Keep Your Concrete Safe This Winter
Anti-icing is the application of a liquid de-icer prior to the onset of a snow event or freezing rain. Much misinformation exists in the marketplace about anti-icing, what it does, and what to expect. Here are our answers to some of the most common questions.
What is anti-icing?
Anti-icing, when done properly, will melt the first centimeter or two of snow. Anti-icing prevents the bond of snow and ice freezing to the road surface. It also reduces the opportunity for “hard-pack” to develop and provides a wet surface under the plow’s cutting edge. This will allow of cutting edge to get down to asphalt. Anti-icing is so effective that in some cases you won’t even have to plow “nuisance snow” (snow that’s just a dusting).
Why is anti-icing a good thing?
Anti-icing takes a quantum leap towards preventing hard-packed snow (in most cases), which makes for safer conditions. It also gives the snow-fighter the upper hand because when a surface has an anti-icing treatment, the first pass of the plow will usually produce black and wet pavement. When anti-icing isn’t used, a fine, slick icy glaze is what’s left behind from the plow in the initial stages of snow-fighting. But with anti-icing, friction coefficients are dramatically improved since the anti-icier helps plows get down to black and wet pavement instead of icy and glazed pavement. The benefits from this are obvious.
When should I apply anti-icing?
It should be applied prior to a snow or freezing rain storm. When anti-icing liquid is applied correctly, it covers the desired area with a light barrier between the surface and falling snow. The liquid stays where it’s applied. It doesn’t scatter from vehicle traffic and/or the wind. However, tire wear and traffic can directly affect the anti-icing’s effectiveness since those applications may wear away from tire transfer before the bad weather arrives. For this reason, timing the anti-icing application is critical for optimal success. The benefit to “perfect timing”? You’ll waste less product and you’ll reduce environmental damage to the surrounding area.
Will anti-icing melt the first few inches of snow as it falls?
The claims by some companies that their product will melt the first few inches of snow are bold. If the snow is a light, low-moisture content, high-elevation “fluff” of two inches of “Utah diamond powder,” then maybe anti-icing can put a pretty good dent in it. But our experience is that one centimeter is about all you can expect from a properly applied anti-icing application. That’s less than half an inch.
Keep in mind our expertise evolves from our experience with the snows of the Northwest. It’s very similar to concrete before it sets up, and if you don’t attack it with the right tools and chemicals, it IS concrete when it DOES set up. Because of our deep experience with this type of snow, our anti-icing strategies will help you get the biggest bang for your buck.
Liquids are just another tool in the arsenal of snow-fighting tools. They are not the be all, end all, and they can’t provide the same level and effectiveness of snow and ice control as dry products.
Can anti-icing products help with sidewalks and stairs?
Manual snow removal followed by the application of an abrasive can keep sidewalks safe without the problems associated with deicers. Using deicers wisely, or replacing them with manual removal and abrasives, can minimize the potential for damage while keeping steps and sidewalks safe.
What do I need to know about anti-icing today?
The world of snow and ice management is constantly changing, and you’ll find us on the leading edge of those changes. Anti-icing systems now come with ground-speed controllers and carefully designed dispensing equipment that prevent over-treatment. Over-treatment is often the principle cause of problems with deicers. When problems like slickness or surface damage occur, you can usually trace this back to over-treatment. Apex Exterior Cleaning carefully evaluates each customer’s needs and then make suggestions as to which anti-icing products will deliver the best performance and work best for your environment. Contact us today for service in Richland, Kennewick, Tri-Cities, Pasco, or West Richland, WA.