Some ice melts won’t work when temperatures are this cold

Chemical ice melt works by lowering the freezing temperature turning ice and snow to water at temperatures below freezing.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – While this past week was cold, Saturday was both cold and snowy. It was another very cold and very wintry day around western Massachusetts Saturday.

Ovy Ortiz of Springfield told 22News, “It’s very icy out there. Lots of ice and a lot of snow and I see more coming down, so yah this might come in handy.”

But before you reach for a bag of rock salt to melt the snow, you may want to think again. With temperatures as cold as they’ve been lately, it really doesn’t matter how much rock salt you use, it’s just not going to be effective at melting and that’s why so many sidewalks, side streets, driveways and roads are covered with snow or ice.”

Chemical ice melt works by lowering the freezing temperature turning ice and snow to water at temperatures below freezing.

With temperatures lately below zero at night and only into the teens during the day, rock salt just won’t melt snow or ice when it’s that cold.

At rocky’s ace hardware in Springfield, they recommend a different chemical when the temperatures are this low.

“Regular rock salt ice melt only works down to 20 degrees, so there’s other ice melts that work down to other temperatures. Like your calcium chlorides, your magnesium chlorides will melt ice down to a lower temperature, down to -30 degrees” said Carl Combs of Rocky’s Ace hardware in Springfield.

When you’re buying your ice melt, most bags come with a chart listing the temperatures they’re most effective at melting.

Gene Morin switched to calcium chloride a few years ago. “It’s the little white flakes. They seemed to do a pretty good job yesterday, I put some out last night and it did melt it,” said Morin of Chicopee.

Rock salt does have it’s benefits. It’s about half the price of the other colder solutions. But, if you’re looking for a non chemical product, you can always use an ice chopper or throw sand on the snow and ice to bring extra traction.