Exterior, Home Improvement

What Are The Best Alternatives To Rock Salt For Melting Snow In Wintertime?

snowy_sidewalk-255x340As the winter season intensifies, so does the snow. Untended, snow can quickly become a nightmare to deal with. At the same time, rock salt isn’t always the best choice. Not only is rock salt difficult to use, but it can also be very damaging to your vehicle and it can harm the environment. Rock salt can kill plants, hurt dogs and even damage the asphalt and concrete around your home.

Installing a heated driveway.

Many custom homes now come with a heated driveway. A heated driveway is actually fairly inexpensive, with the cheapest models weighing in at only a few hundred dollars. Heated driveways are by far the easiest way to deal with snow, but they do use electricity and require installation. The only challenge to a heated driveway is the fact that the entire driveway does need to be rebuilt. Installing a heated driveway under an existing driveway is usually just as extensive. It’s usually fairly inexpensive for a heated driveway to be installed when actually building a home, however.

Ordering specialized ice melters.

There are many chemicals that have been created specifically to melt ice and are freely available in many of the same stores that sell rock salt. You can usually find these chemicals at hardware stores, outdoor stores and online. A salt-free ice melting solution is perfect for those that want to avoid harm to the environment, but you do need to be careful. There are some melting solutions that are safe for animals and some that aren’t. Even if you don’t have pets, it’s very possible that your neighbors might.

Using cat litter or sand to build traction.

While cat litter or sand won’t necessarily help you melt your snow, it will enable you to gain traction over the snow. Snow in itself isn’t harmful, it’s just difficult or impossible to drive on. Cat litter and sand are an excellent and cost-effective solution for a few inches of snow. Sand is less expensive, but cat litter is usually more effective. Many people swear by keeping cat litter in their trunk for this very reason. When using cat litter, you may want to avoid the naturally clumping types, as they may pose a hazard to drains.

Manual labor.

If you have very little snow throughout the winter, simply getting a good snow shovel may be enough to avoid a build-up of ice and snow. While this may lack the elegance of other methods, it also has the least possibility of potentially damaging the environment. The secret to removing snow manually is to do it on a regular basis. Once the snow builds up, it can seem almost impossible to remove with just a shovel.

If you do have to use rock salt around your custom home, there are a few things you can do to mitigate at least some of the risk. Always keep your dogs away from the area, and warn any neighbors around you that you are using rock salt. Try to use as little rock salt as you can to make the area manageable

+Ken Uhrich likes houses. In fact he lives in one. You can drop him a line at the Custom Home Group website.