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Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

Posted by NJTea (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 30, 05 at 6:58

Not exactly related to cars, but to driving. My driveway is steep down by the road and much to my dismay, I found last year my 2004 Passat can't handle any snow at all.

(I have a parking place at the foot of the drive for winter use, but often I can't even get the car in there when a snow build-up has occurred.)

I was thinking of spraying the drive with liquid snow-melt to prevent enough of a build-up to snow to at least allow me to get into the parking area.

Has anyone ever used it and does it work?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

In Minnesota, highway departments have done extensive research on clearing snow and ice accumulations (as you might expect!). One experiment that turned out well was to spray roads before the bad weather with a brine (water-salt solution) that stuck around long enough to prevent the snow from bonding so strongly with the road surface. Apparently a brine that is approximately 25% salt will not freeze to -6 F, and that takes care of most days around here. :-) The pre-wetted salt doesn't bounce on the road so much, so less of it has greater impact. Other chemicals can be used, too, to enhance the melting power of salt.

Here is a link that might be useful: PDF explaining more about MN snow-control techniques


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

They're pre-spraying the roads here in Indiana as well, and it does seem to help a lot. In any bad winter weather, it seems that the bulk of the accidents are during the first couple hours after the snow or freezing rain starts to fall, because the roads freeze up before the salt trucks have time to get to all of them. The pre-spray gives them a little breathing space so they can get the trucks out, and keeps many of those beginning of storm accidents from happening. I'm sure this practice has saved lives.

On a driveway, the problem you have is that the pre-sprays will only prevent the first maybe inch or two of snow from sticking. Then the snow starts sticking anyhow. (The pre-spray probably washes away.) The sprays would probably help you in lighter snows, but they won't do much for the bigger ones.


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

Thanks for the information.


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

If you have a lot of money, you can put in a heated driveway. Not sure if they would have to start from scratch or if they can sawcut the filamanets (or whatever they use) into existing pavement.

In CO they use magnesium chloride for the pre-spray - works good, but leaves a nasty film on windshield that is harder than heck to get clean!


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

Did anyone ever try a non-salt ice melter? Like Safe Paw? Did it work as good as salt based products? Even though the non-salt ice melters are more expensive, I'm willing to try it. There is also one called Zero Melt, a potassium chloride based product (vs. sodium chloride). I'm not sure if potassium chloride is salt. I've never tried Zero Melt. Anyone ever try these products? What was your experience? Do you recommend them?


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

Common sodium-chloride is what people generally call salt, but many of the other compounds used to melt ice are "salts" too, such as potassium-chloride and calcium-chloride. The advantage of most of these alternative products is that they are formulated to work down to lower temperatures than simple (sodium-chloride) rock salt. Sodium-chloride loses its effectiveness as an ice melter if temperatures are below about 15-20 F.

Of course, the advantage of sodium-chloride is that it's cheap and non-toxic. The other products are generally far more costly on a per-pound basis and may have chemicals in them that make them more toxic to people, animals, or plants. (Check the label of the product you're considering to determine whether this is or is not true for any certain product.)

The best advice is probably to have some of the non-sodium-chloride products on hand for times when temperatures are too cold for salt to work, but to just use salt when it's warm enough for it to work, due to its far lower cost. If you rarely see temperatures below 15-20 F where you live, you can probably save money by just using salt exclusively and not even bothering with the other products.


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

CowboyInd,

The reason why I wanted to try non-salt products was to avoid any long term damage to my lawn and asphalt driveway. I've read that salt eats away at concrete etc. and hurts grass and lawns.

I'm good about removing snow. My driveway and property are small anyway so it's not too much trouble for me. I have a one car garage so one car must be parked outside on the driveway. Even the smallest steps to one's car are very slippery and dangerous when everything ices over after freezing rain.

You raised a very good point about the possible toxicity of the alternative products. I never thought of that. The ZeroIce melt product states that it is "safer". Not sure exactly what this means. I'll have to do more reading up on this. I also didn't know that certain products are better for colder temps. Using both types is a good idea. Just the thought of falling on the ice makes me forget about the lawn, etc. very quickly. :) Thank you for your help.


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

Thanks for the follow up.

One of the more common "alternative salts" is calcium-chloride. They use it here (and probably also in Massachusetts) on the roads when it's too cold for salt to work. The highway department only uses it when absolutely necessary, though, because it's expensive and I've read that it also can damage pavement. As you said, so can salt.

I think the effects of any of the ice melting products, salt or the others, on pavement would be minimal if you use them in moderation. I have noticed that a lot of people dump far more salt down than is needed to do the job. In order to work, the salt has to dissolve in the water which results from the melting process. Excess salt lying around which hasn't dissolved has been wasted because it hasn't melted any ice.

One potential advantage of the non-sodium-chloride products is that they work better without foot or vehicle traffic. If you just pour salt on top of ice, often it doesn't do that great of a job until people walk on it or vehicles drive on it to grind it up and mix it with the melting ice. Some of the alternative products are said to create a chemical reaction which generates additional heat and helps them to dissolve faster and melt ice without the help of traffic going across the ice.


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RE: Liquid spray snow buildup/preventive

cowboyind,

"One of the more common "alternative salts" is calcium-chloride. They use it here (and probably also in Massachusetts) on the roads when it's too cold for salt to work. The highway department only uses it when absolutely necessary, though, because it's expensive and I've read that it also can damage pavement. As you said, so can salt.

I think the effects of any of the ice melting products, salt or the others, on pavement would be minimal if you use them in moderation. I have noticed that a lot of people dump far more salt down than is needed to do the job. In order to work, the salt has to dissolve in the water which results from the melting process. Excess salt lying around which hasn't dissolved has been wasted because it hasn't melted any ice."

Thanks. I appreciate that. Whenever I see salt, I'm so thankful for it because I really hate walking on icy sidewalks. I never thought of damage from excess salt before until I came across this thread looking for salt brands. I'll put down the product in moderation then, just where I need to walk. Maybe I should put a little on the pavement too, for the schoolkids walking to the bus.

"One potential advantage of the non-sodium-chloride products is that they work better without foot or vehicle traffic. If you just pour salt on top of ice, often it doesn't do that great of a job until people walk on it or vehicles drive on it to grind it up and mix it with the melting ice. Some of the alternative products are said to create a chemical reaction which generates additional heat and helps them to dissolve faster and melt ice without the help of traffic going across the ice."

What a good thing to know. Like everyone else, sometimes I'm very rushed in the mornings, and I need something fast acting. A little about myself, before I owned a suburban home, I never had to think of these things before. A big thank you.


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