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BEFORE THE BIG CHILL Key considerations when purchasing de-icing products to combat winter’s wrath by Nate Clemmer


he 2018 Canadian Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting a return to a colder, more normal winter from Quebec east to the Maritimes, with many locations experiencing snowier than normal conditions. Ontario is expected to see periods of mild temperatures and tranquil conditions mixed with occasional spells of tempestuous and very cold weather. British Columbia can expect below normal precipitation, though it won’t be immune from storms that sweep off the Pacific Ocean and cold weather that pushes south from the Yukon, while the Prairie provinces are anticipated to see above normal temperatures and moderate amounts of snow. For decades, the almanac has become a closely watched predictor of winter weather; however, many meteorologists question its long-term forecasts. After all, it’s difficult enough to predict the

weather five days in advance, let alone several months. Regardless of whether this year’s predictions come true or not, one thing is certain: Now is the time to prep for snow and ice removal because come winter it’ll be too late. There are various products on the market for managing the season’s worst, which can make choosing a de-icing material a difficult task. To assist with the decision-making process, here are five key performance criteria that should be considered when evaluating this type of product. CRITERION ONE: POTENTIAL FOR TRACKING RESIDUE ON FLOORS

Ninety per cent of granular ice melt tracked into a facility is the result of pedestrian traffic within the first 15 feet of the building entrance. Sodium chloride granular de-icers


leave a white residue that can dull the finish of floors and fade the colour of carpet, while calcium and magnesium chloride-based products coat floors with an oily, slippery residue that damages wax and urethane finishes, posing a safety risk to employees and visitors. The neutral pH formulations of formic technology de-icers eliminate tracking, reducing near-term labour costs associated with manual cleaning, estimated at $50 per entrance per day, according to the International Sanitary Supply Association’s (ISSA) Clean Management Institute. In the long-term, this reduces the need for full strip and recoats, which is a significantly higher expense. CRITERION TWO: ECO-FRIENDLINESS AND NON-CORROSIVITY

Calcium, sodium and magnesium granular chloride products are all hydroscopic,

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Facility Cleaning & Maintenance  

November 2017

Facility Cleaning & Maintenance  

November 2017