Deicing Operations

Deicing operations involve application of chemical freezing-point depressant such as salts to break the bond of already-bonded snow and ice.  Different from anti-icing, deicing is a reactive process intended to melt the snow and ice that have accumulated and bonded to the pavement.  Deicing is the most widely used strategy in the current practice for snow and ice control at parking lots and sidewalks. 

The general guidelines for deicing operations as applied to snow and ice control of parking lots and sidewalks are summarized as follows:
  • Plow first before applying salt. Where ever possible, avoid using salt to melt off snow;
  • Follow the application rate recommended for the particular weather and local conditions (Optimum salt application rates will be developed as part of this research; the minimum salt application rates used in highway snow and ice control are provided in the following link);
  • Don't apply a deicing chemical when the pavement temperature is below its practical lowest effective temperature (PLET);
  • Avoid using salt and sand mix;
  • At low temperature, consider using salt prewetted with calcium or magnesium chloride which have lower working temperature;
  • For extreme cold weather, avoid using chemicals and consider using abrasives only;
  • Consider ant-icing strategy to prevent bonding of snow and ice to pavement for easy subsequent plowing operations.

Practical lowest effective temperatures of various deicing chemicals

Recommended salt application rates (to be developed)

Minimum salt application rates used in highway snow and ice control (from literature)