PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Snow, sleet, and freezing rain – whatever falls this winter, it’s up to you to get it off your sidewalk and driveway. So what works best?
There are hundreds of products that can melt snow and ice.
KDKA’s Jon Burnett Reports —
Traditional rock salt is cheapest, but it does have some drawbacks. Rock salt doesn’t work when temperatures fall below 22 degrees. It’s also harmful to vegetation and can damage concrete.
Potassium chloride won’t hurt concrete, and is also less harmful to vegetation. It works in temperatures as low as 12 degrees.
In extremely cold temperatures, the best and most powerful ice melter is calcium chloride. It works down to minus-25 degrees.
While calcium chloride will melt snow and ice the fastest, it’s the most expensive option.
If you have pets, look for pet-friendly options that won’t burn their paws. But still wipe them off when they come in, so they don’t lick the chemicals.
Finally, if you want to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, there’s always plain old sand. Or you can use natural clay kitty litter without any added color or scents.
You can also try cracked corn.
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Winter weather can also take a toll on your car.
When it comes to gas, AAA recommends you keep at least a half-tank at all times during the winter, so your gas line doesn’t freeze.
If you find your door locks frozen, lock de-icer is your best friend.
KDKA’s Celina Pompeani Reports —
But if you don’t have any, you can use a lighter to warm up your car key, then stick it in the lock, and the hot key will thaw the lock from the inside.
If possible, avoid using your parking brake in below-freezing weather. It could freeze in the locked position.
While it’s true that newer cars need only 15 to 30 seconds of running time after a cold start, AAA still recommends warming up your vehicle for at least five to 10 minutes to warm your oil and engine.
And one other tip, never use cruise control when driving on snow or ice. If you start to slide, your car will be even harder to control.
When it comes to road conditions, the 511PA app is a good resource.
It provides real-time, hands-free traffic advisories for every PennDOT road, as well as major highways in West Virginia and New Jersey.