SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts homeowners are picking up bags of salt and sand to melt the snow around their houses, but it’s important to know what to buy and how to properly use it. Sand and salt are used for very different purposes, depending on what you need it for.
22News went to Rocky’s Ace Hardware in Springfield to find out when each is appropriate to use, and any risks. Employee Marilyn Nicewicz told 22News, “The sand you can put down anytime. The sand is not going to melt anything. It’s just going to help you with traction.”
The purpose of sand is only to create traction. You’ll want to sprinkle it on any surface where you’ll walk or drive before it snows.
Rock salt helps melt ice and snow on asphalt. According to the professionals at Rocky’s Ace Hardware, there are different types of rock salt, and the type that you buy depends not only on your home, but also your family needs.
Rock salt is the standard, and should be used only during the day on blacktop. It helps melt snow and ice if it’s warmer than freezing: 32 degrees.
If temperatures are at or below freezing, you’ll want to use magnesium or calcium chloride. These are more expensive, but they can be put down at any time, and they’re what you should use on concrete.
Nicewicz told 22News never use rock salt on concrete. “If you’ve got new concrete that’s less than a year old, it will eat through the concrete. So you want to stay away from the rock salt. The rock salt will eat through.”
Some snow-melting products are pet-friendly. They protect your pet’s paws from burning, and won’t damage your lawn or concrete.
Rocky’s suggests homeowners buy calcium chloride… it’s safer, and gives overall protection for both your pets and your home. Professionals say to sprinkle snow-melt as often as needed. Use less when it’s sunny.
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