(ANGIE'S LIST) - The heavy blanket of snow we saw in the Lowcountry this week although pretty could be a hassle.
Especially if snow is blocking your driveway or sidewalk.
You probably just call it salt, but the substance you or a snow removal company spreads on your driveway and sidewalk to melt ice is actually a treated compound.
"Not all snow and ice removal products are created equally, so be sure you understand what product works best with your driveway or sidewalk," says Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks.
Jim Brandon, owner of Landmark DBM, an Indianapolis landscaping and snow removal company, says his team uses a variety of different products and treated ice melters.
"If salt's not treated with the different chemicals that they put on it, then it won't melt ice at lower temperatures. So rock salt works at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit and up, where ice melters work at negative five degrees and up," says Brandon.
Brandon uses ice melter sparingly on concrete and recommends homeowners do the same.
"We don't usually use ice melter on concrete. Over time, it will deteriorate the concrete." "There is no ice melter or salt that's perfectly safe on concrete," says Brandon.
Brandon says the cost of hiring a professional for your snow removal could in some cases be worth the money to avoid the strain and hassle of doing it yourself.
"Weigh the risk, for fifty bucks to have somebody come through, plow your driveway, get it nice and clear for you, shovel all the way to the front walk and then it gets to melt the rest of the day while you're at work, I think it's money well spent," says Brandon.
Whether you or a professional lay the salt, Brandon recommends using a shovel or broom after the snow melts and sweeping up the remaining salt grains, so they don't get into your lawn and cause damage to grass or plants.