Stores run short on deicers

Posted: February 05, 2014

Watch your step out there. You and your neighbors may have an unwanted skating rink on your front porches this week, and there may be more ice on sidewalks and driveways than usual.

That's because many stores haven't been able to keep deicing agents such as calcium chloride and rock salt in stock this winter.

In fact, calcium chloride hasn't been available in many locations since the last big storm on Jan. 21, and other store managers said they have been out of the stuff since December.

And they aren't sure when they will have it in stock again.

"Demand [for calcium chloride] has been high throughout the country all year, especially in the Northeast," Greg Spina, a manager at the Home Depot in King of Prussia, said as Monday's snow came down. "Demand has been high based on the snow events."

Spina said that the only deicers he had available Monday afternoon were the more expensive pet-safe solutions. Other area stores had even less.

"Right now I'm out of stock on all deicers," said Gary Malek, a manager at the Lowe's on Columbus Boulevard. "I had some this morning, and now it's all sold out."

Both calcium chloride and rock salt work by dissolving into the ice and water and lowering its freezing temperature. Calcium chloride is favored by consumers because it lowers the water's freezing temperature to 15 degrees and is less corrosive than salt to pavement. Rock salt, while less expensive, lowers the freezing temperatures to just 25 degrees and cause more surface damage.

At the Home Depot on Oregon Avenue, customers found noting but empty shelves.

"We do have stuff coming in," said a manager who did not want to be named. "We just don't know when it's going to get here." @clarkmindock

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