To Salt or Not To Salt?

Posted by Everblades on 3rd Mar 2014

A common part of winter all over the US is road salt. This salt is dumped on roads from coast to coast, amounting to nearly 22 tons every year. Another common part of winter is the debate on whether salt causes more harm than good. The answer to that depends on many factors, including how road salt actually works.

The mechanics of salt are actually very simple. When added to water, salt lowers its freezing temperature. By putting salt down, it is possible to lower the snow and ice’s freezing point enough that it turns back into water. But that simplicity is what makes the salt debate so complex.

When temperatures are near the freezing point, a little salt will create a lot of water; especially if the sun is shining. When temperatures are lower, like many of the cold days we have had this winter, it takes a huge amount of salt to lower the temperature enough to change the ice. Eventually, even a large amount of salt becomes less effective in very low temperatures. Ultimately, any amount of salt will become completely ineffective.

Adding such large quantities of salt to roads can also harm the local water supply and cause damage to your car. It is largely for these reasons that places that stay near freezing will often use salt, because they don’t need very much; but places that stay colder during the winter will use sand or gravel instead.

Everblades® heated windshield wipers avoid the idea entirely, using tried-and-true heat to melt snow and ice from your wiper blades. Their dual heating system prevents buildup on your squeegee and wiper arm, and we leave the roads to somebody else.