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There seems to be controversy when it comes to conversations about salt and what it can do – or not do -- to asphalt surfaces. So what is the truth? What are the best practices when it comes to keeping your asphalt ice-free during the winter? Let’s take a look at the effect of salt and deicers on your surfaces, and the different products commonly available: their effectiveness and which are safest for pets, vegetation, and children.

Ideally, you should use deicer on your driveway before the snow falls. However, if you haven’t done that and the snow is already on the ground, you can still apply it. Late application doesn’t work as well, and you’ll have to make sure you get the driveway cleared – potentially by a professional depending on the depth of the snow.

Salt isn’t as hard on asphalt surfaces as many people think. Salt doesn’t cause as much damage to asphalt as it does to concrete or gravel surfaces. Owners of professionally installed asphalt shouldn’t worry about pavement damage by salt usage. This is because hot-mix asphalt surfaces are composed of petroleum, stones, and sand. A professional asphalt pavement installation is designed to sustain the harsh freeze and thaw cycles of the winter season. Concrete and gravel surfaces incur severe damage with rock salt, which can lead to pitting and cratering of the pavement surface. As a result, those types of surfaces are less effective at holding up against weather conditions and eventually need to be replaced more often.

Understand that potholes are not the direct result of salt application on your driveway, but rather ice buildup. You should beware of crackling on your asphalt surface and be proactive by sealing before it’s too late. Potholes develop when water penetrates exposed cracks in your asphalt driveway; followed by the freeze-thaw cycles which expand and contract the water as it freezes, developing bigger cracks that transform into potholes. In addition, the constant weight bearing of the asphalt surface from cars and trucks directly affects the weaker paved areas. Staying on top of your snow removal will greatly extend the life of your driveway.

Shovelling or plowing your driveway regularly is the most efficient way to lessen your environmental impact as the amount of salt or other deicers would be much less. There is an assortment of products available to choose from, depending on your needs. The environmental truth of using salt is that runoff water containing salt greatly affects plants, wildlife, and your local waterways.

Rock salt, also known as halite, is a form of sodium chloride (NaCl), the same as table salt. It is a mineral that is found in sedimentary deposits and is often used in water softening and melting snow. Rock salt, also known as unrefined salt or solar salt, is a type of salt that is harvested from the earth. It has not been purified for human consumption like table salt, so it contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It also contains harmful elements like lead and arsenic.

Sodium chloride is inexpensive and helps keep moisture from accumulating on roads and walkways, but it is not an effective deicer at low temperatures [only good down to -9°C (15°F)], damages concrete, poisons the soil, and can kill plants and harm pets.

Calcium chloride works at very low temperatures and isn't as damaging to the soil and vegetation as sodium chloride, though it costs a bit more and may damage concrete. Calcium chloride attracts moisture, so it won't keep surfaces as dry as many other products. On the other hand, attracting moisture can be a good quality since calcium chloride releases heat when it reacts with water, so it can melt snow and ice on contact. All deicers must be in solution (liquid) to start working; calcium chloride can attract its own solvent. Magnesium chloride can do this too, though it isn't used as commonly as a deicer.

Potassium Chloride melts ice slower than other types of products but is the safest to use around pets.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is a combination of lime and acetic acid (found in vinegar). It comes in liquid or solid form, takes less product to work and is more environmentally friendly.

A combination of magnesium and calcium chloride is safer than chloride-type ice melters around pets, plants and people. It works at very low temperatures, but you must use large amounts for effective melting, and it can corrode concrete surfaces.

Propylene glycol-based products (often combined with urea) offer a safe dog option, but propylene glycol damages a cat’s red blood cells if swallowed.

Depending on what your needs are, and how much snow and ice accumulate in your area in a season, will define how you can deal with it. Overall it is best practice to keep your driveway clear of snow and ice through consistent clearing – either by you or a professional snow removal company. The next step is to decide what type of deicer you will use for the surface you have – and other factors such as environmental impacts, children and/ or pets.

How wonderful would it be to never have to shovel snow again – without moving to a warmer climate? This is a possibility when you hire professionals to come and do it for you!

Get Easy and Safe Access to the Property

  • By hiring a professional snow removal company for your home, you can rest assured that an experienced and skilled crew will arrive with the necessary tools and equipment to complete the job. They will ensure the entryway is free of snow and ice deposits for easy accessibility.

  • Avoid Paying Heavy Fines

  • Some cities and provinces have hefty fines for commercial and residential property owners if they do not clear their driveways and sidewalks. It is beneficial to hire professional snow removal services to avoid such situations.

  • Reduce the Chances of Mishaps and Injuries

  • Choosing to remove snow yourself using heavy equipment in the cold temperatures can prove harmful if you do not know the right techniques for the job. Moreover, it can also be a health risk for some people. By working with a reputable snow removal contractor, you can ensure the snow will be removed properly, preventing accidents and injuries to you and your family.

  • Get Fast Snow Removal

  • By hiring a professional snow removal crew, you can get the snow removed from your property quickly. They have the expertise to get the job done in the best possible way and can come up with an appropriate solution to remove snow off your property swiftly and efficiently.

  • Get Guaranteed Service

  • Having a contract with a snow removal company can ensure you get guaranteed service without needing to call in for an appointment each time you need them. Doing so will help you save time and money. Remember: when there is a substantial snowfall, you won’t be the only one calling for service!

  • Get Clear Driveways During Holidays and Storms

  • Professionals who offer snow removal services can schedule work before and during the holidays, at your convenience. They can also help you clear out the snow after a storm to ensure your driveways and walkways are safe to use. Going on vacation? The crews can make sure you stay clear of snow while you’re gone.

High-Quality Results & Clean Aesthetic

  • Snow removal companies have the resources and experts who are well-versed in the best techniques to clear snow completely. In addition to improving the safety of your property, they will also make sure your home is aesthetically pleasing.

Talk to us today about our Residential Snow Clearing contracts and stop shovelling

snow for good!

It is extremely important to clear the parking spaces, carports, and walkways after a snowfall to give safe access to family & friends, workers, clients, and others. Quickly expelling the snow and limiting frosty surfaces is important to diminish the likelihood of slips and falls. It also shows clients you are open for business.

When it doesn’t snow too much at once it is easy to deal with on your own, yet when there is a substantial accumulation, it is time to call in the professionals. It is in these times that it is a good idea to already have a contract in place with a snow removal company, as you won’t be the only caller on those days!

Extreme temperatures and heavy snowfall prevail in the Peace Country often from October through March, and frequently into April. When snowstorms are predicted by local forecasters, it might already be too late to take measures expected to expel large amounts of snow and ice, safeguard the property and water pipes, keep everyone safe, and let your business operate smoothly. With arrangements made in advance, you can greatly restrict the impact of the disruption from “snowpocalypse”.

Why is it Important to Keep Your Property Free of Ice?

Not only does ice pose a hazard to your property, it also puts people at risk of accidents. Assuming you have a plan in place on how to deal with your snow, you need to consider the ice that could be hidden beneath even a thin layer of it. For business owners, employees who get injured when they slip and fall on ice could cost the company workers’ compensation and you may be short-staffed for a while if your employee needs time to recover. If one of your customers is injured in an accident caused by ice, your company’s reputation could be at stake, and you may end up in a lawsuit. Similarly, residential places are often bound by (at least) by-laws on keeping sidewalks clear to reduce the opportunity for anyone to slip and fall and become injured – also potentially resulting in lawsuits.

While safety risks are always at the forefront of your mind, ice also poses a danger to your property. Ice builds up on cement and asphalt and can cause cracks and potholes to form on the surface, and when the weather switches to warmer days with cold nights, that ice melts deeper into cracks, then freezes and expands – creating even bigger cracks and potholes for you to deal with.

Working with a professional snow removal company is the best way to keep your property free of ice & snow. While we can’t control the weather and keep snow from falling or ice from forming, we promise to do everything in our power to minimize the effect that ice & snow have on your property. We work with you to determine the best options for keeping your property clear – timing of clearing, how often (based on inches of accumulation), where to pile snow, or if hauling it away is more appropriate. We have a sidewalk program that helps you keep your walkways and doors clear of ice & snow all winter long. We also offer Ice Control to keep your parking lot or driveway from becoming a skating rink. Contact us today to find out how we can help you stay safe this winter!

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