by Christy Heigter-Ewing

Winter is fast approaching and with that frigid season comes the beauty and stillness that accompanies a blanket of freshly fallen snow. While it’s delightful to sit inside and watch through the window as the white stuff falls from the sky, when the time comes to venture out into the elements, that heavenly scene becomes a headache.

Typically, one of two things happens next. Either the homeowner grabs a shovel to clear a path or they scatter salt across their driveway, patio and sidewalk to slowly melt the snow. While shoveling brings with it the chance of slipping and falling or potentially overexerting oneself from physical activity, the salt serves to damage the environment as it leads to a condition called toxic salinity.

“Toxic salinity not only compromises our water but also the soil and all life forms, including plants, animals, and other organisms that rely on the soil’s nutrients,” says Henry Nichols, Engineering and Sales manager with Johnson-Melloh, an innovative mechanical contracting company.

An estimated 22 million tons of salt is scattered across U.S. roadways annually. The salt caught up in runoff creates high levels of sodium and chlorate ions that find their way into the water. Roughly 40% of the country’s urbans streams have chlorate levels that exceed safe guidelines for aquatic life.

“The hydrological balance that aquaculture requires is very fine tuned,” says Nichols. “It’s extremely destructive to landscaping and aqua life.”

In addition to the environmental damage caused by salt, paved surfaces become damaged due to excessive salt use as evidenced by rotting and cracked roads, ramps, sidewalks, steps and driveways.

Thankfully, Johnson-Melloh has a solution that eliminates the need for salt while also quickly melting snow and ice, thereby reducing the risk of slip-and-fall injuries. The Automatic Snow and Ice Melt (ASIM) is a system encased in your concrete designed to keep your driveway clear from snow. When the driveway is poured, the concrete pours over the ASIM, completely protecting it inside the hard shell of the driveway. Plus, you’ll never have to schedule for snow removal again. This especially comes in handy for those homeowners who live to entertain.

“Nothing is worse than having a plan to host a large crowd and then all of a sudden there’s heavy snow and ice when people show up at your home,” says Nichols. “This maintenance-free, environmentally safe product provides piece of mind during the winter season.”

On top of it all, the ASIM is a valuable investment in your home.

“Since you’ll never have to scrape, shovel or salt your driveway, that has a value when you’re going to sell your house,” says Nichols. “Your driveway, pavers, walkways, and decorative concrete will all still look new.”

Every winter homeowners suffer heart attacks, throw out their backs, and break bones from either shoveling snow or trying to navigate their footing on their slippery driveway or sidewalk. The ASIM alleviates such worries. And, it can be used on all hardscapes from full driveways, sidewalks, slippery steps, grand porches or virtually any entry.

“Clients appreciate the comfort and convenience ASIM brings,” says Nichols. “Once they’ve had it, they say they can’t live without it.”

For more information on installing an ASIM for your home, call (317) 244-5993 or visit