Icy conditions: The best kinds of salt to protect your property

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CLEVELAND —The bitter cold temperatures and the snow that's on the way could cause plenty of problems getting in and out of your house.  That’s why bags of salt are one of the most popular supplies this time of the year at any hardware store.

“We just got a special delivery in today of more rock salt and ice melt. We’ve been out of it since last weekend,” said Ron Krzewinski an ACE Hardware Sales Associate.

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People are busy getting prepared for the next blast of cold air set to hit the area.

“Usually just on my sidewalk and for my stoop for my front door and I also use it down the driveway a bit so I don’t fall when I go get the mail,” said Brecksville resident, Myron Klos.

There are several different kinds of salt and ice melt available.  The key for all of them is using in moderation.

“If you spread it down heavy or leave piles on the concrete surfaces it will do damage to the concrete,” said Krzewinski.

Another thing to consider when buying salt: Look to see if what you’re buying is calcium chloride or magnesium chloride-based.  There is a difference.

“You definitely don’t want to use a calcium chloride for pets. It will definitely bother their paws,” Krzewinski said.

But calcium chloride can be the best ice melter for driveways because its effective temperature is -25 degrees.

“This is the safest ice melt to use on concrete where you don’t get scaling,” said Krzewinski.

Avoid using rock salt if you can, especially on concrete driveways; the effects of it can be a long-term nuisance.

“You don’t want to use it on concrete. It will pick and flake the surface even if you use it in a moderate fashion,” Krzewinski said. “It’s good if you have a gravel driveway or stones.”

And if you’re having trouble with icicles forming on your gutters, consider roof melt.

“What’s nice about it, you just stay on the ground and throw the tablets up on top of the roof and as the tablets dissolve, it melts the snow and the ice. And it comes down and it lets the water run off the roof,” Krzewinski said.

Here is another tip if you do buy a bag of salt: Don’t place the bag of salt directly on the concrete. The concrete absorbs water. The bag that holds the salt will also absorb that water, meaning when you go use your salt, it will be clumpy.