Melting Ice Safely
Each winter, people apply tons of ice-melting materials to sidewalks, driveways, and steps, often without regard to proper application procedures or to what the deicing substance contains. Careless use of deicing products can damage both the home and the environment. To prevent damage to your home and the environment, choose a deicer carefully. It is important not to use plant fertilizers or products that contain urea to melt ice or snow because the nitrogen or phosphorus in them can harm local streams and the bay. The runoff created by melting ice and snow from one small sidewalk may not cause much harm, but the cumulative effects across a region can create harmful levels of salts and nutrients that eventually pollute the bay.
See the table below for some of the ice-melting products currently found on the market along with information concerning their effectiveness and safety.
||Minimum Working Temp. ( °F)
||Damages Concrete & Metal?
|Sodium Chloride (salt)
||Ok on old concrete
*Sodium and calcium chloride are particularly damaging to newly poired concrete. Also, these chemicals should not be applied to brick or stone surfaces.
For additional information, read our fact sheet FS 707, "Melting Ice Safely" or call us at 1-800-342-2507.
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