow or shovel it. Deicers do not completely melt the snow away or help you get rid of it just through their use. Deicers come in solid and liquid forms. However, solids are more prominently used as compared to liquids. These are easier to use and, sometimes, provide quicker results.

How do De-icing Agents work?

Deicing agents, as previously discussed, are chemicals that react with the structure of the snow or ice to penetrate through it to the ground base. Their penetration into the ground helps loosen the ice or snow, thereby making it simpler to shovel or plow. But deicers are not effective by themselves. No, you do not need to buy more products along with them. Deicers need moisture to create a brine-like liquid which will help in uniformly disbursing the agent and making the ice or snow removable.

However, when using deicing agents, it is essential to understand and maintain the ideal ratio of moisture to deicer. If the moisture content is high, it will dilute the agent too much, thereby rendering it useless. Similarly, if the moisture content is low, it will not let the agent penetrate or disburse uniformly.

It is also vital to identify the shape of the deicers. Deicers come in various shapes, like round pellets, unequal shapes, squares, etc. Each of these would melt differently. It has been found through rigorous research that round pellets work best. Unequal granules, as conceivable, melt at different rates, whereas square ones may or may not melt properly.

While they sound somewhat helpful, you will find a lot of people who do not like to use deicing agents. Here are some pros and cons of deicers to help you understand the contention of each side.

Pros of Deicing Agents

Deicing agents provide a lot of benefits for private persons and are, therefore, a preferred mode of handling or tackling snow and ice problems in regions that experience heavy snowfall.

  • Safety: By helping to melt snow and ice faster, deicing agents make it safer for the residents of a place to walk and drive on roads and sidewalks without slipping or incurring accidents. Once the snow has melted, it is easier to shovel and remove it away from the walkways. Those who live in such conditions for extended durations would find this a massive pro.
  • Easy to use: Undoubtedly, deicing agents are incredibly easy to use. These are so straightforward in the application that even private persons can use them to clear out driveways and the roads in front of their houses. You do not necessarily need professional help to use them.
  • Money Saving: Most deicing agents, like rock salt, which is the most popular, are incredibly cheap. Rock salt is readily available in markets at about $10 for a 50-pound bag. In addition to being a cheap product, by removing the need for professional intervention, they also save you any investment in labor costs, which turns out to be a significant expense in snow-experiencing regions.

Cons of Deicing Agents

When talking of the cons of deicing agents, there are several big-picture cons to using these chemicals. Some of the top cons of using deicing agents include:

  • Harmful for vegetation: deicing agents can spell doom for the vegetation surrounding the area where they are used. The already suffering plants and grass buried under mountains of snow have a hard time surviving the cold conditions. It is the soil nutrients that keep some of them going. However, if salts are sprinkled on the snow, they can leach into the soil. Alternatively, passing vehicles can splash the salts onto the area where plants and trees are growing, which can then seep into the soil. This is extremely harmful to them and can cause them to die.
  • Corrosion: The majority of deicing agents out there are incredibly harmful to metals. Everyday things like handrails, drain covers, and doors made from metal can get rusty if these agents come in contact with them. The rust causes severe structural damage to all metal objects and can end up costing you more than it would hire professional help.

Furthermore, if snow is sprinkled on the roads where people walk, you can bring it inside your home through your shoes. The floors and carpets inside a house are easily ruined by the salt. For example, if, let’s say, you have hardwood floors that have been waxed, the salt would rub against the wax and cause it to come off quickly. On the other hand, other types of deicing agents can render your floors or carpets greasy and spoil them in a different way.

Deicing agents are chemicals, and like all chemicals, they, too, have a number of advantages and disadvantages. As such, if anyone chooses to use them, it is their responsibility to choose the correct variant that would suit their needs and, at the same time, cause as little harm as possible.

Additionally, it becomes vital to understand how to properly use deicing agents so that they work in the best manner possible. While deicing yourself is financial a significant bargain, the long-term consequences of improper deicing or use of incorrect materials must be considered for yourself as well as for the environment. Improper use of deicing agents can cause a plethora of long-term consequences, recuperating from some of which can be much more complex than you may anticipate.

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