Ice and snow removal and prevention techniques have come a long way in the last ten years. Undoubtedly due to the increasing liability of ice and snow related injuries and accidents. There are multiple chemical selections, and multiple techniques for different circumstances.
The first thing to remember is to constantly observe the weather prior to an event. Are air temperatures warm prior to the event helping warm the ground? Will the sky be clear and assist in solar radiation? Will the air be dry or moist assisting chemical reaction? These are important in knowing how to treat the event.
Other things that are important is the substrate that is to be treated. Is it a dark asphalt that will warm under solar radiation, assisting in the melting? Is the substrate a dark concrete such as dense aggregate that will hold warm temperatures longer than others? Or a light grey concrete that hold heat for a shorter amount of time? Will these melting snows on asphalt cool it quickly to the point of refreezing? All of these are serious variables that must be considered.
Chemicals are vast. Magnesium, Sodium, Calcium, beet juice, sand, and many more. Some of these chemicals, such as sodium and beet juice work best when wet and in warmer temperatures, down to 30 degrees or so. Others such as Magnesium and Calcium also benefit from wetting, but will work down to much lower temperatures, even pushing the zero degree mark. The benefit of calcium is it is so absorbent it will actually attract moisture from the air to help activate the reaction. Sand is the most environmental friendly of slip prevention in my opinion, but unfortunately comes with the higher risk and liability. I personally use nothing at home due to my dog Maddie, and prefer the "Walk like a penguin" technique. Sodium chloride is by far the worst environmental friendly snow and ice melter, and has even proven to contain heavy metals.
The downfall to these "better" treatment chemicals is short term cost Sodium is by far , by weight, the cheapest, drastically cheaper. Yet with a product that does not work as well as a more expensive product it will require more, thus the savings is really slim. Also Sodium and some others will quickly cause irreversible corrosion damage to equipment, cars, concrete, not to mention trees, turf, and nearby shrubs.
As always, we are looking forward to the days of spring, in the meantime thanks for reading, and if I don't see you here, I will see you outside!