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11 Methods You Should Know To Keep Your Driveway & Walkway Free From Ice & Snow

11 Methods You Should Know To Keep Your Driveway & Walkway Free From Ice & Snow

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With the onset of winter and some heavy snowstorms ravaging the East Coast and Midwest, snow and ice removal counts among the most common pet peeves of home and business owners. You have a variety of options at your disposal, but which one is right for you? Here’s a few to consider:

Chemical Deicers

A topical treatment for sidewalks, walkways and driveways, deicers are typically sprinkled over ice to encourage melting. Not all work as well for cooler temperatures, however, and some can cause problems for pets and plants.

1) Sodium chloride, or rock salt

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Melts snow and ice
  • Performs well to 20°F.
Cons:

  • Studies have shown rock salt corrodes concrete and is harmful to the environment.
  • Rock salt also damages plants it contacts
  • Can irritate your pet’s skin
  • Requires clean-up and re-application with subsequent ice or snow

2) Calcium chloride

Pros:

  • Melts ice faster than rock salt
  • Works in temperatures as low as -25° F
  • Considered less harmful to concrete than rock salt
Cons:

  • Can damage plants if too much is used.
  • Requires clean-up and re-application with subsequent ice or snow

3) Potassium chloride

Pros:

  • Effective to temperatures of 12° F
  • Less harmful than calcium chloride to nearby vegetation.
Cons:

  • Works a little more slowly than other chemical de-icers
  • Requires clean-up and re-application with subsequent ice or snow

4) Calcium magnesium acetate

Pros:

  • Safer for concrete and the environment than road salt
Cons:

  • For colder climates, it doesn’t work well below 20°F.
  • Requires clean-up and re-application with subsequent ice or snow

5) Natural deicers

Pros:

  • Made from natural materials treated to avoid harming pets and the environment
  • Available in many hardware stores and pet stores; brand names include Sure Paws and Safe Paw Ice Melter
Cons:

  • May be more expensive than some of the other de-icing options
  • Requires clean-up and re-application with subsequent ice or snow

Traction

When it comes to avoiding the walkway slip and slide, some homeowners simply look to increase traction with materials such as sand, kitty litter, wood chips or straw.

6) Sand

Pros:

  • Provides grip for a less slippery surface
Cons:

  • Can travel into storm drains, leading to clogs, and impact local water systems
  • Tracks into your home and can damage wood floors and carpets.
  • Doesn’t actually melt the ice so can look unsightly
  • Requires clean-up

7) Wood chips/Straw

Pros:

  • Better environmental choices than sand
  • Both wood chips and straw provide more solid footing  over ice or compact snow
  • Easier to clean up than sand
Cons:

  • Can look unsightly and will need to be cleaned up
  • Don’t melt ice, just provide traction

Mechanical Force or Physical Labor

Depending on the amount of snow and ice your area receives, your time limitations and your ability to tackle physical chores around the house, you may want to consider powered – or manual – options to remove snow and ice.

8) Snow removal machines and equipment

Pros:

  • Can remove snow fairly easily
  • Available in various sizes to accommodate different spaces and needs
Cons:

  • Requires investment in specialized equipment that will require storage for the rest of the year
  • May not be effective on ice, so additional deicers or tools may be needed.

9) Shovel

Pros:

  • Minimal financial investment
  • Good chance to exercise (burns around 130 calories per every 15 minutes of work)
Cons:

  • The most labor-intensive option and may not be possible for those who are older or not in good health (be sure to have proper footwear to ensure stable footing while shoveling)
  • The most time-consuming way to remove snow
  • May need to also use a deicer or pick or other tool to remove ice or compact snow.

Heated Walkways & Driveways

Following the trend toward in-floor heating inside the house, heating walkways and driveways is an increasingly popular option to combat snow and ice.

10) HeatTrak mats (Check here )

Pros:

  • These portable heated walkway mats make short work of snow and ice
  • Keep the surface ice-free regardless of the temperature
  • No need to get outside to shovel or spread de-icing material
  • Useful for established foot-traffic areas
  • Safe, as each mat is equipped with an in-line Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
  • Easy to install and portable
Cons:

  • More expensive than traditional snow and ice-removal method
  • Walkway use only  – consider ProMelt installed mats for driveways and patios.
  • Foot traffic only

11) ProMelt mats (Check here)

Pros:

  • These heated mats are permanently installed beneath your new walkway or driveway and are ideal for those who don’t want to worry about dealing with snow and ice.
  • Usually activate automatically for your convenience
  • Can increase the value of your home
  • Doing it yourself is an option to save labor costs, but a professional electrician is recommended for the electrical hookup.
Cons:

  • More expensive than topical treatments for ice and snow removal
  • Installed beneath a new driveway or walkway before the concrete, stone or tile

For simple, worry-free snow and ice removal, heated mats, either portable or installed, appear to offer the best all-around option. Easy to install, effective and efficient, the heated surface provides an attractive, environmentally friendly choice that will leave you free to enjoy the best of winter – either outside, or from within the cozy confines of your home.

What works well around your home to remove snow and ice? Post your tips and share the ideas!

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