The Profitable Reason You Should Start to Pre-Wet Salt for Winter Applications

Created April 15, 2020

pre-wetting salt

Every winter storm, account and operation is different so there’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to de-icing. The pavement temperature, type of precipitation, rate of accumulation and application rate all play a role in getting it right. Although, it has been scientifically proven that pre-wetting material while salting has numerous benefits.

Pre-Wet Systems Active Salt for Greater Performance

Once the pavement temperature hits 15°F, salt becomes ineffective and relies on a bit more chemistry to be useful. Contractors have started to spray solid de-icers with a liquid salt brine solution as it is dispersed to the pavement, a term commonly referred to as pre-wetting. It sounds counterintuitive but the results show otherwise. 80% of the melting action in the first 10 minutes after salting is supplied by the brine used to pre-wet, leaving a noticeable impact on the pavement.

Using this de-icing strategy accelerates the brining of the salt, enabling it to work faster at colder temperatures. Since salt is an ionic compound, when it’s mixed with water it actually lowers the freezing point (typically 32°F), making it harder for water molecules to bond together in their rigid structure.

Improved Productivity Reduces Material Costs

Pre-wetting provides both immediate and sustained results, while using 1/3 less salt than usual. Since pre-wet granules bounce less, you can be more precise in your spreading area. Studies show that pre-wetting can also reduce material costs by up to 40%, depending on current baseline application rates.

Save the Environment, One Piece of Salt at a Time

More than 20 million tons of salt are used in the United States every year to de-ice pavement. Once that salt dissolves, it starts to leach into our waterways causing harmful environmental, health and economic impacts. Pre-wetting reduces the amount of salt needed to get the job done, eliminating waste and reducing damage to the environment. Be mindful of over-salting and consider adopting pre-wet or liquid anti-icing techniques.

Interested in learning more about the effects of pre-wet? The POLY-CASTER and STEEL-CASTER spreaders have a Pre-Wet System kit—and if you’re really ready to jumpstart your liquids journey, check out the SS-120 Walk-Behind sidewalk sprayer.