Planning Ahead: How to Properly Prevent Ice On Your Driveway and Entrances to Prevent Accidents
Winter will be here sooner than we realize in our region, and more common than snow-dusted branches and picturesque landscape is the threat of hidden ice. Even with diligent snow removal, ice can remain or build overnight when snowmelt refreezes.
Around our homes, ice can pool in low areas, around downspouts, and even on inclines. Shorter daylight hours can obscure icy patches, making them more dangerous – even close to the house. Slip-and-falls are common in emergency rooms, with most of these accidents occurring at home.And believe it or not, now is the time to prepare before proper tools and equipment are off the shelves in local hardware stores.
So what’s the right way to salt the areas around your home?
How to properly prevent ice
Starting with the right de-icing salt is essential, as rock salt in particular can damage both concrete and asphalt when improperly applied. It can also be fatal to delicate plants and shrubs if used in abundance, so application matters as well.
If you have pets and walk them on salted surfaces, many products can burn their paw pads resulting in painful injuries and a lengthy recovery. Therefore, be sure to choose either a pet-safe de-icing product or one that won’t harm surfaces or nearby plants.
As you venture out to treat walkways and driveways around your home, be sure to dress warmly in footwear appropriate for your conditions. Begin by removing as much snow as possible from designated areas. If your area expects more snow, be sure your snow pile won’t collapse back into the cleared pathway.
Next, use a spreader or scoop to distribute your de-icing product evenly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. More product isn’t necessarily better and could damage the surface or surrounding plants or grass. Avoid using your bare hands as de-icer is a chemical with specific hazards.
Once the de-icer has done its job, don your cold-weather gear and head back out to clear the melted snow and ice. Refrain from piling this material onto grass or other plants as it now contains the de-icing chemicals.
Finally, re-grit your walkways and driveway to provide traction and prevent refreezing. If you have a few mild days, you may want to sweep the product to the side for use later or remove it altogether, so it doesn’t harm structures or pathways.
De-icing products can be stored safely for next season so long as you can keep moisture out. If you are disposing of unused product, check with your local trash guidelines since de-icing materials contain chemicals.
With the right application and a few thoughtful steps, the area around your home can be safe and dry for the whole family – as well as delivery personnel!