The season of ice and snow is upon us. As a business owner or property manager, you know that this is also the season of additional potential liability, since sidewalks and parking lots become slippery and potentially dangerous with almost any weather event. You likely already have a snow removal contractor lined up, but if you don’t, you should find one soon. Ice can be a different issue entirely, since it can show up without snowfall, as long as we have freezing temperatures. Read on for tips you can use for keeping ice off your parking lot and walkways this winter.
De-icing is one of the most common methods for keeping ice off of surfaces, though it isn’t as effective alone as it is when mixed with anti-icers. For de-icing, salt is applied on top of the snow and ice bonded to the surface, causing it to melt. Melting ice with salt after it is bonded to the surface can take a lot of salt and requires a lot of time and energy. The goal should be to melt it just enough so that it can be plowed off; you should not apply enough to melt all of the ice on its own, as that is a waste of time and salt.
Anti-icing methods are a proactive approach and the best way to use salt. Anti-icing is accomplished by applying a salt solution to surfaces before the winter weather hits. Instead of dealing with the ice after it has become a problem, anti-icing is done before the ice and snowfall, before the problem even begins, so it doesn’t happen. Anti-icing prevents snow and ice from bonding to the hard surfaces, working from the surface up to melt the snow and ice before they can be compacted down and cause serious, dangerous issues. Because of this, anti-icing helps protect you from liability better than de-icing methods. Anti-icing is also more cost-effective, often costing a small percentage of what de-icing does and using much less salt. In fact, studies have shown that when you apply anti-icing, you need to apply less salt after the weather event, and sometimes you don’t need to apply more at all. Anti-icing is also quickly applied, and it can be applied several days in advance as long as it isn’t going to rain in the meantime.
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