How to Properly Remove Ice in the House

Winter storms not only bring snow : they also cover your home, driveways and walkways with dangerous ice that you will need to remove safely. However, things can get a little confusing due to the various sprays, liquids and sprayers used to melt the ice. Here are the best foods and methods to rid your home of the ice this winter.

Buy the right ice melting product for your driveway and walkways

When it comes to melting ice, you have more options beyond simple rock salt . Some foods work better at lower temperatures, while others can harm the environment or harm the pets and plants in your home. Here are your best options:

  • Calcium Chloride: It works quickly and is effective in sub-zero temperatures. Unfortunately, calcium chloride can damage plants and grass. It will cost around $ 10-19 for £ 50. bag.
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate: It is harmless to the environment and will not damage grass or plants, but is not as effective in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Calcium and magnesium acetate can also damage concrete. It will cost you $ 20 or more for £ 50. bag.
  • Magnesium Chloride: It is environmentally friendly and safe for plants if not overused and works well in freezing temperatures. However, if you’re not careful, magnesium chloride will also be fatal to pets with kidney disease if swallowed. It will cost around $ 10-19 for £ 50. bag.
  • Potassium Chloride: It is harmless to the environment and safe for plants if not overused, but it is not very effective in temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit and is lethal to pets with kidney disease if swallowed. It will cost you $ 20 or more for £ 50. bag.

Standard rock salt (also known as sodium chloride ) is cheap and quite effective, but it also has many disadvantages. Rock salt does not work as well as alternatives at low temperatures, it can damage asphalt, concrete, brick, stone, metal, grass, plants, and wood (so almost any surface you can use it on), and it can be fatal to your pets if they swallow too much of it.

Once you’ve chosen the right type of melting ice for your home, you need to know how much you need. Check the instructions for the specific product you’re buying, but University of New Hampshire’s Margaret Hagen recommends using, for example, 1.5 to 3 pounds of calcium chloride per 100 square feet. You will need about 5 pounds of rock salt per 100 square feet to be effective. Before heading to the store, you absolutely need to know how much area you need to cover and the approximate number of times you will need to cover. It’s smart to plan for the worst, so consider buying a little extra in case you can’t get to the store later. A 50 pound bag is usually enough for a regular home start and then some others. If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container and save until next winter.

If you know you will have some particularly problematic areas, such as a staircase or walkway to your car, Esquire’s Diane Machern recommends using a “snow melt mat”. They work just like an electric blanket that you put on your bed. You lay it out, plug it into an outlet, and it will keep the room warm, so snow and ice cannot form there. They can be expensive , however : the smallest ones, designed for individual steps (10 x 30 inches), start at around $ 70.

Use melted ice correctly

The best way to deal with ice is to stop it before it forms. HouseLogic’s Douglas Trattner recommends pre-treating the walkways and driveway with a little de-icer before it snows. This will not prevent the snow from sticking, but will help prevent a layer of ice from forming under the snow. Plus, it gives you the ability to spot and avoid all of your plants, herbs, and gardens before they are all buried and look the same. Even if the ice melting product you are using is environmentally friendly, you may not want to pour it on all the plants.

Trattner also recommends mixing some grit or cat litter with the de-icer. When you walk on slippery, wet ground, or later shovel snow, you already have a layer of extra grip underneath.

If snow has already covered your home, you need to clear it before the ice begins to melt. Ice melting products do not work on top of snow. Safely clear the driveway and sidewalks and remove as much snow as possible. Access roads from gravel can be very complicated, because you can not dig their plastic shovels for snow, but people with offer a steel shovel and durable garden rakes, which will facilitate the cleaning of snow.

Once the area is clear, read the instructions on the label. Some may have special considerations, such as how much product should be used in a particular area, the types of surfaces to avoid, and the best way to spread the de-icer. However, for most foods, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Spread product evenly on the ground using a spreader, cup or hands if wearing protective gloves. Ice melting products are irritating, so keep them away from bare skin.
  • Never use melted ice on concrete that has not yet hardened.
  • If you feel like you’ve used too much on the site (or accidentally found a little near the grass or garden), quickly rinse the area with a little water. Reapply melted ice as needed.
  • Wear warm clothing when working outside.
  • Wear shoes that provide good traction, or wear ice spikes (yak-tras, crampons, etc.) over your shoes.
  • Keep pets away from melting ice and always wipe their paws off before they go inside.
  • If it snows again, remove it and apply melted ice if necessary.

For thick sheets of ice,YouTuber Erica Jaakkola recommends that you use a slate panel or ice crusher to break it up. A little lukewarm or boiling water may also help. After you clear the ice, use biodegradable kitty litter, sand, gravel, wood shavings, straw, or even fire ash to prevent further ice formation and improve surface adhesion. Keep in mind, however, that using too much will leave a lot of mess in the spring when everything melts. Use it sparingly.

Preventing and Clearing Roof Ice Dam

Ice dams are huge chunks of ice that form at the edge of your roof and prevent runoff water from draining to the ground below. They can rip off gutters, loosen shingles and cause leaks when the snow begins to melt, according to employees at This Old House . Ice dams are caused by the accumulation of snow, so the best way to prevent them is to remove snow from the roof after each blizzard. You can buy roof rakes at home improvement stores for this purpose, but this DIY snow blower is cheap to assemble and does a pretty good job.

Icicles are a sure sign of an ice dam. If you have a spot along the edge of your roof with a whole bunch of icicles, you should explore. If you can do it safely, grab a ladder and take a close look at what you are dealing with. If the icicles are only on the gutters and there is no ice behind them, everything is in order. If an ice dam forms, you need to get rid of it.

However, do not try to break it or cut it out with a chisel right away. Travel insurance suggests you fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride-based melted ice (not rock salt, it will damage your roof) and then place it vertically on the ice dam with one end pointing towards the top of your roof. This will melt the channel in the ice and allow the water to drain. If you can’t easily get to the roof or feel 100% comfortable doing it, get a professional for help.

If you can’t get to the store, do it yourself

If you’re reading this too late to get to the store, there is still hope. There may be things in the house that will melt the ice just enough for you to move it out of dangerous areas, such as stairs or the path to a car. Networx’s Philip Schmidt suggests using table salt (for obvious reasons), baking soda, and windshield wiper fluid as a last resort . Bob Vila recommends trying rubbing alcohol and suggests commercial fertilizers do the job well because they contain ammonium sulfate (which helps the ice melt faster even at lower temperatures). And, according to Julie Washington of , a solution of one part water and three parts vinegar can be used to melt small ice problem spots like windows and gutters.

What should i avoid? Vodka or other spirits, bleach, and soy sauce. While soy sauce may work a little, it will take a lot to effectively melt the ice. Better to use it to melt your taste buds.


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