Debunking Myths about Ice Removal Tricks

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Winter in Calgary is a divisive topic of conversation. There are those who can’t wait for the snow to start, as it heralds a season of being inside and cosy, along with some great holiday celebrations and decorating. On the other hand, there are those who dread the season of snow shovelling, freezing temperatures that last for days and keeping walkways free from ice for months on end. 

When it comes to ice removal, there are very few Calgary residents who get excited about the prospect, but there’s also a lot of ice removal “tricks” that don’t work effectively and can even make the problem worse. Let’s look at some of the most popular myths about ice removal tricks.

“Trick” 1: Add Hot Water

From a very basic scientific understanding about the world, it seems to make sense that adding something hot to something cold will melt the cold thing quickly. We see this with ice cubes in hot coffee, and when we want to melt the ice on the windscreen quickly in the morning. However, this ignores the most surprising fact about the heat of water in the winter: hot water actually cools down much quicker than cold water. What this means in terms of ice removal is that while your hot water may melt the top layers of ice quickly, the hot water will freeze quicker meaning that you’ll often end up with another layer of ice in a short amount of time. 

“Trick” 2: Wait For The Wind To Die Down

Look at the packaging of any ice melt brand, and the big claim will be the lowest temperature at which their product will still melt ice. Of course you’ll want to find the one with the lowest possible temperature given how cold it gets in Calgary during the winter months, but you’ll want to keep an eye on the actual temperature, not the wind chill factor. Ice melt doesn’t care about how cold the wind is, and it will still be functional when the actual temperature is higher than the stated wind chill numbers. This means that you don’t have to spend a fortune on the top of the range ice melt during an average Calgary winter. 

“Trick’ 3: Sand Your Walkways

There’s always a cost/benefit analysis to be had when it comes to your ice removal strategies. Ice melt and salt always costs a lot of money, which can quickly add up if you have a long walkway or your house fronts a lot of sidewalk. A popular option is to put sand down on top of the ice, but this is a false economy. Sand doesn’t melt ice at all, and its only real function is to provide some grip on icy surfaces or to protect softer surfaces while you’re working out how to get rid of the ice. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be part of your ice removal toolkit, but you can’t rely solely on sand to get rid of all the ice.

“Trick” 4: Wait The Storm Out

This isn’t so much a trick for ice removal; rather its a common misconception about when you should start planning for getting rid of the ice around your property. You’ve got to imagine the ice on your walkways in terms of layers. The first layer is the one that sticks to the asphalt, and then each further coating adheres to the layer below it, making a thick slab that you need to get rid. If you wait for all the layers to form, it’s going to be tough cutting through all the layers to get to the bottom. A better strategy for when you know a big storm is coming is to put out some ice melt on your walkways before the storm hits. While this won’t stop the ice layers from forming, it’ll reduce the stickiness of the bottom layer, meaning you’ll be able to break it apart and shovel it much more easily once the storm is done. 

“Trick” 5: Save Money With Rock Salt

Another common myth that sucks Calgary residents right in is to try and save money by using rock salt as a de-icer as it’s considerably cheaper than its synthetic counterparts. While rock salt can melt snow and ice, it’s just not very efficient at it, meaning that you’re more likely to overspend on rock salt to compensate. A better option is to find an ice melt product that contains 8 – 10% calcium chloride, as this has been clinically proven to melt ice quickly and safely.

The Final Myth – You Have To Remove Ice Yourself

No matter whether you think winter is the best season in Calgary or the worst, you’re still going to have to face your ice removal challenge in some way or other. Fortunately, there is one final myth that needs to be debunked: professional ice removal services are available to take the strain and stress out of winter for you.

Here at Cut N Shovel, we have a series of snow and ice removal services to suit your needs. The most popular option is our monthly “shovel subscription” where you pay based on the amount of walkways and sidewalks that you want us to clear. This is as low as $159 a month for a single walkway to your home and the sidewalk outside your house. Our snow and ice removal experts know all the best tricks to keep your moving all winter long.

Bundle And Save

For some, our winter ice removal service may be all the help you need, but if you’re looking for more help and to save even more over the course of the year, look into our year round property maintenance packages. This gives you access to our property maintenance experts all year long, and we’ll help you with everything from landscaping to lawn mowing to a fall clean up, as well as keeping your clear of ice and snow all winter long, no tricks involved!

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