Sidewalk Deicers

Home Inspector with Clarksville Home Inspections

Deicers work by chemically lowering the freezing point below 32 degrees to melt ice. Regular salt (sodium chloride) is the best know & proven deicer, but it's not the best choice if your concerned about the environment, or if temperatures get well below 32 degrees F.

Avoid damage with any deicer by following the application instructions & quickly removing the ice once melted from the area. Deicers are not intended to be used alone, they are meant to be an aid in the removal process. Here are 3 types of deicers.

Sodium Chloride (NaCl)

  • Irregularly shaped crystals
  • Considered chemically safe for use on concrete, but may cause freeze-induced damage to other masonry
  • Lowest effective temperature 20 degrees F.
  • Leaves a white powdery residue when it dries
  • Toxic to vegitation

Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2)

  • Flake form less effective than pellets

  • May cause freeze-induced damage to masonry

  • Lowest effective temperature 5 degress F.

  • Leaves no powdery residue

  • Safer for humans, animals, vegitation, & environment, compared to other deicers

Calcium Chloride (CaCl2)

  • Flake form less effective than pellets

  • Poses least threat of freeze-induced damage to masonry

  • Lowest effective temperature 25 degress F.

  • Used as directed will not harm vegetation

  • Leaves harmful residue on carpet, tile, shoes, etc.

Comments (2)

Rosario Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
GRI, SRES - DDR Realty - Orange County, NY
Walking on deicers is terrible for pets. Pads dry and crack, and residue is ingested when pets attempt to clean their pads by licking. I choose to not use deicers and spend more time scraping and shoveling. 
Feb 22, 2008 12:50 AM
John Goad
Clarksville Home Inspections - Clarksville, TN
Excellant point! Thanks for posting it.
Feb 22, 2008 12:52 AM