Until recently, we really only had two options when it came to de-icing and anti-icing our properties in the winter – rock salt or ice melt. Rock salt is the better of the two for removing existing ice (de-icer), while ice melt does a better job of preventing ice from forming (anti-icer). Rock salt has been around since before the 1900s, while ice melt didn’t gain popularity until the late 1980s/early 1990s.
Since then, ice melt has become the more popular of the two, because it has a slightly safer chemical composition, which is better for the environment, your health, and your property. However, neither rock salt nor ice melt is a perfect solution. Here’s a little comparison of the two, so you can see what I’m talking about:
- Rock salt is corrosive to roads, concrete, and metal – i.e. your car.
- An excessive build-up of some types of ice melt may be toxic to the environment.
- Rock salt is made from sodium chloride, which is what table salt is made of.
- Ice melt is made from three main types of salt: calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and sodium acetate.
- Rock salt dust can irritate your mouth, throat, stomach and intestines if accidentally inhaled, and it can lead to severe vomiting or diarrhea. And it’s not just people who are affected. Animals can suffer kidney damage or even die if they eat too much rock salt. Birds that consume rock salt may become disoriented and unable to fly until they recover.
- If consumed, ice melt can cause irritation resulting in a rash, redness inside the mouth or drooling. Pets can develop dryness and irritation on their paws and skin if they walk through ice melting chemicals. They can also develop mouth irritation or poison themselves if they ingest the chemicals.
Until about the early 2000s there was no other solution, until liquid ice melts, used for both de-icing and anti-icing, became popular. Liquid ice melts are fast acting; safe for all surfaces, including concrete, asphalt, glass and metal; stick better to road surfaces and remains effective longer than salt.
As soon as liquid ice melts became known, I recognized they were the better option and started using them at my company, Invictus Professional Snowfighters. However, I had a feeling the industry could do better. I believed we needed a product just as effective as a liquid ice melt, but also safe for the environment. So I created EcoBrine, Invictus’ proprietary eco-friendly de-icing and anti-icing brine, which is created by the dilution of granular salt in water to create liquid salt brine. It’s less harmful to plant life, animals and automobiles; and leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Our clients love it because it’s just as effective as rock salt, but safer for the environment, and for their properties.
Invictus offers three types of EcoBrine, including:
- EcoBrine – the original version – is made of road salt. It is considered to be the most efficient de-icing sodium chloride product available anywhere. Provincial government standards demand all road salt must have a purity level of 95%, but our customers benefit from 99.5% purity.
- EcoBrine Premium is made up of natural, wholesome ingredients, including potassium acetate, CMA and sodium chloride. Potassium, being a required nutrient to plant life, has long been known as a safe ingredient to melt ice safely, and the CMA gives this product the boost it needs to work down to very low temperatures. It’s a powerful all-natural de-icer that is gentle on the environment, the surfaces it is applied to and harmless around children and pets.
- EcoBrine Supreme is a special acetate-formulated product also referred to as, “Winter Warrior Runaway Control.” It’s 100% chloride- and urea-free and meets all LEED standards. EcoBrine Supreme is a great option for runway, taxiways and aprons, as it does not contain chlorides that can cause corrosion to metals. It’s also the perfect solution for areas with exposed or sensitive metals, such as bridge decks, vessel decks, ferries, drilling platforms and transit or railway platforms.
Since winter is just around the corner, now is the time to get your property prepared. Before you run out and purchase the most popular or cheapest anti-icer or de-icer, first do some research and find the best option to fit your needs.