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Anti- and De-Icing Techniques for Snow Management

When performing anti-icing and de-icing techniques, managers and crews also should be aware of and use best practices:

  • Measure surface temperature. Knowing surface temperature is a critical first step in determining if it is appropriate to apply salt and, if so, when. Depending on the time, not all surfaces can be treated the same, and not all surfaces will have the same temperature.
  • Avoid wasting salt. It is important not to apply too much salt because salts and chlorides harm the environment, including freshwater resources, natural vegetation and other landscape investments, including plantings and hardscapes. The best practice for wasting salt is for crews to measure and calibrate the application equipment and choose a standard rate that best applies to specific sites. Equipment operators should know the amount they are applying each time based on a standard amount pre-set for each application.
  • Use the right salt — sodium chloride (or rock salt) is typically least expensive and normally effective between 15-32 degrees. Magnesium chloride is most effective at 0-15 degrees. Calcium chloride provides a range of use of -15-15 degrees.
  • Allow for inventory that supports and averages two-three weeks of snow and ice conditions.
  • Documentation. Keep accurate records of department activities. These records can account for the history of work performed and will help if managers need to explain work during storms.


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