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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of ice melt should I apply?
    For asphalt surfaces we recommend straight salt. For concrete surfaces we recommend a blended product that has a lower melting temp and can reduce potential damage to the surface. But no chloride product can absolutely guarantee no damage. Freeze / thaw cycles from weather extremes are more indicative of potential damage than the product. Do not use snow and ice melt on concrete that is less than one year old or that was not properly finished or cured; spalling or flaking may occur. When used properly, snow and ice melt products will not harm air-entrained, good quality concrete in an average winter. If you are unsure of the quality of your concrete, please consult a concrete professional.
  • Does the cheapest ice melt work as well as more expensive ice melt?
    Straight salt (NaCl) will work down to about 0 F. High performance chlorides (calcium chloride (CaCl2) and magnesium chloride (MgCl2)) are more expensive than straight salt, but reduce the melting temperatures, working as low as -25F. Often the application rate of higher performance products is less, so the use cost is often very similar.
  • How much ice melt should I apply?  Is more better?
    Application rates can vary based on temperature, snow/ice depth, and ice content. Suggested applications for salt blends are ½ to 1 ½ cups per square yard, less as the blend of high performance chlorides, like magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, go up. For best results, check the bag for recommended application rate for the individual product. Directions for best results; use prior or during a snowstorm. · Shovel or plow accumulated snow prior to application. · Evenly spread product on desired area. Suggested application rate is 2-4 ounces (1/4 -1/2 cup) per square yard of surface. Rate of application may vary due to temperature, snow depth and ice content. · Remove accumulated slush after melting occurs. If you do not remove the slush, it can refreeze and become slick again. Leaving ice melt on cleared surfaces can also increase the potential concrete damage from freeze / thaw cycles. More is NOT better, as applying more can lead to vegetation damage, corrosion, concrete damage, and wasted resources.
  • How quickly will it work?
    The colder the temperatures (both ground and air), the slower the ice melt will work. But 15-20 minutes is usually enough to break up the ice and turn it into slush. If you do not remove the slush promptly, it can refreeze into ice and nothing is accomplished. Refreezing can also increase potential of concrete damage when the ice melt just thaws (in the day time / sunlight) and refreezes overnight.
  • Is ice melt harmful to people, animals, or the environment?"
    In small quantities, No. If ingested in small quantities, our products should cause no harm; however, if ingested in larger quantities you should seek medical attention. During application if some product gets on vegetation there should be no damage; however, if a pile is dumped in one spot it can stunt or kill the vegetation. If you have browning around your sidewalks from chlorides, you can sprinkle gypsum or magnesium sulfate (Epson salts) on the ground in the brown areas in the spring, and it will help mitigate the salt damage.
  • What is Pet Friendly?  What should I know about the products that claim "pet friendly?""
    Salt can have sharp edges that create tiny nicks in paws. Salt in those nicks can irritate, but not endanger, the pet. Most pets can tolerate salt just fine, but some are more sensitive. Magnesium chloride works at lower temperatures and is also non-irritating and safe for pets. A naturally harvested mineral from the Great Salt Lake, it is also gentle on the environment and vegetation. Typically priced between salt/blends and CMA, it offers economy (you actually use only about 30% of salt rates) and safety. Calcium chloride blends are less pet friendly, as the particles of calcium chloride can irritate paws and fingers when it heats up. Gloves are recommended for use with calcium chloride blends, and although they are quick and effective melters, they are less pet friendly than other products. Urea based ice melts contain nitrogen, which is regulated in some states, as it contributes to algae bloom in rivers and lakes. It is a poor melter – only to about 10⁰ F – but is safe and non-irritating. CMA (Calcium Magnesium Acetate) is also safe and non-irritating. Its corrosiveness is about the same as water, so it’s safe for (even new) concrete. It is a specialty product and carries a price premium.
  • Should one use different ice melts in different climates?
    Yes. Ice melting is chemistry and science. An effective ice melt must contain the appropriate elements for your particular climate. Understanding how much melting temperature performance is needed is key to getting the best results. Regular economy rock salt can be fully acceptable for climates where the low temperatures are seldom under 0 F. But for more extreme temperatures, one may want to consider a magnesium chloride or calcium chloride blend to increase the melting temperatures to -15 F or colder.
  • Which is better - calcium chloride or magnesium chloride?
    Both products are fit for purpose when used as recommended. They have different characteristics and work best in slightly different circumstances. Calcium chloride is exothermic, which means it creates heat when it goes into solution. It can burn skin and paws, as gloves are recommended for application. It "burns" through the ice and is faster acting, but can promote more freeze / thaw damage to concrete if not removed after slush is created. Magnesium chloride is gentler on vegetation, concrete, and pets. No gloves are needed, and it's non-toxic to kids and pets. It melts a bit slower than calcium chloride, but goes down to about -25 and is an excellent all-around ice melter. Because it melts a bit slower, the freeze / thaw cycles are potentially less stressful to the concrete.
  • Why does ice melt sometimes damage concrete?
    The freeze and thaw cycle is what causes cracking and spalling of concrete. Most de-icing products create a liquid brine after melting snow and ice, and the brine seeps into the porous concrete. When it refreezes, it expands. If the temperature swings are fast, the expansion can cause more damage than if the temperature swings are slower. In any concrete that is not properly cured (new or poor quality), freezing expansion can create fissures / cracks. As the water thaws / freezes many times through the winter, the fissures can become bigger and cause the concrete to flake off (spalling). It depends less on the actual product than on the temperature swings as to when concrete damage occurs. Good quality, well air-entrained concrete should be able to stand up to the freeze / thaw cycles of an average winter. De-icing products on their own do not chemically harm concrete surfaces. But in winters with wide swings in temperature, even the best quality of concrete can be susceptible to damage from nearly any deicing product, from wide swings in temperature that create multiple freeze / thaw cycles.
  • Can any chlorides be used on new concrete?
    No chlorides can be used on new concrete. The curing process often takes a year, depending on weather and temperatures. The freeze / thaw cycles that are indicative of chlorides can create fissures in the uncured concrete. The only product we approve on new concrete is an acetate, like our Viper 2.0 (calcium magnesium acetate), Viper N (sodium acetate) or Viper Elite (potassium acetate). Any of these three products can be used on new concrete.
  • Why are Viper products less corrosive and damaging to concrete than chloride based products?
    Acetates are gentler because they do not contain chlorides that can corrode metal. Also, the freeze / thaw cycles are slower, so they do not deteriorate concrete with rapid freeze / thaw cycles.
  • If I am in a moderately hard water area, do I need a softener?"
    The benefits of softeners can extend the life of appliances and reduce the amount of detergent and shampoo needed, regardless of the hardness of the water. It is a personal preference, but all households can benefit.
  • What is the difference in color of the bags?
    The colors are industry standards for the type of salt inside – the blue bag is pure salt crystals – no cleaners. The yellow bag is pellets or cubes. Both are compacted salt into different shapes. They may or may not contain a resin cleaner – check the bag to see if they do or not. The green bag contains an iron / manganese remover for very hard water and softener maintenance.
  • What is the difference between crystals and pellets?  Is one better than the other?
    Crystals and pellets are both equally fit for purpose in a water softener. Pellets (or cubes) usually contain a resin cleaner that helps remove iron and manganese from the water and cleans the resin beads in the softener.
  • Why are there two types of pellets – one in a yellow bag, and one in a green bag?"
    The green bag contains more of the resin cleaner that is good in especially hard water areas. The yellow bag is for maintenance if you do not think you have much iron in your water. The green bag is for cleaning the resin when you have significant iron. A good rule of thumb is one green bag for every 6-8 yellow or blue bags to keep the softener working at optimum levels.
  • Does the brand of salt matter?
    Softener salt must contain the NSF International ( approval symbol on the bag. NSF certifies that the supplier’s raw materials and processes are safe for use in drinking water. Always look for that symbol to be sure that you are getting a suitable product. Different brands may also be slightly different colors, shapes, or contain some broken pieces and fines from transport to the store where you bought it. These small differences do not affect the salt's fit for purpose.
  • What if my pellets have small pieces and fines in the bag?
    Pellets can break apart a bit from transportation and handling to the store and home. This does not affect the quality of the product. It is still fit for purpose.
  • The salt varies in color a little.  Some is whiter than others.
    Natural salt has some variety of color from where and how it was harvested. As long as it contains the NSF approval symbol, the quality of the salt remains the same.
  • What is the sediment that I see in my softener over time?
    Small amounts of sediment are sometimes seen from the natural process of solar evaporation. This should not affect the performance of your softener. Most manufactures of water softeners recommend cleaning the salt tank at least once per year.
Customer Testimonials

Throughout my career and through a career change, I have had the opportunity to work with Salt Depot. I have had a relationship with the owner for as long as I can remember and have been a supporter of their products since Salt Depot originated.   I rep many products  and one thing I always know is that Salt Depot will take care of us and do whatever necessary. They have my back and that allows me to better provide for my customers.

– Henry Ortega, Wilbur Ellis

In 2010, I was considering taking out a large business loan to purchase the necessary equipment to blend and bag my own snow & ice melt line.  Because of the proximity of the Great Salt Lake, there are multiple snow & ice melt bagging operations in the Salt Lake Valley.  Unfortunately, after years in the industry and interviewing owners and testing products, I struggled to find one I respected or trusted to make my product. When I met Darrin, I was immediately impressed that we had likeminded goals which were to provide quality products supported by straightforward, factual chemical data and testing.  Our business dealings were sealed and I am proud to be associated with Salt Depot. 

– Nancy Ayers

Ultraviolet Inc

I have personally worked with Salt Depot for almost a decade from both a management and sales role. Our storefront is a couple miles from their manufacturing facility. One thing that has been important to me and to our company is their support over the years. Not only in servicing our account and getting us product but also events that support SiteOne. I think they do their best to make sure we are sincerely taken care of and I appreciate the personal approach from the Owner himself, management, and all divisions of Salt Depot. Communication, support, honesty and quality of products and staff make it easy to continue to work with them year after year.

-Brett Olsen


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