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Old 01-24-2014, 04:36 PM   #1
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


With the recent storms, I have ice on the stairs. Has anyone used any type of heat tape or wire and placed this on their exterior stairs to get the ice to melt?

Any other suggestions beyond propane torch, hot water, etc.?

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Old 01-24-2014, 06:06 PM   #2
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


Being the temperature is below freezing any melt water is likely to cause problems in other areas when re-frozen. I'd be inclined to try sand, salt or cat litter and get a firm grip on the hand rail.

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Old 01-24-2014, 07:03 PM   #3
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


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Being the temperature is below freezing any melt water is likely to cause problems in other areas when re-frozen. I'd be inclined to try sand, salt or cat litter and get a firm grip on the hand rail.
The melted water would go directly into the drain on the bottom of the walkup and into the house to the sump pit. There isn't a lot of ice. Just enough to make the area slick.

I don't want to use any chems or anything granular because it would wash into the drain into the sump pit.

I'm not trying to get traction. I just want the ice to go away.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:16 PM   #4
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


Able to get a space heater into the area?
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:24 PM   #5
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Able to get a space heater into the area?
It's an outdoor basement walkup. The atmosphere would absorb all the heat and space heaters are generally designed for near water use.

Think of it like in the movie Home Alone where Daniel Stern is walking down an icy stairs to the basement door.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:05 PM   #6
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


Salt will not harm your drain.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:13 AM   #7
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


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Salt will not harm your drain.
true. not only that, it could be good for it. if there are roots grounding in/around the pipes, the salt will deter the roots.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:21 AM   #8
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


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true. not only that, it could be good for it. if there are roots grounding in/around the pipes, the salt will deter the roots.
The drain on the bottom of my stairs is a catch basin with pvc that routes the water to my sump pit in my house.

I'm also a bit wary of putting down too much calcium chloride on my concrete stairs.

Is magnesium chloride better for concrete?
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:55 PM   #9
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


IF i remember correctly, stern fell,,, that's why holding onto the handrail is such a good suggestion,,, hot wtr won't help - by the time you melt the ice, it'll leave a slick surface anyway,,, calcium chloride's fine but like salt, if too cold, won't work either,,, brine from cheesemaking's been shown to be a good icemelter OR you could install some bilco doors [ no $ interest ]
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:54 PM   #10
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


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IF i remember correctly, stern fell,,, that's why holding onto the handrail is such a good suggestion,,, hot wtr won't help - by the time you melt the ice, it'll leave a slick surface anyway,,, calcium chloride's fine but like salt, if too cold, won't work either,,, brine from cheesemaking's been shown to be a good icemelter OR you could install some bilco doors [ no $ interest ]
I want to get rid of the ice not because the stairs is used frequently, but because I want to get rid of the ice.

I put down some CaCl and a few hours later, I was able to chip away some of the softer ice. The BJ's brand says it works down to -25F.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:28 PM   #11
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


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I want to get rid of the ice not because the stairs is used frequently, but because I want to get rid of the ice.

I put down some CaCl and a few hours later, I was able to chip away some of the softer ice. The BJ's brand says it works down to -25F.

All CaCl will work down to -25,salt needs 20 degrees and rising to be effective.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:35 PM   #12
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Basement walkup stairs - ice


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The drain on the bottom of my stairs is a catch basin with pvc that routes the water to my sump pit in my house.

I'm also a bit wary of putting down too much calcium chloride on my concrete stairs.

Is magnesium chloride better for concrete?
Absolutely not, it's even worse for concrete. If you want something effective, and you already have the CC, take 2 pails, mix 25% CC and 75% water back and forth between the pails until the CC completely desolves. Start at the top and pour a little bit down the steps. If you're still leary to use the liquid, get some plain ole rock salt (sodium chloride) and pour some of the CC liquid over it and get the best of both worlds. It's not unsafe in any way, as the municipalites around you use tons of it a year with no major issues......

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All CaCl will work down to -25,salt needs 20 degrees and rising to be effective.
CC is rarely used by itself, it's almost exclusively mixed with rock salt. Regular old rock salt works well below 20 degrees as well, we haven't been above 5 degrees here for a few days, and the rock salt has melted millions of acres of pavement in the last few days in my area..........

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