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Which Deicer Is Best? by Dale Keep, Leading North American Snow and Ice Industry Consultant and Trainer
With all the liquid deicers being marketed today, how do I pick the one that is best for me? This question is not easily answered, but there are some things that can be done to help in making the decision. Determine what materials are available to you. There is no use in spending lots of time learning about a product that is not readily available in your area. Gather data about all the products that are available in your area. Information should include the following: 1. Phase curve, showing the brine concentration and correlating freeze point of the material. 2. Table giving the active ingredient’s specific gravity and concentration, and the brine’s freeze point. 3. Concentration of the material to be delivered for use. 4. Weight per unit of purchase. 5. Corrosion rating of the material. By what method of testing were results obtained and who ran the tests? 6. A chemical breakdown of what the material is. Is it a good pure brine of the base ingredient or is it a blend of       other active ingredients not counting the corrosion inhibitor included with the product? 7. If the material contains a corrosion inhibitor, what is it? Sometimes the inhibitor additive can have associated     environmental issues you should be aware of. 8. Price per unit of delivery. 9. Typical delivery time. 10. Delivery size for best value. With this information the next step is to determine what is important to you, the user, and to your customers. Questions asked should include: 1. Are chlorides an issue? 2. Is corrosion an issue? 3. In what temperatures (knowing surface temperature is preferred to air temperature) do you expect to use the     product? 4. What is the total cost of use of the product, and not just the purchase price? 5. What are my environmental concerns, if any? 6. What does this product do to flowers and other plants? Is this a concern? 7. What is the effect of this product on concrete, tiles, or other materials? 8. What is the total cost of use based on performance and other potential factors? When the information has been accumulated for all materials being considered, go through the process of comparing them. Determine which one is truly best for you and your customers based on the information you have. If you have questions about the data received or if data is missing, call the provider and ask for it. When used with a systematic approach to deicer purchases, this information — product data, knowledge of your area and customers — can be most beneficial. If problems are encountered in evaluating the data, contact Ice and Snow Technologies, LLC for assistance or for an analysis completed on your behalf.