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Nick’s Tip: Look To The Sun

by Nick Vitrano

Our run of brutal winter weather has been equally impactful on those seeking to purchase sidewalk/driveway salt.  You know when you realize you’re out of salt?  When you go to get your bucket of salt. 

If you’ve ventured out in the last couple of weeks in hopes of grabbing a 20 or 40 pound bag…heck, a 6 pound bag…you’ve undoubtedly encountered some form of the following:

“We are SOLD OUT of ice-melt.  Sorry for the inconvenience.”

But let not your heart be troubled.  It’s likely that the store is still in possession of plenty of water softener solar salt.  Buy it up and get to spreading.

If you juxtapose the two options, there’s a singular difference between – one is rock salt, one is solar salt.  The difference isn’t mere semantics, but in terms of the effectiveness of melting ice and snow, it might as well be.  It’s simply an issue of harvesting.  Rock salt is mined.  Solar salt is achieved by evaporating sea water.  That’s pretty much it.  Each melts that driveway invader and does a bang-up job…with one tiny exception. 

Be careful in what form you select your solar salt.

Water softener options come in pellets and crystals.  While both will melt, the pellets are bigger, more solid - a slower dissolve rate.  They’ll bust through the ice but then pretty much just sit there.  If you have a way to bust ‘em up a bit, that’s perfect, but you can save yourself a little frustration by simply going with the crystals.

The next time your favorite hardware store is sold out of the ice-melt, ask if they have any water softener salt.  You won’t be disappointed.  Oh, and you just might same a buck or two, as well.