Understanding De-Icing Chemicals

Understanding De-Icer Chemicals BOLT Insurance

During the winter season, the parking lots and sidewalks of your business can become icy, slippery and wet due to snow, ice, and rain. This can create potentially harmful situations for customers and employees. They can slip and fall and injure themselves. To avoid potential claims and lawsuits, it’s a good idea to remove ice from all outside areas of your business premises. You can do this by using de-icing chemicals like ice melt or rock salt.


You can choose from 4 primary types of de-icing chemicals: sodium chloride (rock salt), calcium magnesium acetate (ice melt), magnesium chloride (ice melt) and calcium chloride (ice melt). When you decide on which de-icer is best for your business, keep in mind the pros and cons of each and how they affect the environment.


Advantages and Disadvantages of De-icers


There are pros and cons to any de-icing chemical you choose. In many cases, they have a mixture of both. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each de-icer.


Sodium Chloride


A big advantage of this chemical is that it is inexpensive, which is most likely why it is one of the more popular de-icing chemicals out there. However, a couple disadvantages are that it isn’t as effective in the lower temperatures and it can be damaging and corrosive to concrete, vegetation, and other surfaces.


Calcium Magnesium Acetate


This chemical is environmentally friendly, which is definitely a pro. However, it too can be less effective when the temperatures get lower and it is expensive. It can also cause damage to concrete.


Magnesium Chloride


Two advantages to this chemical is that it does work in lower temperatures and is also eco-friendly. It too, however, is expensive, and, if over applied, can harm vegetation.


Calcium Chloride


A big advantage to this one is it is fast acting.  It is the most effective de-icer in lower temperatures. But, again, another expensive chemical choice and can too harm vegetation, if you over apply it.


Sand Alternative


If you decide you don’t want to use chemical de-icers on your business premises, you can always opt for a traction improver.  Sand is a good example of this since all you have to do is sprinkle some down and it improves the traction making the area less slippery. The only problem with this option is it can be tracked inside your building and can take the shine off of your floors.


No matter which de-icing option you go with, it’s important that you know how to properly apply them to reduce the risk of injuries and accidents. For instance, de-icers work best when you coat your premises (walkways, stairs, parking lots, etc.) prior to, during and after bad weather to lessen ice buildup. You will also want to have business insurance, including commercial property insurance and workers’ compensation in the event a customer, client, or employee slips and falls on ice or snow and becomes injured.