AMJ Landscaping. Inc
Introducing Snow Fighting
December 1, 2016 By, John Gallagher
AMJ Landscaping, Inc. is one of just a few businesses in Maryland offering one of the most powerful and cost effective ice prevention solutions – Salt Brine
Snow and Ice Management Costs are driven by the storm itself; the amount of snowfall, number of pushes for removal, stacking and hauling or melting costs, the number of days storm occurs and always changing temperature factors. No two storms are alike but the ability to get to dry pavement quickly is what our clients want appreciate. Their ability to be open for business and not have any safety issues for their essential personnel are our highest priority.
Traditionally, we get called out after 2 inches of snowfall. We shovel, plow and lay salt and ice melters hoping to break the bond between the precipitation and the surface. Then we watch the weather, make necessary additional pushes and wait as temps drop overnight so we can jump out at 3 am to reapply. Sometimes this goes on for 3-5 days post storm. And that gets expensive. Let me explain the alternative that can save time and money plus produce better results.
There are 3 levels of treatment AMJ is proposing:This was the old school way of hurry up and wait for salt to work
All three may be necessary depending on the weather but let’s explore them on their own merits
Anti-icing – avoid the Abominable
Anti-icing measures take place before snow falls. The road surface is never “lost” because AMJ Snow Fighters are proactive.
Diana Clonch, owner of DW Clonch Consulting, who spoke at the Snow & Ice Symposium held in Ohio has a great analogy. Diana says, “It’s like making and egg. You add oil or butter to the pan, it creates a little layer, or cushion we can plow off of when we get there and nothing is stuck to the road”.
Proactive Snow Fighting with Brine Solutions
- Keeps Snow in plowable condition
- Reduces overall freezing temp (eutectic point)
- Requires less Salt and fewer repeat applications
- Gets into cracks and crevices rock salt cannot
- Doesn’t bounce or blow off surfaces
- Improves roadway friction
- Can provide bare pavement in some events by itself
- If storm bypasses, residue remains in place on the surface, ready to work when precipitation comes
- Reduces need for abrasives and follow up services
- Least to faster clean up after the storm has ended
- Reduces Environmental Impacts
- Reduces Overtime usage
- Rock Salt remains a crystal until humidity reaches 70%
There are several factors to consider before anti-icing with brine, most are moisture dependent. For example, brine should be applied to dry surfaces where rain is not forecast for 24 hours and temperatures are 20F to 35F. At above 35F salt will suck moisture out of the air, and below 20F there’s potential to create ice. There must be sufficient time for the solution to dry onto a surface before the surface’s temperature falls below 20F.
Some of the things we noticed and like about anti-icing with brine are:
- Easier plowing and stacking
- Adding Natural components like beet juice can improve sticking and again lower freezing point
- Good for up to 1 inch of snow melting by itself, but this cushion is key to reducing removal costs
- Add CaCl2 or MgCl2 for treatments below 20F and heavy pedestrian traffic areas
- Add GeoMelt 55 for maximum effectiveness
- 1/3-1/2 the amount of bulk salt product used per acre post storm treatment required
- More happy clients, open for business safely in less time
Traditional chemicals used by most contractors include Bulk Salt -Sodium Chloride (NaCl), Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2), and Calcium Chloride (CaCl2). But used separately they don’t work as good as when combined.
AMJ’s advantage is that we will pretreat surfaces to break that bond BEFORE it occurs.
Salt, sitting on paved surface by itself is inert unless moisture is introduced, and comes in contact with the granular rock salt. We’ve always known that once salt melts and gets a little slushy we had brine and we could plow more effectively. Of course, then we had black ice once temps dropped and would have to heavily re-salt. Bounce and blowing off surfaces is greatly reduced with pre-wetting. The formula is 23.3% salt dissolved with water.
It’s a tool you need to know about.
Every good chef knows brine rubbed on meat brings out the flavor. So, last year we tried that same theory on something different. We thought that if we pre-wetted the salt that we used in our spreaders it would react more quickly once spread. Sure enough that worked! We saw 50% faster reaction times and used less salt per acre than in previous years. Notably, the specific weather of any given storm is the determining factor but the difference was obvious. All our drivers reported the ease with which snow could be plowed and salt spreaders weren’t clogging like usual, plus the overnight salt guy (me) got done in half the time using half the salt. How cool is it that to not have to trek back to the loading bin in the wee hours of the morning after being up since yesterday? When I went back to survey the sites around 9 am things were beginning to dry out and people were amazed at the conditions of their sites. All in, a huge success. Never mind the cost saving to us as contractors for labor, wear and tear and fuel.
There are devices you can put on your trucks like saddle tanks to spray right into the spreader spinner during salt application. This is the most accurate method and will help you control your output and costs.
De-Icing is the most common means of removing ice from a customer’s facility. De-icing is the application of an ice-melting material after ice has formed on the pavement, sidewalk or other traffic area. This is the tedious part of snow and ice management. Customers are anxious to get their business up and running, you’ve been out for a day or more without sleep, mother nature never cooperates. But we have the solution, literally, if you want to speed up the process and provide better results with less cost, we recommend brine applications.
- Mixed with brine, MgCl2 , CaCl2 or beet juice can increase effectiveness
- Lowers freezing point temp
- Activates melting faster and controls refreeze
- Reduces bulk salt use 30% or more
- Can be directly applied to sidewalks, parking lots, loading docks, pavement, access roads
- Brine gets into the cracks and crevices where ice forms
- Reduces your cost on fuel, trucks, call backs, bulk salt and labor
- Low Toxicity
- Safe to Handle
- Surface dries faster
- Less call backs and touch ups
How to get started? AMJ can partner with you to set up a tank at any location you approve and be your supplier. We can also set you up with the purchase of the appropriate sprayers and tanks if you want to try it this season.
AMJ Landscaping, Inc. 8211-A Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Pasadena, MD 21122