Melting The Ice

Home Inspector with Diadem Property Inspections - Serving Southeast Michigan


Melting The Ice

According to the Weather Channel, we have another 8-12 inches due in about 36 hours. So I went to the store today to pick up some more salt.

Now, I typically buy rock salt (sodium chloride) because it is the least expensive stuff. This is the same stuff the road crews spread over Michigan pavement each winter. The problem is that it is only effective down to about 20 degrees F.

So, with colder weather on the way, I thought I'd ask about some of the other options.

Hint: If you ever need to know something, skip the big box stores, head to your local hardware store, and find the grouchy old man who's worked there forever. This works for any topic from home maintenance to world peace.

Here are some of the other alternatives:

Potassium chloride is effective to 12 degrees.

Magnesium chloride and sodium acetate, which are effective to 5 degrees.

But the king of the ice melters is calcium chloride , which is effective down to minus 25 degrees F.


Stay warm!

Posted by


Jason Channell     Twitter - Home Inspection LinkedIn Twitter - Home Inspection

Diadem Property Inspections
(888) 699-8710

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Learn more:

Michigan Builder's License 2101198700
Environmental Solutions Association 3818 -- Certified Mold Inspector & Assessor, Certified Allergen Inspector
International Indoor Air Quality Commission CC1983 --  Indoor Environmental Certified Consultant


Comments (3)

Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Although I now live in Texas, I spent more than half of my life in Chicago and never knew that potassium chloride, sodium acetate, and calcium chloride melt ice.  I am forwarding this info to my relatives and friends in Chicago. 

Jan 30, 2011 03:51 PM
Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

OMG, Jason, you cracked me up.  But, you so hit the nail on the head - ask the seasoned professional - someone like YOU!!!!  I will forward this to the kids still living in the Chicago area - they both called tonight to tell us the same weather forecast - 24-36 inches with blowing drifts expected.

So, I am reminded of a time I was visiting my parents house in Iowa during the winter.  A horrible storm came through and we had to use our hair dryers to thaw out all of the ice around their metal door to be able to get outside - I'll never forget THAT experience. 

And, people wonder why I moved to Scottsdale, LOL. 

Jan 30, 2011 04:20 PM
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

another thing that works is alcohol.. (not the kind you drink, isopropyl 97%) .. We don't have very much ice here, thankfully.. but when we do, I use alcohol on the  walkways and driveway.. It works great.. Thnaks for the new ways.. I'll have to try them too!!

Jan 31, 2011 02:02 AM