Choosing the Right Deicer for Your Indoor Carpeting?

Traditional ice melt product on the left and Entry™ on the right.

Chloride-based deicers and anti-icers pose a threat to the environment, to pets and to humans, but you may be wondering why that matters when children and pets don’t typically walk or play on building walkways and stairways?

By Nate Clemmer – Original Article

(Photo: An application of a liquid ice melt product.)

In addition, most of the surrounding surfaces that must be treated – driveways and parking lots – are areas where the potential for causing harm to children is minimal, and to pets almost non-existent.

However, sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium chlorides are also causing damage in an entirely different location: inside the building on carpeting and flooring.

Deicers Damage Floors and Carpets

When tracked into a facility, some chloride deicers leave a white residue that can dull the finish of floors and fade the color of carpets.

Other chloride-based products coat floors with an oily residue that damages wax and urethane finishes. In both cases, the near-term labor costs associated with manual clean-up of residue is roughly $50 per building entrance per day, according to estimates by the Sanitary Supply Association’s Clean Management Institute.

Over time, chloride-based products can permanently damage flooring and carpeting, requiring expensive replacement. And then there’s the safety risk that the oily, slippery residue can pose to a building’s employees and visitors.

An alternative to these granular deicing materials are liquid deicersOne such product based upon potassium formate technology is 100 percent chloride free and it eliminates tracking, leaving no residue.

Potassium formate deicers also provide three benefits outside the building:

  • Environmental friendliness
  • Ease of application
  • Product performance

Environmental Friendliness

Some chloride-based products can burn human skin when contacted. If inhaled, dust particles can cause severe irritation. If ingested, they can cause severe irritation and bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.

When cats and dogs walk on surfaces treated with some chloride-based products, they often experience painful burning, inflammation and cracked pads. If they lick their paws and ingest the salt, they may experience symptoms including excessive thirst, vomiting and diarrhea. Some chloride-based deicers are poisonous to pets.

When most chloride salts spread from sidewalks and driveways into nearby soil, they can have a defoliating effect on trees and other plants, and they interfere with plants’ ability to absorb vital nutrients including water, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Potassium formate products, on the other hand, are readily biodegradable. They are safer for people, pets, plants, metal, concrete and other surfaces. In fact, their toxicity rate is significantly lower than that of chloride-based products and potassium acetate.

Ease of Application

Ease and speed of application combined with reduced transport and loading costs make liquids extremely attractive from a labor perspective.

Granular products can be very labor intensive, slowing the application process and negatively impacting safety in high-traffic pedestrian areas. For example, on stairs, applicators have to carry heavy bags, spreading material by hand, and in larger areas and walkways, push spreaders are often utilized. Liquid applications are far more efficient.

Liquid tanks fill quickly, and today’s spray applicator technologies are convenient and easy to use, providing for very precise application rates.

Product Performance

Potassium formate deicers create a safer environment more quickly than chloride-based deicers. For example, some potassium formate products have a speed of melt of about 30-50 seconds by reducing the freezing point to temperatures as low as -63 degrees F. These deicers quickly and reliably remove thin layers of ice and prevent new snow and ice from accumulating.

By contrast, chloride-based granular deicers take a minimum of 3-5 minutes to achieve an acceptable melt – and as much as 10 minutes.

The low quantity of liquid required to produce an adequate melt combined with the ease and speed of application makes most liquid deicers more cost-effective than granular products.

Most users will achieve a lower application cost per 1,000 square feet with liquids than with granular deicers. And because the liquid achieves ice melt three times more quickly than granular products, it creates a longer-lasting and safer walking surface.


Right de-icer/anti-icer can improve safety, save money

Original Article on healthcarefacilitiestoday.com

The winter deicing priorities of grounds maintenance staffs at facilities throughout the country don’t differ very much. They are charged with:

  • Creating a safe outdoor environment for pedestrians and vehicles
  • Doing so as quickly and cost-effectively as possible
  • Protecting facilities’ indoor environment – particularly damage caused by deicing/anti-icing material residue on floors and carpeting

Hospital grounds maintenance personnel, on the other hand, may view their jobs a little differently. The aforementioned priorities hold true for them, too. But, hospital grounds maintenance staff also are concerned about the health and well-being of patients and creating a safe workplace in which clinical staff can care for patients. And, the healthcare facility’s reputation is of utmost importance. Who wants to be admitted to a hospital that allows unsafe conditions – outside or in?

These priorities are even more applicable in Northern, Northeastern and Midwestern states, where average daily mid-winter temperatures can remain below zero degrees Fahrenheit. For grounds maintenance personnel in such climates, the job they do from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the spring and fall becomes a 24/7 job in the winter.

A hospital’s variety of outdoor surfaces require different deicers/anti-icers appropriate to the vehicular and pedestrian traffic that utilize them. So, many facilities stock and use a variety of materials, depending upon snow/ice conditions and the types of surfaces being treated. These materials often include sodium, calcium and magnesium chlorides, bulk sodium chloride and, sometimes, blends of some of these materials.

Like other snow and ice management personnel in other industries, hospital facilities managers are aware of the threats to the environment, pets and humans posed by chloride-based deicers/anti-icers. And, the damage these materials cause inside buildings has become more widely known.  When chloride-based products are applied in these areas, they get tracked into the buildings – and it’s surprising how far into a building these products can be tracked. The use of granular chloride products results in ‘hidden’ costs that build up over the years: damage to floors and carpeting indoors and corrosion of doorways, concrete, asphalt, stone walkways and metal such as railings and doors outside. For this reason, many facilities personnel have been on the lookout for chloride-free ice melters that can be used for targeted use, particularly at entryways and stairways.

In search of environmentally-friendly de-icers/anti-icers

In recent years, grounds maintenance supervisors across a variety of industries have sought out new, more environmentally-friendly deicer/anti-icing products. That’s because chloride-based products – sodium, calcium and magnesium chlorides – harm not only outdoor and indoor infrastructure, but humans, pets, plants and aquatic life, too.

Some chloride-based products can burn human skin when contacted. If inhaled, dust particles can cause severe irritation. If ingested, they can cause severe irritation and bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.  When cats and dogs walk on surfaces treated with some chloride-based products, they often experience painful burning, inflammation and cracked pads. If they lick their paws and ingest the salt, they may experience symptoms including excessive thirst, vomiting and diarrhea.

When most chloride salts spread from sidewalks and driveways into nearby soil, they can have a defoliating effect on trees and other plants, and they interfere with plants’ ability to absorb vital nutrients including water, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

The benefits of potassium formate technology

A new alternative to chloride-based ice melt products is a liquid deicer based upon potassium formate technology that is 100% chloride free and readily biodegradable. It is safer for people, pets, plants, metal, concrete and other surfaces. In fact, its toxicity rate is significantly lower than that of chloride-based products and potassium acetate.

Ice and snow removal contractors have been attracted to liquid ice melt/deice products largely because they are much easier to apply (no need to lug a bag of granular product across walkways and up and down stairways to apply – and no need to continually dip a gloved hand or a scoop into the bag). Spray applications are far more efficient and easy to use – and they provide for very precise application rates.

For many building owners and facilities managers, consumer concerns about child and pet-based eco-friendliness are viewed as of secondary importance. After all, children and pets are not typically traversing or playing on the grounds of office buildings and office parks. But the office’s indoor “environment” is also negatively impacted by some ice melt/deice materials. When tracked into a facility, certain chloride deicers leave a white residue that can dull the finish of floors and fade the color of carpets. Other chloride-based products coat floors with an oily, slippery residue that damages wax and urethane finishes, posing a safety risk to employees and visitors.

By contrast, the neutral pH formulations of certain potassium formate technology deicers eliminate tracking, leaving no residue. This reduces near-term labor costs associated with manual cleaning, estimated at $50 per entrance per day according to the International Sanitary Supply Association’s Clean Management Institute. And with no tracking and no residue, the building’s floors and carpets are safer to walk, too.

Outdoors, formic technology deicers create a safer environment more quickly than chloride-based deicers. For example, some formic technology deicers have a speed of melt of about 30 to 50 seconds by reducing the freezing point to temperatures as low as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit. These deicers quickly and reliably remove thin layers of ice and prevent new snow and ice from accumulating. By contrast, chloride-based granular deicers take a minimum of three to five minutes to achieve an acceptable melt – and as much as 10 minutes.

Most users will achieve a lower application cost per 1,000 sq. ft. with liquids than with granular deicers because of the ease and speed of application and the reduced amount of product needed to produce an acceptable melt.

For grounds maintenance personnel seeking deicing/anti-icing materials that are effective, affordable, non-corrosive and do not cause tracking indoors, potassium formate technology deicers/anti-icers are worth a look.


Hold the Salt? Sustainable Snow Removal Strategies Heat Up

Hold the Salt? Sustainable Snow Removal Strategies Heat Up

Alternative approaches make it possible to minimize damage to facilities, bodies of water, and plant life while ensuring safety.

By Karen Kroll – Original Article

As another winter approaches, snow and ice removal likely will be top of mind. These days, the environmental costs of traditional snow and ice removal methods are a growing concern. The chemicals often used to melt snow and ice can damage buildings and pavement, and the run-off can harm plants and bodies of water.

To be sure, the chlorides or salts currently used by many facility professionals to melt snow and ice likely will remain around for some time. Many are familiar with their use. In addition, salt typically requires less upfront investment than some other options.

At the same time, more facility managers are considering ways to adjust traditional snow and ice removal methods to reduce their impact on the environment. They’re also looking into new options that are entering the market. “As buildings have become more sustainable, facilities professionals now are thinking more about their environmental impact outside the building,” says Nate Clemmer, chief executive officer with SynaTek Solutions.

Continue reading on facilitiesnet


Branch Creek Partners With Rodale Institute

Organizations Collaborate to Advance Certified Organic Growing

SOUDERTON, Pa., June 13, 2018 – Branch Creek CEO Nate Clemmer announces a professional partnership between Branch Creek and Rodale Institute, citing the organizations’ shared commitment to the advancement of scalable, regenerative certified organic farming.

“Rodale Institute is an organic industry pioneer and esteemed source of knowledge, and its team has worked closely with Branch Creek as we’ve developed our product line. This is a natural partnership for Branch Creek as we strive to make organic growing more accessible and more commonplace,” says Clemmer.

Branch Creek inputs put scalable organic growing in reach of farmers, bridging the gap between the demand for organic crops and the realities of organic production. Its liquid and granular fertilizers are designed to do better by water, soil, and living things.

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For nearly 70 years, the Institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists worldwide.

“Consumer demand for organic food is at an all time high, yet only one percent of American farmland is certified organic. Companies like Branch Creek are much-needed catalysts of change, providing a bridge and solution-based products that help farmers transition from conventional to organic practices. By restoring farmers’ soil and bringing its microbiology back to life, we’re not only mitigating climate change and considering human health; we’re creating massive financial opportunities,” says Jeff Tkach, Rodale Institute’s Chief Growth Officer.

For more information about Branch Creek, visit trulyabouttomorrow.com


Branch Creek Launches Safer Play Turf and Lawn Solutions to Help Homeowners and Lawn Care Professionals Control Weeds and Insects

SOUDERTON, Pa., June 4, 2018 – Branch Creek, a manufacturer of cleaner growing and surface maintenance solutions, announced the launch of its Safer Play line of turf and lawn products.  Part of the Branch Creek Lawncare Program, Safer Play’s Weed Shield, Grub Shield and Lawn Food with Crabgrass Prevention help homeowners and lawn care professionals protect lawns and turf fields from weeds and insects, without the need to use EPA-registered pesticides.

“These are game-changing turf solutions, providing the control you want without the pesticides you don’t,” said Nate Clemmer, CEO of Branch Creek. “Most playing fields, lawns and gardens use registered pesticides.  When we – and our children – run, slide, scoop up a ball or simply sit down, we come into contact with chemicals that can have a negative impact on our wellness and our planet.”

Safer Play’s line of liquid and granular control products is made exclusively of ingredients classified as “minimum risk” under section 25(b) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  These control products fight insects, weeds, and other landscaping threats.

Lawn Food with Crabgrass Prevention is a non-manure-based, biosolid-free fertilizer with no restrictions on reentry time after application.  Weed Shield kills and prevents weeds from forming with a botanical oil blend that does not harm grass. With a unique combination of botanical oils, oyster and clamshells, Grub Shield is a natural and eco-friendly product that works to control grubs and other surface-feeding insects such as chinch bugs.

“These products are so benign, they don’t require yellow hazard signs,” Clemmer added.  “Yet, they are so potent and effective, you’ll never need to use registered pesticides.”

For more information, visit saferplay.com.


Montco company pushing organic alternatives for tackling weeds, grubs – and ice.

By   – Senior Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal - Original article

Nate Clemmer was in the backyard of his new house five years ago when he came to a realization.

“The house is adjacent to a creek,” he said. “One day, I was out pushing my spreader putting down fertilizer. It hit me that there was no question a part of what I was spreading would go into that creek. So I stopped and decided to look for alternatives.

Clemmer knows the fertilizer industry well. He is president of SynaTek Soultions, an 18-year-old Souderton company that specializes in products and technologies used by the golf, landscape, agriculture and ice melt industries.

“I couldn’t find anything that I was comfortable with in terms of performance and price,” he said. “So I started talking with people. We work with a lot of organic chemists and what I kept hearing was they didn’t have anything today, but they were working on it.”

That journey eventually led to a new line of products for SynaTek.

The name of the body of water he wanted to protect­ — Branch Creek ­— is also the name of a new SynaTek brand launched this year. Branch Creek is focused on marketing environmentally friendly fertilizers and products for lawns, commercial and government properties, and athletic fields and facilities including golf courses.

“We will still sell synthetic products and we will do it unapologetically,” Clemmer said. “But as a company, we can’t not recognize new technology and a better way of doing things.”

With Branch Creek, he said, he can “bridge the gap” between synthetic and organic products used to control weeds and improve crop yields.

Clemmer said a traditional customer may not want to switch to all organic products, but it would make business sense to consider converting a portion of the field for organic food production — which has proven its value when considering how many people are willing to pay a premium for organic fruits and vegetables.

“We can have a business discussion about diversification and risk management,” he said. “We haven’t converted a lot of [customer] acres yet, but that is where we are headed. A business owner with 1,000 acres may want to convert 100 to organic. It would be a bad business decision not to consider it.”

With Branch Creek, he said, the company wants to accomplish two primary goals: Bridging the gap between the demand for organic products and its ability to supply it, and raising awareness about "what goes in our soil affects our water."

Clemmer said his company is now focusing its sales effort for its Branch Creek lawn care products on its larger commercial customers, but long-term plans include sales to homeowners. The company is looking at creating a consumer lawn care program with different organic products for controlling weeds and harmful insects and promoting healthy yards for homeowners next year.

SynaTek, which generates annual revenues of about $40 million and employs a staff of about 50 full-time equivalents, was formed in 2003 by Clemmer’s father Ken Clemmer in a partnership with Billy Willard and Bob Willard. The Willards lead Willard Agri-Service, which continues to serve as SynaTek’s manufacturing partner.

The business was once part of Moyer & Son’s agricultural business, which was sold to Timac North America in 2001. Timac North America is the U.S. subsidiary of Timec Agro, an international agricultural products company based in France.

Timec was not interested in the Moyer & Son plant nutrient division, the business unit Ken Clemmer was part of that sold products to non-farm customers such as golf courses operators and commercial and residential property owners. Ken Clemmer, rather than take another position with Moyer & Sons [now Moyer Indoor/Outdoor] or retire, negotiated a deal to take over the division. “He wanted to see if he could grow the business on his own,” Nate Clemmer said.

SynaTek was initially formed to manufacture and sell synthetic fertilizers, crop, grass seed and equipment to golf courses and large lawn care companies. Ken Clemmer served as Synatek’s president up until July 2016 when Nate took over.

Today Synatek’s other brands, in addition to Branch Creek, are SynaTek Reach, which formulates and produces liquid and granular plant nutrients; Ecotronics, the company’s equipment technology arm; and Secure Winter Products, which markets innovative and environmentally friendly ice melt technologies.

In Janaury, the company began selling Entry, a chloride-free de-icer it says can melt ice in as little as 30 seconds. The product, Clemmer said, is a competitively-priced and better-performing alternative to granular chloride salts that are harmful to the environment, irritate pets, and get tracked into offices and homes.

Clemmer said while the company, working with its industry partners, developed Entry as an environmentally friendly alternatives, it turned out to work better and faster than its own salt-based de-icer products.

Among Synatek’s commercial customers for Entry is the Denver Broncos, which used the de-icing and anti-icing fluid at the team’s headquarters at The UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colo., this past winter.


Branch Creek Launches With Cleaner, Safer Solutions for Lawns, Farms, and Outdoor Surfaces

SynaTek Solutions Forms New Company Focused on Cleaner Chemistry

SOUDERTON, Pa., February 27, 2018 – SynaTek Solutions CEO Nate Clemmer announces the launch of Branch Creek, a manufacturer of cleaner, safer growing and surface maintenance solutions for residential, commercial, agricultural, golf course, and municipal use.

Branch Creek products optimize outcomes while minimizing the side effects often associated with responsibility-driven efforts, such as sky-high prices and added labor. Its product line includes a fast acting, salt-free ice meltOMRI-certified organic fertilizers; and safer pesticides, all designed to do better by water, soil, and living things.

“Branch Creek products focus on human health and the ecosystem while maintaining the practical benefits you want and need for your lawn, home, farm, or business,” said Clemmer, who also serves as Branch Creek’s CEO.

Chloride-free Entry™ is a clean liquid formula de-icer that melts snow and ice in as little as 30 seconds, won’t dirty or damage floors, and outperforms traditional rock salt at no added cost. It also spares pets’ paws.

Branch Creek Organics are OMRI-certified, easy-to-use fertilizers offering long-term profitability for farmers and great results for green thumbs and groundskeepers.

Finally, Branch Creek’s Safer Play pesticides deliver the control users expect without the high-risk toxic ingredients currently used on most athletic fields and landscaped surfaces.

“While we need to protect surfaces and lawns, we can do it with cleaner chemistry that doesn’t harm people, and without losing sight of our one precious planet,” concludes Clemmer. “And it doesn’t even have to cost more.”


SynaTek Solutions Announces Partnership with NFL’s Denver Broncos for use of Entry™ Biodegradable Deicing Solution

SOUDERTON, PA, February 15, 2018 – SynaTek Solutions has announced that the National Football League’s Denver Broncos Football Club has selected its Entry™ deicing and anti-icing fluid for use at the team’s headquarters at the UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colo.

Entry provides users many advantages over the use of traditional calcium, sodium and magnesium chloride granular products. “When tracked into a facility, all chloride granular deicers leave a white residue that can dull the finish of floors and fade the color of carpets,” said Nate Clemmer, CEO and Managing Partner of SynaTek Solutions. “Calcium and magnesium chloride-based products coat floors with an oily, slippery residue that damages wax and urethane finishes and poses a safety risk.” Entry’s neutral pH formulation uses potassium formate, the salt of BASF’s Formic Acid technology, to eliminate tracking, reducing near-term labor costs associated with manual cleaning.

Calcium and magnesium chloride-based products coat floors with an oily, slippery residue that damages wax and urethane finishes and poses a safety risk.

The new deicing and anti-icing fluid also is an eco-friendly, non-corrosive deicing alternative. Granular chloride products are all hygroscopic, meaning they draw moisture from the atmosphere. They are harmful if swallowed by people or pets and will damage turf, ornamental plants and waterways. Potassium formate deicers are 100% chloride free and are readily biodegradable. They are safer for pets, plants, metals and concrete.

Entry melts ice faster than chloride-based granular products, which take, a minimum of three to five minutes to achieve an acceptable melt – and as much as 10 minutes. Potassium formate, enables Entry to increase the speed of snow/ice melt to about 30 to 50 seconds by reducing the freezing point to approximately minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit.

Entry is easy to apply and is a cost-effective deicing and anti-icing product. Most users will achieve a lower application cost per 1,000 sq. ft. with liquids than with granular deicers.

SynaTek Solutions markets Entry to snow professionals and facility managers through its Secure Winter Products brand and to consumers through Branch Creek. Entry was introduced in the United States in June 2017. For more information, visit http://securewinterproducts.com or https://chloridefree.com.