Fix Your Foundation Before It’s Too Late

Stop Shoveling Ice – Make A Deicer Using A Sprinkler System

by Howard Barnett

How much time do you spend scraping the ice off of your driveway and sidewalks each year? Wouldn't you love it if you could spend that time snuggled up with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book? Well, you might just be able to free up some of your winter-time – how, you ask? You can transform a sprinkler system into a deicing system for your driveway and sidewalks. Here's how.

How the System will Work

This set-up is meant to pull brine mix from a holding tank and spray it onto the surfaces that need deicing.

Choose a Sprinkler System

Before you start installing anything, you'll need to find the right sprinkler system. For the best results, look for a set that has removable heads and very large openings. You will have to remove the heads and clean the salt built-up off of them from time to time.

Note: To clean the heads, you'll need to soak them in white vinegar for several hours and use a toothbrush or bottle brush to scrub away the debris.

Plan and Set Up the Holding Tank

This sprinkler system will not be fed by the water lines within your home. Instead, you will be using a holding tank filled with salt brine to melt the ice. Choose an area that is out of the way, but close enough to the driveway that you won't need to buy too much extra pipe to connect the system.

You can pick up a water holding tank at most home improvement or farm supply stores. The larger the unit, the less often you'll have to mix the salt brine.

Install the Sprinkler System

Dig and bury the waterlines that will feed the sprinkler system. You want them installed as close to the driveway and sidewalks as possible. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how deep to bury the lines. Yes, you'll be using salt brine in the lines instead of water, so freeze potential is limited, but if you don't bury them deep enough, they could get damaged when the area is walked on, or a car is driven over them.

Mix the Salt Brine

Fill the holding tank with hot water – you can expedite this process by connecting a garden hose to the drain valve on the water heater and filling the tank directly from the water heater. Mix the brine by adding ten pounds of crystallized salt to six gallons of very hot water.

The mixture will need to be stirred every few days to ensure that the salt doesn't settle on the bottom and your lines get filled with water that could freeze. Now, when the driveway and sidewalks are coated with ice, all you'll have to do is flip on the sprinkler system and watch it all melt away.

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