Harsh salts damage concrete and the environment. Fortunately, there are several all-natural snow melt alternatives you can use this winter.
Every winter, especially after a few good snow storms, we tend to ask ourselves those life changing questions: How do I melt the snow without shoveling? How do I melt the snow without salt? Are there any realistic alternatives to shoveling and that annoying salt? Well, here are your answers. While snow and ice melting salt is an easy way to eliminate dangerously slippery surfaces, it poses notable risks. First, snow melt can be significantly detrimental to concrete. The harsh salts break chemical bonds that keep concrete strong. This means damaged concrete surfaces that will require costly repair and replacement much earlier. Next, snow and ice melting salts can be dangerous to pets or young children. When ingested, the salts can cause painful stomach distress. Additionally, snow melt can dry out and crack your pets’ paws, putting them at risk for infection. Lastly, snow melt can cause serious damage to your yard and landscaping and the environment. As snow melts, the runoff containing harsh salts can kill grass and other plants. The salts are also likely to run off into your local water system, which can compromise water quality.
Snow Melt Alternatives
A relatively simple way to eliminate ice is to shovel snow before it has a chance to ice over. Don’t let snow accumulate more than a couple of inches before shoveling and shovel while the snow is still light and fresh.
Organic, Salt-Free De-Icer
This option is a more expensive alternative to traditional snow melt. However, it offers all the same convenience without the damaging risks.
Urea is a natural substance traditionally used as fertilizer. It’s safer for pets and less corrosive than salt. However, it’s important to note that the high concentration of nitrogen in urea can damage plants and cause algae overgrowth in local ponds and lakes.
Like Urea, Alfalfa meal is commonly used as fertilizer. It contains nitrogen, but not enough to risk harm to plants or your local water system. Alfalfa meal has a dry, grainy texture that can provide traction while it goes to work melting snow and ice.
Beet juice works by lowering the melting point of ice and snow. Because it’s a liquid, it requires no cleanup. It’s 100% natural and poses absolutely no risk to concrete, pets, or the environment. Additionally, Beet juice is one of few ice melting options that works even in sub-zero temperatures.
Sand is an inexpensive and safe option that provides excellent traction. It also absorbs heat from the sun which will help slowly melt icy surfaces.
Snow Melting Mats
How do you melt snow without shoveling? Snow melting mats are perhaps the most effective and easiest to use snow melt alternative. They eliminate the need for labor-intensive shoveling and provide peace of mind all winter long. All you have to do is plug them in! Summerstep Snow Melting Mats come in both residential and commercial options and can be linked together to fit any size or shape of steps or walkways.