Majority of the people who live in areas with regular snowfall, use salt as an affordable means of removing ice from their driveways or hire a snow plow truck. However effective salt is in this process, its damage to the ecosystem cannot be ignored as it can lead to:
- Build up of excess salt which could be harmful to the soil
- Inability of plants to absorb moisture and also nutrients
- Salt may percolate heavy metals that may get into water sources. These metals are a great health hazard.
- Salt tends to attract animals which will come in the sidewalks to lick it and they may be accidentally hit by an oncoming vehicle.
- Salt is harmful to pets especially when it gets into the paws as it could burn them.
To avoid these dangers brought about by the use of salt in de-icing, here are some more friendly ways you can use to de-ice the driveway:
- Scoop the snow; this is best done immediately the snow ceases to fall. This will ensure that the snow does not stick as a result of being trodden upon by people walking on it.
- Use an electrically powered snow blower; a snow blower that uses electricity is more environment-friendly as it will not produce a lot of noise pollution and will be safe for use even by those with back pain. Do not use the gas-powered models as they will produce a lot of air and too much noise as well.
- Use a snow melting mat; this is the use of electric wires that are installed below the driveway to radiate heat. Though this is an expensive method to install, it does not consume a lot of electricity and would therefore not be difficult to maintain. It is not advisable to destroy a good driveway in order to install a snow-melting system unless it is damaged and requires repair.
- Get control; this can be achieved by scattering sand or birdseed on the driveway. This will ensure you are stable as you walk or drive on an icy surface. It is vital to note that sand will not aid in melting the ice and you will have to find another way to get rid of it.
- Use of hot water; whenever a section of the driveway has a stubborn ice, pouring hot water on the area will help to loosen up the ice. You can then use a shovel to scoop out the loosened snow.
- Removing the ice early enough before the sun rises; you can rise up early and work on the ice using a shovel before people walk on it as this will make it compacted. When the sun rises, it will also aid in removing the ice that remains in the driveway after you have scooped out most of it in the morning.
- Get a good snow blower; to avoid having to pay a professional to assist you in shoveling the drive, buy your own snow blower. You will be able to choose the right model for you according to the intensity of the snowfall in your area of residence. You can also make some income out of the blower if you help your neighbors to defrost their driveway too.
You do not have to rely on salt though it is cheap to use in removing ice. The harm that comes out of using salt to the plants, pets, and the driveway itself is enough reason to invest in a method that will be safe and efficient as well. If you are constructing a new driveway, ensure that you invest in a melting mat to heat up the pavement. This will save you the cost of removing the ice manually as well as save the time you would have spent removing the ice. Choose the method which best suits you according to the intensity of the ice and the economic consideration as well.