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De-Icing Vs. Anti-Icing

by saltbrine on Friday, September 9, 2011 12:25 PM

De-icing and anti-icing are two different directions one can take in order to clear up a driving or walking surface from ice or snow.  De-icing is a reactive approach which is traditionally done before a snow fall while commonly using rock salt, sand, or a combination of both. Rock salt is an effective solution for industrial snow removal via snowplows or dump trucks, however, in extremely cold conditions (25°degrees and below) the rock salt becomes less and less effective. Sand is used primarily for increased traction, but since it technically doesn’t melt the snow or ice it isn’t considered a “de-icer” but it still commonly used in everyday de-icing. Sand on pavement can have a negative environmental impact as well. A combination of the rock salt and sand is also a common de-icing technique. This method improves traction due to the sand but because of the sand in the mix it decreases the amount of rock salt and therefore decreases the amount of de-icing.

Anti-icing is a proactive approach to preventing an ice or snow build up on driving or walking surfaces, this method is used before a storm.  Anti-icing helps prevent a strong bond between frozen precipitation or frost and a pavement surface by timely application of a chemical freezing point. Anti-icing can help create safe winter driving and walking conditions and depending on the type of storm coming in, can be a cost effective solution to de-icing. Magnesium chloride is the most common anti-icing liquid used because it can be spread along the pavement before a storm arrives and is extremely fast acting.

Both de-icing and anti-icing methods are extremely important in order to keep your driveway, sidewalks, and roads safe during winter conditions.


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