Following the trends of the indoor heating market, where radiant heating systems have been used for decades, the great outdoors is warming up, too. Radiant heat warms the floor and any object in contact with the floor to distribute an even, no-draft heat. Outdoor settings like patios or pathways leading to a hot tub can now benefit from using a traditional hydronic radiant heating system or even more intriguing is the emerging trend of embedding electric heating cables to provide that desired surface temperature. Raising the surface above 38 degrees will conveniently remove any snow or ice and allow you to use your outdoor living areas more often.
Outdoor heating systems (snow melting systems) are more suited towards new construction since these electric heating cables are actually embedded in the concrete or placed in a sand bed directly under brick pavers. Ambitious do-it-yourselfers will have no problem laying out the cable and preparing them for a certified electrician to do the final hook-up. Outdoor heating systems have always been efficient in delivering heat; the problem has been shutting them off when the job of removing snow from a driveway or outdoor patio is complete.
Recent designs in aerial sensors and surface mounted sensors make these outdoor heating systems cost effective to operate. Automated sensors detect the combination of precipitation and cold temperatures and activate the outdoor heating systems during inclement weather conditions and then automatically turn off a few hours after the storm. Manual operation of these outdoor heating systems can also be used to spot heat your driveway or patio if additional heat is required.
Obviously, an outdoor heating system is not for everyone. Those who live in warm climates year round will not be well served. However, think of those residents in New York, Illinois and even Colorado and Utah with long steep driveways or exposed sidewalks. Even businesses are adopting outdoor heating systems to curb their liability to slips and falls. Sidewalks, entryways and even loading docks are benefiting from embedded heating systems as an effective way to remove pesky ice and snow hazards.