December 26, 1999 

Volume 1, Issue #03

Chuck's Snowplowing Newsletter

Applying Deicers & Anti - Icing
Well, I've discussed deicers on my pages before. There is so much thought that must go into their application. It all depends on the results you want from what you apply. Is your goal to have no ice at all, as in "anti-icing"? Is your goal to just improve traction?
It makes a difference somewhat. Is deicing part of your contract, applied at your discretion, or a per call service? This makes a difference as well. Just because it snows, doesn't mean deicer must be applied. The temperature of the ground, the air, the type of snow, forecasted temperatures, and overall forecast all affect how, when and if deicers should be applied. Additionally, there are so many types of deicers, effective at different temperatures.
Anti-icing, is a zero tolerance of ice, period. No ice, on any surfaces. An arsenal of deicers is necessary, due to the various conditions that may arise. An effective ice control program begins with an accurate, up to date forecast, including observing Doppler radar, the previous, and the projected storm track. Outside air temperature, and forecasted temperatures should be noted, as well as projected snowfall amount. Surface temperature should be noted as well. You can then surmise how much, and what type of deicers you'll be applying, and when.

To better convey my meaning, I'll give an example situation or two.

Example 1.
The forecast is for 2 - 4", in the next 5 hours or so. The outside air and surface temps are in the low 20's. The temps are forecasted to stay in the low 20's. The snow is coming from the North, where it's colder. It will be a light powdery snow. The ground being as cold as it is, will not promote melting on contact.
Therefore, ice should not be a problem. Compacted snow might be, and deicer is the way to remove that. Overall, little deicer would be used in this situation. Because the temps are low enough, to keep the snow frozen. Applying deicer, will actually create icy spots. Not applying deicer, may encourage the ground to dry up. Much like food in your freezer, and the way ice cubes get small, when no one uses them for a while. It evaporates. Winter winds are very drying. Of course if there are large patches of melting snow, in a busy parking lot, cars tracking it in, and dropping clumps of salt treated slush, deicer may be a must. You may need to apply it in the beginning, as per your contract. Busy businesses need protection from slick lots and walkways.
The deicer you apply, is your choice, but keep in mind, the colder it gets, the less ice salt will melt. Colder temps call for Calcium Chloride, or one of the many blends on the market. Another alternative, is to salt the lot to death. It's sometimes cheaper.

Cell Phones & 2 Way Radios
It seems many of us have cell phones. Part of our daily business lives. It's only natural they should be used, and are commonly used for plowing operations too.
Bell Atlantic offers a "cell to cell" plan, with great package deals. Nextel offers two-way radio digital communications. Even from contractor to sub contractor, etc. As long as it's another Nextel user.
Old fashioned 2 way Motorola radios are nice, but a problem sometimes. In dense areas, there are not enough frequencies available. Having to wait to talk really sucks, as does hearing another companies conversations, and them hearing yours. If you are not in a dense area, I recommend these. I use them inside a large concrete building, and they work well.

Tires For Plowing
This is a heated subject. I plow with unconventionally wide tires. That's me, and it works well for me. It's hard to say what will work well on your truck. Many factors contribute to a tires performance on a particular vehicle. Different tires perform better in different conditions. Generally, an "all terrain" tread works better on a snow tire. Then again, those old skinny tall snow tires work great too. Very aggressive tread on them. They may perform differently, on any two different trucks. See? Tricky. Bias Ply, or Radial?
This is truly as can of worms when we dig deeper. The best snow tire will cut through the snow, down to the pavement, rather than float on the layer of snow. There is a relatively new procedure that can be done to your tires to dramatically improve traction on ice. Not many places do it, if any, in some areas. Some manufacturers make tires with them already. They are called "sipes". What you would do, is get your existing tires "siped". It is a process that makes slits across the tread, about 5/16" deep. These slits work magic basically. The principal was taken from boating shoes. Rubber soled shoes, that MUST not slide on wet surfaces. It works just as well with tires. Michelin makes many siped tires. The snow gets trapped in the sipes, and snow bonds better to snow, than to rubber. Having these little strips of snow across your treads, is what increases traction. Got to, and do a search on the words "Sipe, spies, and tire siping". There was much discussion in the newsgroups on tire siping. In to be specific.

Tire Chains

Good idea, or bad idea? Hard to say. I can say I've heard no good about them for the most part. On 2wd vehicles, yes, they are a plus. On 4 WD pick up trucks, and SUV's, not worth the trouble. Not for real plow trucks. The only exception may be blizzard conditions. They are a waste of money for many of us. We will see no great benefit, only a loss of the money used to purchase them. There are cheaper alternatives for 90% of situations. Chains are nice to have, for the one time many of us may need them, but only if they are laying around. I wouldn't run out and buy a pair my first year plowing though. There is an article written by an acquaintance of mine discouraging the use of chains here:

There is a relatively new type of chain, called a "Spot Chain". Kinda expensive. It mounts on the truck's axle, and has a wheel that drives the chain, which is mounted on a spinner. It flings the chain into the path of the tire. Many fire trucks and busses use these now. Don't know anyone that has them personally. Dino has mentioned that they work well, and has heard mostly good about them. Time will tell. A link to their site below, check them out for yourself.

Link, Links, Links

This Issue I've got quite a few links for you. These should keep you busy for a while.

WJ Markerink's 4x4 & Offroad Homepage - Very informative site. Loads of info.
Read why tire chains are bad.

OnSpot - The Automatic Tire Chain - These are the Spot Chains.

United States Army Corps of Engineers: Fact Sheet: MANAGEMENT OF EMERGENCY SNOW

Special Bulletin #26: Snow Removal

History of Plowing - Have Snow Shovel, Will Travel

Declaring War on Ice - a new organization.
Bridge Deck Anti-Icing System

Morris Chemical Web Page(Calcium Chloride homepage)

Road Deicer from Cheese Whey - Yes, strange isn't it?

Prewetting with Salt Brine - Wet your deicer as you apply it.

TRB Out of Print Document: Special Report 235

Salt Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about sodium chloride

Frink Revers-A-Cast Plow - OK< this is REALLY strange!!

Angelo's Supplies Snow Plow Parts Catalog and Online Fisher, Western and Meyer

Heavy Duty Trucking

Fil's Auto Corner: Gasoline FAQ

Next Issue
What do you want to see????
Servicing after storms
More great Links

1999 Charles D. Smith
All Rights Reserved
May not be reproduced in whole or in part in any format,
without the author's express written permission to do so.


Well, hope you all liked my third Issue. I'm looking forward to Issue #04 myself. I'll be starting Volume 2, in Jan. 200, if the world doesn't self-destruct, LOL. Tons of new links as always. What else do you guys want to talk about, or want me to talk about?
Suggestions please!! I'd also like to welcome all of the newcomers to Chuck's Snowplowing Newsletter!

Chuck's Chevy Truck

New To Snowplowing?
Then you NEED to seriously consider purchasing a copy of:
 The Snowplowing Handbook


More Issues Of Chuck's Snowplowing Newsletter

  • Volume 1, Issue #03
    December 26, 1999


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