Every winter millions of people living in the US have to deal with the challenges that come along with all the snow, ice and unrelenting cold of winter months. Since the extreme cold poses quite a threat for residents, it pays to know your options so you can select the right snow or ice melt for your home. Here, we are going to take a look at some of your best options when it comes to snow and ice melts for homeowners. But first, let’s clarify some facts about what goes into melting snow. So, let’s begin.
Why Using a Snow / Ice Melt is Important?
Knowing your options when it comes to snow and ice is crucial for homeowners during the cold, winter months. While there are many options when it comes to anti-icing or de-icing methods that are available in the market, it is smart to find out which options work best to keep your home safe from snow and ice.
How Does it Work?
The use of ice melt involves a chemical process. While rock salt is more commonly used as a deicer, there are many other chemicals that can also be used similarly. All of the chemicals which are used to melt ice work by reacting with the water to create heat, which in turn, melts the ice. Ice melt works by lowering the freezing point of the water, generating enough heat to melt the ice. When the chemicals that are used in the deicing formula come in contact with moisture they form a brine, which is basically a solution of water and chemicals. As the brine spreads throughout the surface of the ice its temperature is relatively higher than that of the ice. This leads to the melting of the ice, and in many cases, can prevent the ice from forming. That’s why its recommended to apply an ice melt product before it begins to snow.
As the ice melt reacts with the ice that’s formed, the temperature of the ice melt lowers, while the freezing point of the water rises until eventually, the heating generated reaches a point where it can no longer increase, nor the freezing point of the water decrease. This is called an eutectic temperature. Once this temperature is reached the ice melt is no longer of use, and cannot be effective in melting the snow. That’s why it’s important for homeowners to take into consideration the climatic conditions of where they live before purchasing an ice melt product.
As we review the ice melt products in this list and the chemicals that are used, you will begin to notice that they have various temperature ratings. Ice melt products that have a lower temperature rating take longer to reach their eutectic temperature, and are therefore considered to be more effective during severe snowfall. That said, ice melt products that have a lower temperature rating are referred to as being hotter, which is why they are considered to be much more effective when it comes to melting ice and preventing the ice from refreezing.
While rock salt is commonly used as a deicer, there are many other chemicals that can be used for the same purpose, and can also be more effective than rock salt, depending on the temperature of the ice. The most chemicals that are used in ice melt products range from common rock salt to calcium chloride, potassium acetate, magnesium chloride, potassium acetate, and calcium magnesium acetate. Some ice melt products are also made from blended calcium products.
While the chemicals that an ice melt or deicing product contain will be of little concern for homeowners, it does help to have knowledge about the type of chemicals that an ice melt or deicing product is made up of. Another important factor to consider when selecting an ice melt of a deicing product is the temperature of the region you are living in. For instance, chemicals that are slow acting will be good choices for places that receive heavy snowfall. Other factors to think about is the effects of the ice melt or deicing product on the plants or any pets you may have.
Those homeowners who have pets will want to find an ice melt or deicing product that’s harmless to their pets. There are also some chemicals that harm concrete, so those are not good options if you have a concrete driveway. So, how is a homeowner to know which ice melt product is the best option for melting the ice outside their home? Let’s find out.
Snow Melt vs. Ice Melt
While the distinction between snow and ice may not be entirely logical, it is when you think about it, since snow is made of individual ice crystals, while ice is referred to as solid sheets of ice or snow that has been compacted to a point that it has become a solid piece of mass. In other words, water which has frozen and lying on the surface can also be seen as ice while snowflakes that have fallen from the sky is snow. The real question here is that of the temperature. While solid ice requires a high temperature in order to melt as compared to light snow that’s not heavy and compact. What this means is that the temperature that’s needed to melt ice and snow are different, and hence, require different methods to melt more efficiently. This also means that different ice melt and deicing products will have a different effect with the snow or ice. For instance, rock salt can only melt snow and ice to a temperature of around 5 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable only for melting light snow.
Ice melt products normally use one of the chemicals that have been mentioned earlier or a combination of them. When discussing ice melt products, the truth is, rock salt does not fare well, which is why we can call it a snow melt product, at best. But, when we compare rock salt based ice melt products to a chemical based ice melt product such as calcium chloride, we find that the difference in the two are quite clear. For example, compared to the 5°F melting capacity of rock salt, calcium chloride can melt down to 25°F, making it hotter than rock salt, and therefore, more effective in heavy snowfall.
Although the melting temperature of the ice melt product is just one factor homeowners need to look into when purchasing an ice melt product, the different chemicals in these products also come along with their share of benefits and disadvantages. For instance, the only benefit of using rock salt is its low price, while other chemicals that are used in the ice melt products may be corrosive and bring harm to pets and plants.
Snow Joe MELT25IB-BKT Melt-2-Go
- Will not harm grass, wood, concrete, metals, or other vegetation
- Long lasting, time-relaxed formula provides superior traction control
- Enhanced with CMA (calcium magnesium acetate) for fast and effective results
- Eco friendly and pet friendly
- Color-coated crystals help you visually measure the right amount
Snow Joe MELT25IB-BKT Melt-2-Go – Overview
The main ingredient in Snow Joe MELT25IB-BKT Melt-2-Gobeet juice (no joke), making this one of the most eco-friendly products out there. The deicing capabilities of the Snow Joe MELT25IB-BKT Melt-2-Gois increased two-fold with the inclusion of calcium magnesium acetate also known as CMA. One of the things that set CMA apart from other similar chemicals is that it is one of the safest chemicals that can be used in an ice melt or deicing product.
Eco-Friendly and Effective Solution
The eco-friendly and effective combination of beet juice and CMA means that Snow Joe MELT25IB-BKT Melt-2-Go can melt down ice to -25 degree Fahrenheit, making this particular product highly effective. Apart from that, the Snow Joe MELT25IB-BKT Melt-2-Go is also considered to be an all-natural and eco-friendly product that’s easy on the environment and highly effective as a deicing solution. The product can also provide ice protection for up to 20 hours, which is more than you can say for other deicing products.
Safe Paw Ice Melter
- Concentrated pellets cover twice the area of rock salt
- Timed-Release formulation helps prevent re-icing for up to three days
- Safe for concrete brick and stone
- Non-toxic safe to use around people, pets and children
- Includes a proprietary tracking agent
Safe Paw Ice Melter — Overview
Safe Paw Ice Melter uses a chemical known as carbonyl diamide along with a mixture of glycol and related active ingredients. The mixture created is able to cover more than twice the area of coarse salt, making this option ideal for homeowners who have to use an ice melt on a large area.
Another selling point for the Safe Paw Ice Melter is that it’s completely non-toxic, meaning this product is safe to use even if you have children, pets or plants.
Long Lasting Ice Melt Protection
The ice melt solution used in this particular product allows ice protection for up to -2° F. Safe Paw Ice Melter also uses a time-release formula that enables its effects to last up to three days, providing you with a long-lasting solution during snowfall. This long-lasting time release ability of Safe Paw Ice Melter makes it the preferred option for many homeowners.
Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT
- Enhanced with CMA
- Color-coated crystals help to visually measure and dispense the right amount
- Eco, pet- and kid-friendly
- Anti-Caking Agents Added for Extended Shelf Life
- Long lasting, time-relaxed formula provides superior traction control
Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT — Overview
Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT is another ice melt product that provides an effective way to melt ice with the help of a solution that includes calcium magnesium acetate. The ice melt product goes to work almost immediately in melting the ice that’s formed. The Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT also features a delayed formula which allows for long-lasting protection against the ice reforming.
Safe for Concrete, Pets and Plants
One of the main selling points for the Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT is that it’s perfectly safe to use in households that have children or pets. And that’s not all, the formula is also safe to use around plants and on various surfaces such as, concrete, wood and metal. Another benefit of using Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT is that it doesn’t leave behind any residue so there’s no staining in the front porch or driveway of the product after it has been used.
Snow Joe AZ-25-CCP-BKT Melt-2-Go
- Contains 94% Pure CaCl2 Pellets for enhanced strength
- Generates heat instantly upon contact with snow and ice
- Lasts up to 24 hours for superior traction control
- Safer for use on sidewalks
Snow Joe AZ-25-CCP-BKT Melt-2-Go – Overview
Snow Joe AZ-25-CCP-BKT Melt-2-Gocould easily be considered as the enhanced version of the Melt-2-Go Premium Calcium Chloride ice melt. For starters, the Snow Joe AZ-25-CCP-BKT Melt-2-Go contains all of the ingredients as the latter, and then some. This enables it to melt down to -25° F.
Costs More, Burns Through Ice Faster
One of the most common complaints of those who purchase the Snow Joe AZ-25-CCP-BKT Melt-2-Go is its price, which is more than other ice melt products available in the market today. But, in the product’s defense, it does contain up to 94% of pure calcium chloride, which is what makes this particular product so effective as compared to others. As a result, you can expect to see the ice melt faster than other ice melt products.
Snow Joe AZ-25-CC-BKT Melt-2-Go
- Melts down to -25°F
- Generates heat instantly upon contact with snow and Ice
- Lasts up to 24 hours
- Safe for use on sidewalks
Snow Joe AZ-25-CC-BKT Melt-2-Go – Overview
The Snow Joe AZ-25-CC-BKT Melt-2-Go is a premium quality product that is used to melt ice more efficiently. The effective ice melting formula enables Snow Joe AZ-25-CC-BKT Melt-2-Go to melt ice down to -25°F, and its effects can remain for up to 24 hours.
The formula used in the Snow Joe AZ-25-CC-BKT Melt-2-Go is also non-tracking, which means that you are not going to bring any footprints into your home after using this product. Another selling point for the Snow Joe AZ-25-CC-BKT Melt-2-Go is that it’s extremely affordable when compared to other similar products.