A cool article on how salt melts ice, and how to use it properly to not harm pets, plants. It even tells you the most environmentally safe products to use. I hope you find it as helpful as I did. I would be eager to hear your thoughts if you have any other suggestions.
Tips on Using Deicing Salt Safely Around Your Home
Learn how salt melts ice, and how to use it properly to not harm pets, plants, and water.
There’s no denying it: Ice on steps and walkways is extremely dangerous, leading to countless injuries each year. It’s bad enough if you or a family member take a tumble, but it may be even worse if someone else does. Under certain circumstances, you could be liable if someone slips and injures themselves while on your property.
Thankfully, salt and ice can’t co-exist. Commercial deicers use various chemical variations of salt to melt away dangerous ice on patios, walkways, and driveways.
Unfortunately, those same chemicals can harm fish, wildlife, and household pets. In addition, they can corrode your hard masonry outdoor surfaces.
How Salt Melts Ice
Salt and deicers are effective ice-melting agents because they lower the freezing point of water, turning ice back into water. Salts and deicers are cheap, effective, simple to use, and easier than attacking ice with brute physical force.
How Deicing Salt Can Be Harmful
That same chemical magic that turns ice into water creates a very salty brine that can make household pets sick, and eats away at outdoor hardscaping made of concrete, brick, and stone.
Deicing products also can damage your plants by altering the chemical composition of the soil in planting beds and yards. Inside the home, tracked-in salt can mar carpets and wood floors.
The problem is bigger than your backyard, too.
“Salt is very soluble, and it runs off into nearby creeks, rivers, and lakes, where it can have a tremendous effect on native plants,” explains Jim Bissell, Director of Conservation at Cleveland’s Museum of Natural History.
Deicing products are blamed for fish and amphibian kills, aquatic dead zones, and corrosion of vehicles, bridges and roadways, plus a host of other environmental ills.
Choosing the Right Deicing Product
As a shopper for deicing products, you’ll have to balance your needs with any environmental concerns.