Driveways and sidewalks filled with snow and ice are a pretty common sight in the US. During the winters, this becomes even more usual.
Due to its slippery nature, it is difficult to maneuver your vehicles over icy roads. Similarly, it also applies to walking. That’s why people resort to various ways to get rid of the ice.
One frequently used method is to spray salt over the roads and sidewalks. But, many of us can’t decide whether to use softener salt or regular sidewalk salt.
In this post, we’ll help you make a choice. Moreover, we’ll discuss how salts help melt ice. Then, we’ll go on to talk about ice melts. So stay tuned.
Can salt melt ice?
All types of salts: be it rock salt, sidewalk salt, or softener salt, can melt ice. By spraying a mineral solution, you can get rid of the accumulation of snow on the roads.
That’s why the utility companies get busy spraying salt solutions on the roads and highways during the winter.
But, how do the salts melt ice? The answer lies in a phenomenon called freezing point depression. Generally, the ions from the salt solution make their way between the water molecules. As a result, the water molecules cannot gather together to form ice. In such cases, water will convert into ice at much lower temperatures than its general freezing point. And, this is what we call freezing point depression.
In the winter, the average temperature stays between 20o F to 30o F in most states of the US. In states like Minnesota, Montana, Maine, North Dakota, the temperature goes below further.
Consequently, the water quickly turns into ice and spreads all over. In the meantime, there will be snowfall from time to time. The roads get covered with ice and snow soon enough.
Now, if you spray around salts on the roads, ice would not form. Also, the snow will melt away by the brine solution.
Can water softener salt melt ice?
Any water softener salt, composed of Sodium Chloride and Calcium Chloride, can melt away ice and snow that gather on the road. And, in general, this applies to all the softener salt out there.
On top of snowy roads remains an exceedingly thin layer of water. The softener salt crystals would dissolve into this water. Consequently, the crystals would break into cations and anions.
Now, the ions would surround the water molecules. As a result, the water molecules can’t take the crystal lattice formation.
So, you see, spraying salts on the roads would interrupt the ice formation process.
Can softener salt melt ice faster than sidewalk salts?
Although the softener salts can melt away the ice and snow, it would take much longer. On the other hand, the ice-melts or sidewalk salts will give you a faster response.
So, why does the softener salt take more time to melt ice? The reason lies in the structure of softener salt. Both softener salt and sidewalk salt have similar chemical components.
But, most water softener salts come in the form of small and round pellets. Generally, the size of the pellet increases in softener salts compared to sidewalk salts.
As a result, the surface area lowers in the case of softener salts. Due to reduced surface, a fewer number of salt molecules will be able to interact with water.
Consequently, it takes more time to melt away the ice and snow. So, if you want to clean your driveways fast, you should resort to sidewalk salts or ice-melts.
When should you use the softener salt to melt ice?
Although water softener salt might not be the first choice to melt the ice, it can be a handy choice when you’re running low on sidewalk salts or ice melts.
The softener salt will give you a slower response. But, it will make sure the ice and snow can’t accumulate on the roads. In most states, icy roads only happen during the winters.
That’s why the usage of sidewalk salt is seasonal by nature. On the other hand, most of us have water softeners installed in our house.
Due to this, you need to refill the softener chamber with salt from time to time. And that’s why we tend to store sacks of softener salts in our homes.
So, you see, there is a high probability that you have a shortage of sidewalk salts at home. But, you can always make up for that using softener salts.
Can softener salt harm the plants while melting ice?
An excessive amount of salt can be deadly for plants. That’s why you can use softener salt to melt ice on the roads or sidewalks. But, it wouldn’t be wise to spray that on the lawn or garden to remove ice.
The minerals like Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, or Calcium are called macronutrients for the plants. If you have a lawn or garden, you need to disburse salts there from time to time.
But, if there are too many minerals on the soil, it can be insidious to plants and trees. The excess salt will mix into the water and decompose into ions or electrolytes.
As a result, the ion density on the groundwater will increase. At a certain point, it would cause an imbalance. And, consequently, the trees wouldn’t be able to take in water through osmosis.
So, you see, you should be careful when rolling out softener salts on the lawn. It would be a temporary solution for the ice, but eventually, it would take away the fertility of the soil.
In these situations, we would suggest you use snow shovels or snow pushers. You can check out Snow Joe cordless electric snow shovel here on Amazon.
Our recommended products
The following list contains our recommended ice melts. If you’re willing to keep your roads safe and ice-free, you should check out the products.
- Snow Joe AZ-25-EB Melt-2- 25 lb
- Safe Paw Ice melt- 8 lb
- Natural Rapport Pet-Friendly Ice Melt- 10 lb
All these ice-melts are incredible if you want to clean away the ice fast. For most regions in the US, about 50 pounds of any ice melt would last well throughout the winter.
But, if there is heavier snowfall in your region, you would like to stock about 70-80 pounds of ice melter salt. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some of the best water softener salts, you should go for any of the Morton softener salts out there.
Here are some of the Morton products. Check those out on Amazon.
- Morton Morton-40D System Water Softener salt, 50 lbs
- Morton salt 1499 clean protect, 25 lbs
Also, if you’re looking for electric snow shovels to get rid of the snow and ice from the lawn, you should check out the Snow Joe cordless electric snow shovel. Check the product on Amazon.
Throughout this post, we discussed the various aspects of using softener salts to cleanse icy roads and sidewalks during winter.
In general, you should use ice melts to remove accumulated snow from the driveways. You should avoid using softener salts regularly to cleanse the roads.
Using softener salt should be your last resort when you’re running low on ice melts. You can always use electric snow shovels instead.
If you would like to read more helpful posts like this, you should visit our Aquaseep blog page over here. Take a look. Cheers!!!!