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Hardened Snow – How to Get Rid of Snow Fast?

August 7, 2023
Hardened Snow – How to Get Rid of Snow Fast?
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Snowstorms during the winter months can be hugely troublesome for businesses and homeowners alike.

Parking lots become inaccessible, get blocked, and driveways become slippery and dangerous. Snow presents enough of a challenge for walking and driving, but hardened snow can be even more troublesome. Over time, snow can harden either through the slow melting and re-freezing as the sun rises and sets, or through compaction.

Walking and driving on snow compacts it into solid ice, making it much harder to shovel away. Are you wondering how to melt snow fast? Thankfully, there are ways you can handle it, and today, our team at Earth Development will share some handy tips and tricks with you.

1. Melt the Ice

Salt for Hardened Snow

Melting the ice is easily one of the best ways to remove snow. Hardened snow and ice can be tough to crack and move, so melting it is the obvious alternative.

The question is…how do you melt it?

Many businesses stock up on bags of salt to prepare for the next winter season, and we always recommend laying salt before the bad weather arrives. However, applying salt on your driveways will help melt the snow and give you more of a grip.

If you don't have salt, try combining a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, a teaspoon of dish soap, and around half a gallon of water. Mix it in a bucket and pour it over your driveway, focusing on the spots that have been most impacted.

Rock Salt and Ice Melt

Rock salt and ice melt are commonly used to melt hardened snow and ice. These products work by lowering the freezing point of water, causing the ice to melt. Here's what you need to know about rock salt and ice melts:

Rock Salt:

  • Rock salt, also known as sodium chloride, is one of the most widely used de-icing agents when snow falls.
  • It is affordable and readily available in most stores.
  • Rock salt works effectively at temperatures above 15°F (-9°C).
  • It can help to melt ice and create traction on slippery surfaces.
  • However, it has limitations in extremely cold temperatures and may not be as effective as other de-icing options.

Ice Melts:

  • Ice melts are chemical compounds designed to melt ice and snow.
  • An ice melt often contains ingredients like calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, or potassium chloride.
  • Ice melts are more effective at lower temperatures compared to rock salt.
  • They can melt ice and snow even in sub-zero temperatures.
  • Ice melts are available in various formulations, including pellets, flakes, or liquids.
  • Some ice melts are formulated to be pet-friendly and environmentally friendly.

When Using Rock Salt or Ice Melts:

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and safety precautions.
  • Avoid excessive use, as it can lead to environmental damage and harm plants.
  • Be cautious when using near concrete or other sensitive surfaces, as prolonged exposure to these products can cause damage.

Homemade Deicer

Dealing with hardened snow can be challenging, but you can make your own DIY snow melt to help break it down. Here are a few options:

  1. Saltwater Solution: Mix water and table salt in a bucket or spray bottle. Apply the solution to the hardened snow to lower its freezing point and aid in melting.
  2. Rubbing Alcohol Solution: Mix rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the hardened snow to break it down and accelerate melting.
  3. Vinegar Solution: Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the snow and let it sit to help break it down.
  4. Hot Water: Boil water and pour it over the hardened snow. The hot water will melt the snow and make it easier to remove.

Keep in mind that homemade deicers' effectiveness in removing snow may vary based on temperature and snow accumulation severity. Hardened snow may require repeated applications or additional mechanical methods for complete removal.

Use caution when using homemade deicers and consider their impact on surfaces and vegetation. Test a small area before applying these household ingredients to a larger surface.

2. Plastic Tarp Instead of a Shovel

If you're tired of shoveling snow, a plastic tarp could save you a lot of time.

When you expect snow to fall, place a plastic tarp over important parts of your sidewalk, lawn, or driveway. Then, when you need to use the driveway, simply pull away the plastic tarp and the snow will move with it.

Naturally, if there's a lot of snowfall, the tarp may become heavy to remove – but if you're able to do it, it's much quicker than shoveling snow every day.

3. Leaf Blower

Leaf Blower against Hardened Snow

Leaf blowers are extremely powerful, and you can bet that all of that power they exert can work fine with snow. The only problem, however, is that when snow becomes too hard, the leaf blower may not have the effect you need.

Use the leaf blower earlier on during a snowfall event, and try to keep on top of it if you can. Once the snow becomes too hard, the leaf blower will become ineffective.

4. Wet/Dry Vacuum

A wet/dry vacuum is perfect for smaller outdoor spaces that need to be cleared of hard snow. These devices can suck up fluid and damp materials without damaging the equipment, so as long as your vacuum is big enough, it should be able to handle fluffy snow and only recently hardened snow.

A better way to use the vacuum, however, is changing the setting to blow. Good wet/dry vacuum cleaners will offer this option, meaning you can enjoy the effect of a leaf blower without splashing out on a brand-new piece of equipment.

5. Employ Smart Snow-Blowing

When dealing with hardened snow, using a smart snow blower can be a quick and effective method of removal. We've outlined some tips for using a smart snow blower to get rid of hardened snow:

  1. Choose the right snow blower: Select a powerful snow blower with adjustable features to handle hardened snow effectively.
  2. Clear the area: Remove any obstacles or debris from the area before operating the snow blower.
  3. Adjust settings: Set the chute direction and angle to throw the snow away from the desired area. Adjust the speed and power settings based on the hardness and thickness of the snow.
  4. Take small passes: Make several smaller passes instead of trying to clear large piles of hardened snow at once.
  5. Maintain the machine: Regularly inspect and maintain your snow blower to ensure optimal performance. Keep the auger and chute clear of snow and debris.
  6. Prioritize safety: Wear appropriate protective gear and be mindful of bystanders or pets in the area.

Smart snow blowers offer additional benefits, including sensors and automated features that optimize snow removal efficiency. However, if the snow is too thick or compacted for the snow blower, consider seeking professional snow removal services or using alternative methods to break it down.

Prevention Is the Best Protection: Tips to Employ Before a Snowstorm

Prepare for the upcoming snowstorm with these essential tips to protect your property and ensure a safe and comfortable environment before the snow starts to fall.

Cover Your Property in Advance

how to melt snow fast

Cover up your property in advance by:

  • Installing storm windows or using plastic film to insulate windows.
  • Applying weatherstripping to doors to prevent drafts.
  • Wrapping outdoor pipes with insulation to prevent freezing.
  • Adding extra insulation to attics and crawl spaces.
  • Clearing gutters and downspouts of debris to prevent ice dams.
  • Trim tree branches near your property to prevent them from falling on structures during heavy snowfall.

Consider Snow-Melting Mats

Snow melting mats are an innovative solution to efficiently melt snow and ice on driveways, walkways, sidewalks, and other surfaces. These mats provide a convenient and effective way to prevent snow buildup and eliminate the need for manual shoveling or plowing. With their advanced heating technology, snow melting mats offer a hassle-free way to keep your property clear and safe during winter storms.

Pretreat Your Property

Pretreating your property is a proactive measure that can help prevent snow and ice buildup before a winter storm hits.

  • Apply a liquid deicer or salt brine solution to your property before the snowstorm. This creates a barrier that prevents snow from bonding to the pavement.
  • Pretreatment makes snow removal easier and more effective.
  • The deicer lowers the freezing point of water, reducing ice formation. It minimizes the risk of slip and fall accidents.

Call Local Snow Removal Experts Instead

While these are all fantastic tips for any business owner who wants to quickly remove snow, there's a better way!

We have decades of experience helping businesses keep their outdoor spaces safe to use during the winter months. Not only do we offer in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, but we also offer preventative maintenance. All the work is done on your behalf so you don't have to stress.

The Earth Development team uses salt and various other proven deicing agents to treat your driveways, pavements, and parking lots. We act pre-emptively on the advice of meteorologists and ensure you're prepared for bad winter weather.

For more information about our snow and ice removal services, for a free quote, or even to see our fleet of vehicles and to meet the team, don't hesitate to get in touch! Save yourself the hassle and call your local experts at Earth Development today, or contact us online!

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?