What is Calcium Chloride (ice melt)?
As temperatures start to creep lower, it’s imperative to be prepared with an arsenal of supplies to stay as safe as possible. Accidental falls and auto issues and accidents are increasingly common during the winter months, but there are ways to stay vigilant and combat these potential dangers. No one wants to have to deal with these unfortunate accidents, and you can help prevent them by stocking up on the proper products now and be informed on how to use them properly.
Having an ice melter on hand when conditions get icy is one of the most important preparations you can make. There are many ice melt products available on the market, all with their own unique properties and effectiveness in melting ice on sidewalks, driveways, and roads. Whatever the task at hand may be, there’s a product that will help you tackle it.
In this post, we’re going to dive in on calcium chloride ice melt, a favorite in ice melters as a stand alone but also in many blend options. We’ll be looking at this fast acting option, what it is (chemically), how it works, the benefits/considerations, and where to buy it. If you’re a landscape or snow contractor, or someone who owns a property and wants to take care of the ice that plagues us in the winter, this one’s for you.
The science behind what makes calcium chloride work
Calcium chloride (CaCl2) is the most widely used non-sodium chloride ice melt.
As an exothermic compound (a compound that produces heat w/ moisture), it attracts moisture from the atmosphere (e.g. water, snow, ice) which causes a chemical reaction. This results in the creation of brine (brine is a mixture made up of water and salt).
The reaction which creates the brine mixture is actually sped up due to this attraction and, given the exothermic nature of calcium chloride, a substantial amount of heat is produced as a result.
The heat produced is what fuels the fast acting results, making calcium chloride such an exceptional de-icing agent. It is also the reason why calcium chloride ice melt products, such as OxyChem by Peladow® Calcium Chloride Pellets, are able to perform at extremely cold temperatures (up to -25°F or -32°C).
Is calcium chloride rock salt?
While both calcium chloride and rock salt (sodium chloride) share chloride as a chemical property, calcium chloride is not “rock salt”.
Rock salt, also known as sodium chloride (NaCl), has sodium as the base element in its chemical makeup.
Calcium chloride, on the other hand, has calcium as the base element in its chemical makeup, which makes it a non-sodium chloride de-icer.
Is calcium chloride safe?
When used according to the manufacturer instructions, calcium chloride is a safe and incredibly effective ice melt product.
That said, regardless of the type and brand, all chloride-based products present moderate corrosiveness to metals—even rock salt. (Some ice melt options however, like Spring Valley- Professional Ice Melter, are specifically formulated to reduce corrosion. So if that’s important to you, be sure to check for those specifications when shopping around.)
While following the product instructions and sticking with brief contact is perfectly safe, it’s important to note that overuse and overexposure of chloride-based products can cause some excessive drying and environmental harm. Care should be taken when used in large quantities or when it is over applied directly to lawns and other plants. Always take care to use only as specified on the packaging or product literature.
Does calcium chloride damage concrete?
Calcium chloride ice melt products, such as OxyChem Calcium Chloride Pellets, do not inherently damage asphalt or concrete. In fact, concrete that is properly poured and cured should not be negatively affected by OxyChem calcium chloride.
If you are needing to de-ice concrete that is less than one year old, you should not use calcium chloride, as the expansion/contraction with freezing will cause damage.
Why you should consider calcium chloride ice melt for de-icing sidewalks, driveways, and roadways
While there’s certainly a lot to keep in mind when choosing the right de-icer, it all comes down to wanting a quality product that works as efficiently as possible. Plain and simple, it needs to get the job done well without breaking the bank. So here are our-
Top reasons why you should consider using calcium chloride for your de-icing needs:
- Cost Effective: Calcium chloride will give you great bang for your buck. It’s a middle-to-low cost option compared to other ice melt products on the market so even a larger scale application can be tackled without a crazy cost.
- Fast Acting: As we discussed in our mini science lesson earlier, its chemical makeup and exothermic properties cause it to absorb moisture from the atmosphere, and through that process create substantial heat. This melts ice much faster than other ice melt products on the market.
- High Performance: Calcium Chloride is made to tackle deep freezes. With the ability to melt ice at temperatures as low as -25° Fahrenheit, it far surpasses the capabilities of other options out there.
Where to buy calcium chloride
Calcium chloride pellets can be found via many ice control suppliers, both in-store and online; however, for some of the best pricing, it’s recommended that snow plow and other contractors register as a Reinders customer online.
We recommend purchasing OxyChem Calcium Chloride Pellets online at Reinders.com. Select either will call pickup or have it shipped directly to your location to conveniently and quickly start using your product as soon as you need it!