Do You Need to Put Down Salt When It Snows?

Doug EnrightMay 23, 2017

If you live in the colder climates of the US, chances are you get two feelings when it’s about to snow. The first feeling is excitement, who doesn’t like freshly fallen snow?! But the second feeling that quickly follows that is one of dread, when that snow falls, you have to shovel it, and prep your property.

There are some things you can do to properly prep for upcoming winter weather, including putting salt out. If you’ve just moved to a colder climate you probably see your neighbors tossing out salt and wander if you should be doing the same. How does salt even work with snow?

So, Should I Salt Before It Snows?

To avoid slips, falls, and other dangers, you should be putting salt out before any significant weather winter events. Let’s learn why.

Purpose of Salt in Snow

The salt is not for the snow itself, but for ice. Snow can fall as light and fluffy flakes, but between the weight of itself and foot traffic, that light fluffy snow gets packed down to slippery and dangerous ice. Salt and other anti-freezing agents help to remove the dangers of ice for both you and your neighbors.

How Salt Works on Snow and Ice

The most used form of salt to deice in the US is common rock salt, sodium chloride. Yes, this is the same salt that’s on your dinner table, but with much larger granules. The chemical compound sodium chloride lowers the freezing point in water, so snow melt never has the chance to turn into ice unless its bitterly cold.

Other Agents

Rock salt is the most popular but it can damage concrete over time, and pets aren’t a big fan. There are several other pet-friendly deicing agents out there that will be safe for both your concrete, asphalt, and pets. You can ask for recommendations for your particular sidewalk or driveway material at your local home improvement store.

If you want to avoid salt or chemical agents altogether you can always put down sand or kitty litter. These two products will not help to keep ice from forming like rock salt and other deicing agents can, but it can provide traction for slippery walkways.

If you see snow and ice in the forecast, it’s better to act before it starts falling. Always salt, or otherwise use a deicing agent to keep your walkable areas from freezing over and becoming a hazard. You’ll thank us when you don’t get a bill from the ER.

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