Snow and ice contractors that work in the northeast know that our winters are extremely unpredictable. They often give us a vast range of temperatures and a variety of precipitation that can range from rain to sleet to heavy snow. Because of this, we recommend preparing for this wild weather ahead of time. We carry a variety of ice melt and rock salt that will satisfy the needs of anyone from a small landscaping fleet to a large municipality maintenance crew. With winter less than a month away, our blog this week will instruct you on how to calculate material for proper deicing.
If you have a new customer that you have never serviced before, it is a good idea to reach out before the snow flies and get a scaled map of the facility and parking lot. This would give you the most accurate measurement to prepare with. However, it is always a good idea to go to the location and do measurements yourself just to make sure. It also gives you the opportunity to look for any hazards that your plow may run into. It is certainly easier to spot these hazards before they are buried beneath snow and ice. You should also ask the customer if there are specific areas they want treated more intensely as some areas should be more prone to ice accumulation.
To do the actual measurements, you’ll need to calculate the size of the area using different shapes. How to calculate material for proper deicing is dependant on a few calculation methods.
- A square or rectangle: Multiply the length times the width for area.
- A triangle: Multiply the length times with width and divide by two for the area.
- A circle: Calculate the distance from the counterpoint of the circle to the edge. The radius squared times 3.14 (pi) results in the area of the circle. You can also use this easy online tool
You’ll also have considered what type of precipitation will be falling to calculate the amount of salt you will need. The temperature also matters. The colder it is, the more salt you will need. Temperatures that swing from 31 degrees to 16 degrees need triple the ice melt. If the precipitation is ice then you’ll need more than the amount you would use for snow. Ice is thicker and, therefore, is harder to melt.
You’ll want to try to avoid using too much salt when spreading as well. Using too much can cost you in the long run. You don’t want to waste ice melt! Unused salt may wash away when the snow and ice melts. Some snow and ice contractors use colored ice melt so it is easier to spot where it has been spread. Purchasing a good quality spreader will help with proper application amounts well.