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Calcium Chloride & Calcium Magnesium Acetate Comparison

October 11, 2022
Calcium Chloride & Calcium Magnesium Acetate Comparison
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For any business that has had to deal with snow removal and ice management, the words “Calcium Chloride” and “Calcium Magnesium Acetate” might mean more to you than for most people. These are two extremely common deicing agents used to reduce ice formation and snow build-up.

The two ice melting products are extremely effective, but they have different qualities. The fact that different agents work at different speeds and under different conditions is one of the reasons why the advice of snow removal experts is so important.

So what are the differences between these two popular deicing agents?

What Do These Two Have In Common?

Both Calcium Chloride and Calcium Magnesium Acetate are effective deicing agents that are less caustic than Sodium Chloride (rock salt). That means they’re ideal for concrete and asphalt, causing less damage and corrosion to these outdoor surfaces.

They are pet-friendly, plant-friendly, and they’re ideal for use as a pre-treatment to prevent ice from bonding to pavements. Using these agents makes it easier to clear snow away from the ground, which means snow removal is quicker and simpler.

What’s more, they can both be mixed with regular rock salt or even sand. This reduces costs when combined with rock salt, and increases friction on the ground when combined with sand. All in all, they are fantastic options for any company with outdoor spaces and entryways that are compromised during the winter months.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Calcium Magnesium Acetate is a popular alternative to regular rock salt and is typically used on the ground that may be vulnerable to corrosion. Let’s take a look at its pros and cons.

Pros of Calcium Magnesium Acetate

First off, Calcium Magnesium Acetate is as corrosive as normal tap water, making it ideal for asphalt and concrete surfaces that are vulnerable to corrosion. The lack of chlorine in the compound is the reason why it is so fantastic at melting ice without compromising your pavement or asphalt.

Low toxicity means it’s also not going to destroy plant life or pose a risk to animals.

Cons of Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Like regular rock salt, Calcium Magnesium Acetate is not effective at very low temperatures. You should expect this compound to work at the same temperatures as rock salt, around 15ºF.

CMA isn’t as useful on ice that has already bonded with the ground but is excellent as a pre-treatment.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium Chloride

Calcium Chloride is one of the other top deicing agents used by professional snow and ice removal experts, and it offers a few unique benefits.

Not only that, but this substance works fast. Really fast. Calcium Chloride can melt twice as much ice and snow as rock salt. It also helps minimize dust on the roads and doesn’t leave behind the kind of residue that you might expect from rock salt.

Pros of Calcium Chloride

Calcium Chloride is used so widely because of its ability to melt ice and snow at lower temperatures. Combine it with other substances and you’ll be melting snow and ice at temperatures as low as -25º.

Cons of Calcium Chloride  

While Calcium Chloride does contain chloride, it’s about one-third of the amount found in regular rock salt. That means it can be corrosive and has a caustic effect on the pavement, but the fact that less of it is needed to melt ice means it causes less damage than rock salt does.

This substance is also slightly more expensive than CMA and rock salt, making it great for mixing with these other deicing agents.

Which One Should You Choose For Your Commercial Property?

It depends on your situation! If you need something affordable that works at moderately cold temperatures, CMA is perfect for you.

However, for more severe winter weather, Calcium Chloride may be the right option.

And don’t forget…you can always combine substances, and even introduce regular rock salt and sand to the mix!

Why Not Leave It to the Experts?

At Earth Development, we know precisely what deicing agents are best for your property.

So why not leave it to the experts?

Give our team a call and we’ll arrange a consultation and a free quote, and our local snow removal experts will come up with an ice management plan to see you through the winter!

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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The amount of snow Minnesota gets each winter fluctuates, but it’s typically safe to expect a consistent amount throughout the winter months. Last year, did you have enough space on your property to store plowed snow?