Myths & Misconceptions About Snow & Ice Management

Posted: Sep 23, 2022

Snow and ice can be a big headache for many business owners or property managers. Dealing with snow and ice quickly is essential to keeping your property safe; however, there seems to be a lot of myths about the best ways to handle them. While some myths are relatively harmless, others can make snow and ice removal more difficult or even raise the risk of accidents and injuries. Knowing the difference between fact and fiction is key to minimizing liability risks on your property.

Here are 7 myths about commercial snow and ice management:

7 Busted Snow and Ice Removal Myths

  1. More De-Icer Is Better

    When it comes to using de-icer, more isn’t always better. In fact, using too much de-icer can actually be just as dangerous as not using any at all. Excess de-icer has a tendency to turn everything into a slushy mess that can be just as slippery as an icy sidewalk. You also have a greater chance of harming your lawn or plants when using too much de-icer. Instead of going overboard with de-icers after ice has formed, it’s best to pre-treat surfaces so that you prevent ice from forming and bonding to the pavement in the first place.

  2. De-Icers Melt Snow, So I Don’t Need to Shovel

    De-icers are actually pretty worthless when it comes to melting snow, so relying on them to clear snow from your property is wasteful both materials-wise and budget-wise. De-icers can help keep walkways from freezing over when used properly, but any accumulated snow or slush will still need to be cleared the old-fashioned way.

  3. Hot Water Works for De-Icing

    Using hot water to melt ice is actually a pretty terrible idea. Not only will the hot water refreeze eventually (creating more ice), hot water can actually freeze faster than cold water under the right conditions (this is called the Mpemba effect). If you’re using hot water to melt ice, the only thing you’re really going to achieve is creating a layer of black ice, which greatly increases the risk of injuries on your property.

  4. Sand and Cat Litter Can Melt Snow and Ice in A Pinch

    If you’ve run out of normal de-icers, your best bet is to just go get some more. Sand and cat litter don’t melt snow or ice at all – they’re only used to increase traction on slippery surfaces. Snowplows often use a mix of salt and sand when plowing streets (the salt melts ice, the sand increases traction for cars), but trying to clear your sidewalks with only sand or cat litter won’t do anything to clear your property of icy hazards.

  5. Snow and Ice Removal Should Be Done At Night

    The thinking behind this myth is that clearing snow and ice is much easier at night, when most parking lots are empty. However, it’s best to clear snow as it’s falling – or as soon as possible afterward – to prevent it from compacting and solidifying. Also, the less snow and water runoff that are present once the sun goes down means that less ice will form overnight as temperatures drop.

  6. We Should Just Let Snow Melt On Its Own Instead of Removing It

    Colorado is somewhat unique in that it’s not uncommon at all for it to snow, and 30 minutes after the sun is shining without a cloud in the sky. While the sun can be incredibly efficient at melting snow and ice, the main problem with this is what can happen if things aren’t completely dry once the sun goes down. Any leftover water will inevitably freeze as temperatures drop at night, and this can lead to sheets of black ice all over your property. It’s best to clear as much ice and snow as possible from walkways and other hardscapes manually; if/when the sun comes back out, it will make quick work of anything that’s left.

  7. Hiring Professional Commercial Snow Removal Is Expensive

    This is one of the most common snow removal myths we hear, and is a big reason why many businesses may be putting off hiring a professional snow removal contractor. Many property owners may also feel like they can handle things themselves, especially with our recent streak of average to below-average snow seasons. However, working out the right snow removal contract for your property and business needs will help keep costs at a minimum while freeing up your most important asset: time. Since hiring a professional snow removal contractor allows you to spend more time on what’s important to you, it’s arguably more cost-effective than going it alone.

Keep Your Property Clear & Safe With Snow Management Services this Winter

For over 25 years, SMS has been the preferred snow removal contractor for hundreds of commercial properties in the Denver area. It all starts with winter property planning, taking the time to identify the most efficient way to keep your property clear and highlighting any possible trouble areas. Quick snow removal and de-icing are critical so that parking lots and sidewalks are clear in order to prevent winter accidents or injuries. Our team is committed to rapid response times during even the roughest winter weather. We can even haul snow off-site to keep your property presentable.

To see how SMS can help your Denver-area business or commercial property, give us a call today at (303) 750-8867 or get in touch with us online to get started.