ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The price of rock salt and other de-icing products has gone up as the price of many other things has due to several factors. Using less of these products can not only save money but can also prevent damage to property.

Grass, trees, flowers, shrubbery, concrete, and metal can all be affected by using too much rock salt. Rock salt can also leech into the ground contaminating wells and waterways.

Unfortunately, once salt has built up in the environment it takes years and even decades to go away, according to the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Chances are also good homeowners may be using more rock salt than is needed.

A good rule of thumb is to use no more than a handful of rock salt per square yard. If a homeowner is using calcium chloride they need to use less, one handful for every three yards, the Cary Institute said.

WIT Advisers works with businesses and municipalities in New York to reduce their reliance on rock salt and find ways to use salt more efficiently. They said even if a homeowner thinks they aren’t using a lot of salt measuring it is a good way to find out for sure. It’s also a good way to cut back on use and try to do more with less.

They also suggest:

  • A large coffee mug of rock salt should cover a 10 by 100 foot-driveway
  • Shovel snow every two inches of accumulation
  • Apply salt evenly to entire surface
  • Use a proactive approach- preventing snow and ice from sticking to surfaces will reduce salt use

The state has been changing its response more and more, as they expand pilot programs using brine to treat roads ahead of winter weather. WIT Advisers Phil Sexton said homeowners should stay clear of making their own brine because of the science used in making it.

However, for homeowners who want to use brine, he suggests buying small batches of chloride-free liquid ice melt which can be found on Amazon. NEWS10 found one by Entry that comes with a half-gallon of ice melt and a sprayer for approximately $46.

The description said one-half gallon provides the same amount of coverage as a 50-pound bag of rock salt. It said the product is safe for plants and animals with an unlimited shelf life. The company said it will melt snow or ice in less than 30 seconds and prevent refreeze even at very cold temperatures when used as indicated.