Now that we’re moving steadily further into winter weather, with increased likelihood of snow and ice forming, you’ll probably find that having a grit bin on your premises is more useful than ever before. However, once you’ve got one, it’s also important to ensure you’re storing it correctly. So what, you may be thinking. It’s supposed to be used outside, so why shouldn’t it be stored outside? And you’d have a point – it’s fine to store grit bins outdoors, but the main thing is to ensure that the grit itself is protected from the elements, or you’ll find it won’t do its job correctly! Here’s a bit about the science behind why.
It’s simple: wet grit doesn’t work against ice
Although we use the term ‘grit’, what we actually put inside these bins to use on our roads is technically rock salt. It’s not just any old stuff, but a mix of sodium chloride, and up to 10% of other materials like gravel and clay. When this comes into contact with the moisture on roads or pathways, it creates a saline solution, which has a lower freezing temperature than water. This is why it causes the existing snow and ice to melt, and prevents it from forming again (for a short while, anyway).
Now, you’ll have already spotted that in order to do its job properly, the rock salt is getting diluted continuously, to the point when it eventually doesn’t work anymore. That means if it gets wet too early – say, from exposure to rain while it’s still inside its bin – the sodium chloride will be dissolved and partially washed away, making the grit far less effective. Just ask local councils, who have plenty of experience in discovering that wet grit is notably less effective at melting snow and ice than fresh grit that’s been sufficiently protected.
This is probably a good point for us to say that timing is a crucial aspect when you’re spreading it, too. If it’s laid down too early on a dry road, it’ll simply be blown away or displaced. If it goes down on a surface that’s already frozen then it’ll work, but not as effectively. Ideally, it needs to go down on a damp road where ice is just in the midst of forming. It might sound like a very narrow window (and it definitely is), but you’ve got a better chance of meeting it if you’ve got dry grit to start with!
So how can you protect your grit?
Simple – keep the lid of your bins closed. We recognise that some businesses and councils in colder weather tend to have problems with people helping themselves to the grit, so if you want to take measures to somehow secure yours and keep it outdoors, that’s something we’ll leave the specifics of to you! However, an easier way to do it is to ensure you’re keeping them in a secure storage shed or container for the rest of the year. Really, the most important thing is to ensure that whatever the case, your grit (or rock salt, if you like) is properly protected from the chances of any water ingress, so that when the time comes, it can ensure the safety of your staff and visitors.
And in case you’re asking “where can I get a grit bin?” the answer is – right here at Excelsior, of course! Grit bins are a staple of our standard range of plastic manufacturing products, and they’re amongst the ones that businesses find particularly useful come winter. We use our roto-moulding process to manufacture all our grit bins, so you can rely on guaranteed durability and longevity.
Feel free to browse them right here on our website, or if you’ve got any questions (or would like to place an order) feel free to give us a call on 0161 275 2010, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help!