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hufhouse

Removing Driveway Ice

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hufhouse
I had about 1/4" of ice on the concrete driveway today, and I experimented with how to remove it. (Ice melt didn't cut it.) I found that if I went backwards, with the blade down and angled, and drove in a zig-zag, it would cut slices in the ice and break it up a little bit. Then, if I went VERY slowly forward with the blade down, the blade would pick the ice up off the concrete and cut it off. If I went too fast, the blade just rode on top of the ice. Thought I would pass that along, since so much of the NE got hit with ice the last couple of days.

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bigcountry
If you needed to break through ice couldn't you just take your rear blade or front loader and tap it down on the pavement to bust up the ice? Then you could come back through with your blade or loader and move it somewhere else, or try salt again to melt what you busted up.

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HubbardRA
In this area of VA we get a lot of what is known as "Black" ice. It is rain that falls and then freezes when it hits the cold pavement. It is very slick, and it is tenacious about gripping the pavement since the water has gotten into every crack and crevice before it froze. Had some of that yesterday morning, after the roads had been cleared of the snow. Pretty nasty trying to drive on that stuff.

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rsachs
Rod we get a lot of that "black" ice here in Kansas City too. I found putting sand and ice melt mixed works better on the driveway. Any suggestions on how to prevent the salt pitting in the concrete? Haven't figured the best way to keep it out of the roof gutters yet either. That's can be a lot of weight hanging up there.

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arnoldir
On Long Island we have been unusually cold, so the last slushy mess just froze up solid. Most folks who did not remove it immediately have ice 5" thick at the end of the driveway, and about 2" thick all the way to the house. I got out last night just as it started snowing and dumped Calcium Chloride Flakes on mine and a neighbors driveways so the snow on top of it would act as an insulator, worked pretty good. Overnight it cut right down to the blacktop where I put it down heavy.

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hufhouse
This ice was of the freezing rain variety. I was actually conservative in my 1/4" estimate. Some places were more like 1/2" thick. Like someone said, it's very tenacious. That's why it helped to use the blade to "cut" it first, then go back through it slowly, lifting it off the concrete. I think the earlier Calcium Chloride treatment may have actually loosened it from the concrete a little. I think each individual pellet of Calcium Chloride bores a little hole in the ice, then melts the bottom side of the ice near the concrete. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, the driveway is perfectly clear of ice today, which is important since it's uphill to the road. As far as ice melt is concerned, I've been doing some research on this for a friend. Salt is very bad for concrete, and also bad for metal and plants. Calcium Chloride is better for concrete, but not great. In my little bit of research, I found that a product called Magnesium Chloride actually melts to the lowest temperature (-18F), and is best for concrete, metal and plants. The only problem is...NOBODY SELLS IT! I have the local feed store doing some checking for me. There is a place in New Jersey that has a website that sells it for $12/bag. I'm not driving to NJ (from Ohio) for ICE MELT! Does anyone have any experience with Magnesium Chloride? Where can I get some?

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alanscott
quote:
Originally posted by hufhouse
Does anyone have any experience with Magnesium Chloride? Where can I get some?
Colorado dumps liquid Magnesium Chloride on the roads and from personal experience, I'd recommend against using it. http://www.corrosion-doctors.org/AtmCorros/deicing-mag.htm

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hufhouse
Alan: I checked the website you mentioned. That information is very different from other info I have seen about Magnesium Chloride. As far as metal corrosion, one site said that it was about the same as deionized water. In fact, of all deicers, it was best or near the top in all categories...damage to concrete, metal corrosion, damage to plants and melting temperature. That's why I was interested in trying some. I wish I would have bookmarked the sites, but I didn't. I know that salt is TERRIBLE on metal. We see that in Ohio a lot. Maybe the folks who were quoted on the site you gave are actually seeing the effects of salt, not magnesium chloride. Salt is also bad for concrete, especially new concrete. I found out something interesting two days ago...calcium chloride is not very friendly to leather coats! I was out spreading calcium chloride on my driveway with a hand spreader, and it blew back and put a white coating on my black leather coat. I came inside and wiped it off with a wet rag and hung it in the closet. When I got it out yesterday morning, the part of the coat I had wiped off was hard and wrinkled. I spent the evening last night using a mild detergent to clean it and applying a liberal coat of leather reconditioner. I looked at it this morning, and I think the patient is going to live. Thanks for the info on magnesium chloride. I'll keep researching. Your's was the first negative info that I had read.

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andy gartner
hey Guy, There's a fellow, I think, who lives out your way, with whom most of us, out here in OH, are coming to agreement on, is well, kind of full of it... Hot air that is... So we was all talking you know, about your/our ice problems out here , and we kind of decided this fellow could come to your place first and huff and puff, and blow all the ice off your drive, with his hot air. Then he could do all of our drives too...he's that full of it... PS Guy, I though me and Paul Bunyon was the only ones, so full of it out here...but this fellow, so I'm told, tops us all! Guy I stand corrected... he lives west of us, so he's going to do their drives first, then ours. No matter, plenty of hot air available for all our drives.

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alanscott
quote:
Originally posted by hufhouse
I know that salt is TERRIBLE on metal. We see that in Ohio a lot. Maybe the folks who were quoted on the site you gave are actually seeing the effects of salt, not magnesium chloride. Salt is also bad for concrete, especially new concrete.
I have a little more time for a detailed post now :) I've been trucking this stuff for the last 10 or so winters to various CDOT locations for their highway use. It's dredged up from the Great Salt Lake and cut with water to dilute the salt. It's usually around 27-30% salt content by weight. It also has hygroscopic properties, meaning it will draw moisture from the air so it's usually damp. That's why it's so much harder on vehicles than salt, plain salt will dry out. When it coats brake linings, my seat of the pants guess is that there is a 30-40% reduction in stopping power. This is probably moot to a passenger car but with a semi, it can lead to real problems if your not aware of it. I've often wondered about the over-the-roaders that get a good coating on their brakes, then get out on the left coast and have a crash due to the decreased stopping power. I've seen the damage mag water (it's nickname) does to electrical wiring on my trailer. It'll corrode several feet up from the open end of the insulation, leaving a green powdery mess of the copper wire. Chrome rims, bumpers and mirror's will all show signs of rust coming through the chrome by the end of winter. It will destroy the surface appearance of aluminum in a matter of hours after getting on it, forget about running anything polished in the winter. The power companies are upset with it because it's been causing transformers along the highways to short out, a few have even caught fire. The pine trees along the roadsides are dying out. 15 years ago on Vail Pass, all the trees along the road were nice and green, now they turn brown and die off. CDOT comes along and cuts down the dead ones leaving the ones behind to get covered so they too, die off. This trend will continue until the tree line is far enough from the road that the plows can't throw the mag/slush far enough to get on them. It forms a film on windshields that smears when you turn your wipers on. It blurs almost as if it was a light coating of oil. The only way to get it off of the glass is by using your windshield washer fluid every time you use the wipers. I've had trips to Denver and back where I've had to use refill the wiper reservoir twice, and a KW's reservoir holds over a gallon. My last gripe is about how it absorbs light. Imagine if they painted the road surfaces with a flat black paint. Running on I-70 at night, you literally can not see the road, all you can see is the stripes on either side. Many people now are starting to leave their high beams on all of the time now because of it, making it even tougher for oncoming traffic. There are a lot more crashes at night than there used to be, especially in the corners. You'll see some skid marks right off of the road in a straight line, missing the corner. When ever CDOT is questioned about any of this, the standard reply is "Remain calm, all is well".

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RonT
at work we use calicum chloride sprayed on the salt when the temp is below 22degrees. It in the liquid form does a lot of the same things that Mag. clhoride does it is just not quite as strong. I hate to see us use it. If you are not under the sprayer just right and get the windshield with overspray you have to use window cleaner(amonia base) and paper towels to get it off or it just smears. If you get it on your hands it feels sticky. As far as corrosion do not ever buy a truck that has been used for snow or ice control. All of the aluminum parts are coroded most of the wiring will eventualy give you fits. I did not know about the reduced braking but now that I think about it the calcium also has that effect. These are just my views on this stuff.

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hufhouse
Very interesting. I know that Calcium Chloride really leaves an oily residue on my hands and it sure did a number on a pair of leather gloves I had. I read someplace the Magnesium Chloride also leaves an oily residue. Here is one of the websites I was looking at: [url]http://www.agnr.umd.edu/MCE/Publications/PDFs%5CFS707.pdf[/url] I guess I'll give up and just use Calcium Chloride and be careful not to get any on me! A local feed store sells a mixture of Calcium Chloride, Urea and grit. My wife doesn't like the grit getting tracked into the house, but the Urea really greens up the lawn around the drive and sidewalk in the spring! This has been interesting. If anyone else has some experience with deicing products, I'd like to hear about it.

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Tacey
This is our 4th winter in this house. I refuse to put any de-icer on the nice new concrete driveway. I think anything that melts ice has to cause contraction/expansion, not a good thing. We've had a thick coat of ice for about 2 weeks now. It got there when we got a 'black ice' storm in the middle of the night. The temp has not been near 32 since. Very little sunshine, too. Normally, I'll get some help from the sun 'cause I have a slight tilt towards the south. Not this year. Also, I use a concrete sealer every 2 years. It seems to help keep the ice/snow from sticking. I hoping Punxsutawney Phil says "2 Weeks" on Groundhog Day. Tacey

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dhardin
"Beat extrac" is the new stuff around here. All natural, I think it is a liquid u spay on. The highway department is testing it on some state and county roads in Illinois. I saw something on the TV about it, but i was half asleep at the time.

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alanscott
quote:
Utilities Say Mag Chloride Causes Electrical Problems CDOT Disputes Claims Of Chemical Link To Outages POSTED: 1:39 PM MST January 30, 2004 DENVER -- Some utilities are blaming a chemical used to melt ice for power failures in ski areas near highways. "We have had problems in the past three to four years with magnesium chloride," said Bob Gardner of Holy Cross Energy, which serves the ski resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass and Sunlight. Other utilities have similar concerns, but the Colorado Department of Transportation disputes the suggestion.
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/2807128/detail.html
quote:
More Mag Chloride May Be Used On Streets This Winter State Spent $55,000 To Promote De-Icer's Use POSTED: 4:58 PM MST January 6, 2004 UPDATED: 6:29 PM MST January 6, 2004 DENVER -- Magnesium chloride is the subject of a state public relations campaign. The Department of Transportation is trying to persuade the public that the de-icer is the best way to keep roads safe during the winter. Aspen has banned use of magnesium chloride because of worries that it can harm people. Others have complained that it corrodes metal on vehicles, harms vegetation and coats power transformers and causes power outages. But the state Transportation Department says the de-icer is used in such diluted amounts that it isn't dangerous. The agency has spent $55,000 to convince people of the chemical's value.
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/traffic/2745703/detail.html
quote:
Aspen Battles Over Mag Chloride Some Residents Say Snow Melter Is Unhealthy POSTED: 10:09 a.m. MST February 4, 2002 ASPEN, Colo. -- The Aspen City Council appears to be headed for a street fight Monday night. It is expected to decide whether to again use de-icer on roads around town. The council banned magnesium chloride in 1999 after protests by residents and tests showing it contained small amounts of arsenic, a poisonous heavy metal. Magnesium chloride has been blamed for dead vegetation along roadsides, ugly brown slush, and various physical ailments, including headaches.
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/1219533/detail.html Here is the CDOT webpage promoting mag chloride. http://www.cotrip.org/winterdriving/how.html

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