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The Best Deicers for Home Snow Removal – North York Winter Safety Tips

Gone are the days of simply picking up a bag of rock salt at your local grocery or hardware store. Now, when winter weather looms, there is an array of deicers to choose from: calcium chloride, calcium magnesium, liquid deicers, environmentally friendly and pet friendly ice melters. Of course, you can still find that bag of rock salt, but it may no longer be the best choice.

It’s a good idea to have your plan of attack ready before it’s actually time for snow removal. North York and surrounding communities get about 50 inches of snow each year. That’s a lot of frozen stuff to melt or shovel. If it is all too much for you, a snow clearing service is a good option to explore.

Rock Salt

Sodium chloride is the scientific name for rock salt. It is cheap, easy and fairly effective, but causes metal corrosion and produces salty runoff that is bad for ornamental plants and your lawn. It is still part of many deicers that contain a combination of ingredients.

More Salt Options

Two other types of salt, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, are often used in deicing mixtures. They both work better at lower temperatures than plain rock salt, an advantage for snow removal in Ontario. Since they are also more expensive than sodium chloride, they are usually blended with other ingredients.

Liquid Deicers

Liquid deicers are another option with lower amounts of salt than traditional rock salt. Most are designed to work well at very low temperatures. You need to use a small spray pump if you are doing the application yourself, so there is a little extra work and maintenance involved.

Environmentally Friendly Deicers

All salts have the potential for negative impacts on your landscape and natural systems. Using a much lower percentage of salt in deicers makes them friendlier to the environment. Many newer deicers use agricultural byproducts, such as those from beet refinement, as components of the mixture. It’s a good use of resources, producing an effective product that works at low temperatures and is kind to your ornamental plants.

A few ice melters use absolutely no salt. CMA, calcium magnesium acetate, may be the most common. It is more expensive than salt-based mixtures, but has little environmental impact.


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