All posts by Jordan Ricks

Adding Radiant Heat to Asphalt

I still remember last year’s biggest snowstorm. It was a doozie. The snowfall made it impossible to see where the yard stopped and the driveway – or even the street – began. It seemed that the whole world was buried under a downy blanket of snow. It was beautiful – and intimidating. I had to go to work.

Knowing I’d be spending much of the morning clearing the driveway and walks before going to work, I got up early and fried some eggs and bacon. I sat down and began seasoning my eggs. I was gently tapping the salt shaker when my wife barged into the kitchen, franticly mumbling something about her “stupid” alarm clock.

“Have you salted the driveway?” she asked, pulling her blazer up over her shoulders.

Wait, what? It took a moment for my early-morning brain to stretch beyond the simple thought of a tasty breakfast. I’m salting my eggs. Why would I want to salt the driveway? I’m not THAT hungry.

I looked up at her as my upper lip stretched into an Elvis-esque sneer. “Say wahhh?” I winced.

“Have you shoveled the driveway and salted? You know how slick it gets.”

“Oh, uh yeah. I mean, no. No, not yet. I was just gonna eat first,” I gestured to my plate.

My wife eyed the omelet like it was my old girlfriend.

“Well, I have to go in early today, so I hope I can get down the hill alright.”

In other words, breakfast can wait. Time to trade my fork for the snow shovel. (Thank goodness for microwave ovens.)

Our driveway is on an incline, so if the car starts sliding, it will slide right into the road. If a car happens to be passing at the time, well, let’s just say there’s no ‘merging’ lane.

Heated tire tracks in asphalt driveway.

After working up a considerable sweat – and appetite – I was able to safely see my wife off to work. I wouldn’t be far behind, but first, I’d warm up some bacon and eggs.

Most mornings aren’t quite this hectic, but we’d grown accustomed to altering our schedules in order to deal with the weather. But if a surprise storm hit, or we didn’t get up early enough to deal with the snow, well, it seems that we’d spend the entire day trying to catch up.

Given the layout of our driveway, and how it spills out onto the road below, I can’t think of a better solution than that of installing a radiant heated driveway. Truth is, some neighbors of mine have a heated driveway. Every morning after a storm, I drive past their house and I envy their clear – dry – driveway. Apparently, they also have radiant heat installed under their front steps and porch. It sure stands out in the neighborhood. I’m sure that Jared enjoys watching everyone else shovel and plow their driveways. Yeah, while everyone else is salting and shoveling their driveway, he’s probably salting his eggs and shoveling them into his mouth.

After talking with Jared about his heated driveway, I was convinced that my wife and I needed to install one. In addition to being fully automated, heated driveways are also maintenance free. The efficiency, and everything else about these systems sounded too good to pass up. And given our driveway incline, it seemed like an obvious solution to an obvious problem.

I also learned that heated driveways can be customized to meet whatever needs we have. Whether it’s for layout needs or budget constraints, these systems can be tailored explicitly to match the precise needs of each customer.

Initially, I wasn’t sure how to best heat the driveway, but Warmzone gave us some great money-saving options. My wife and I were excited to find an option that still made the driveway safe during the winter, but also resulted in a lower installation cost as well as a lower operating cost. We chose to install heated tire tracks.

The heated tire tracks extended along the length of the driveway. (Each heating mat heated an area 24-inches wide. The mats feature pre-spaced heat cable that is easily rolled out during the installation.) Near the end of the driveway, near the road, we heated most of the area.

Having an asphalt driveway made it pretty easy for us to retrofit our existing driveway with radiant heat. The ClearZone heating mats were laid out over the area to be heated, and then secured to the asphalt. Then a new layer of asphalt was applied.

Warmzone provided all the technical support and training we needed. If there was ever a question, the electrician could immediately call Warmzone and get the issue resolved. The free installation training was especially beneficial. This was one of the best home upgrades we’ve done. Since installing the heated driveway, my wife and I have enjoyed eating our breakfasts together. I no longer get a raised eyebrow when I’m enjoying my bacon and eggs. And as for the salt, well, it just stays on the eggs.

My Experience with Installing a Heated Driveway

Knowing What to Look for When Shopping for a Radiant Heat Snow Melting System

This winter I’ve been enjoying my heated driveway like a little country boy enjoying a Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morning. This is the gift that keeps on giving, and every snowy day seems a little like Christmas. I feel like a proud father as I watch my heated driveway distinguish itself from all the other driveways in the neighborhood. Oh, and there’s Bob, shoveling snow from his driveway. ‘Atta boy, Bob.’ I nod and acknowledge him with a raise of my coffee cup. I know he can’t see me, but still, this is oddly satisfying. Ah, but I’m not here to gloat over my snow-free driveway.

I’ve learned a lot about radiant heat this past year. As a homeowner, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about driveway heating systems. Perhaps some of my experiences can be beneficial to others who are exploring the possibility of installing a radiant heat system.

When my wife and I first decided that we wanted a radiant heated driveway, we knew very little about the actual systems. I figured that the driveway gets warm, the snow melts, and boom, there it is. But the reality of it is that there are certain components and support services that make a big difference. I was fortunate in dealing with Warmzone. With that being said, I guess my first piece of advice to homeowners is to make sure that you deal with experienced, established pros. (There are cheap options out there, like buying generic heat cable from some home improvement store, but when you don’t have customer support services, it ultimately costs you more in the long run.) A heated driveway is a significant investment. Don’t cut corners.

These systems are touted as fully automated and maintenance free. This almost sounded too good to be true, but it is actually the case. Once installed, you really don’t have to worry about it. However, I like to wipe down the snow sensor every now and then. During the year, wind storms can kick up dust or leaves that may end up on the small sensor. To be honest, I haven’t had a leaf land perfectly on the sensor, but one never knows. Regardless, I like to wipe the sensor plate down now and then, just to avoid any dirt buildup.

Heated driveway shown after a snowstorm.

In addition to the snow sensor, automated heated driveways also feature a heating element and control panel. Make sure the components for your system are proven products. Warmzone uses ClearZone heat cable, which has been around for decades, so I know it’s a cable I can trust. It also carries a top manufacturer warranty. The contactor panel, or controller is what kicks the power to the heat cable. The sensor detects snow, signals the controller, and then power is sent to the heating element that’s embedded in the driveway. It’s a simple system with no moving parts. Gotta love that.

Before I looked into getting a heated driveway, I didn’t realize that heat cable can be purchased in individual lengths off a spool, as well as in mats. I chose the mats. These are available in different lengths as well, but the cable is already pre-spaced, so they can simply be rolled out during the installation, and then secured. Boom! Pretty quick and easy. I was even able to help install them.

I’m really not much of a “do-it-yourselfer”, but this was something that even I could do. (I had my wife take a couple of photos of me “installing” the driveway, just for posterity’s sake – and to document my diverse skills.) Yeah, it was a proud moment, unlike the time I tried to show off my handyman skills by switching out a water facet in my wife’s apartment before we got married. (Be sure to always turn off the water supply beforehand.) But hey, she still married me. I guess I might still be trying to redeem myself for that one.  

Anyway, to heat our concrete driveway, thin remesh was laid out and then the cable mats were placed over the remesh and then secured with plastic ties. (Did I mention that I did this part?) Little plastic supports, called Mesh-Ups were used to keep the remesh from resting on the ground. This ensures that the heat cable is ideally positioned about 2-3 inches from the surface of the finished driveway. Then the concrete was poured.

I also learned that heated driveways are designed according to ASHRAE standards. (Don’t worry, I had no clue what this meant either.) In other words, your driveway heating system will be designed specifically for the winter conditions in your area. If you have an average winter temperature of 24°F, with annual snowfall around 70 inches, then the designers create a system that is specifically designed to handle those conditions. This helps to determine the watts per square foot that your system needs to effectively keep the driveway clear of snow and ice. Each system is custom tailored to deal with the customer’s unique demands.

Heated driveway with overlay of components.
The typical components of an automated Warmzone radiant heated driveway.

As you’re shopping for a system, ask questions. I’m glad I did. And be sure to have your electrician find out about the power requirements. (This usually isn’t a problem for most homeowners, but for those who are looking to heat massive areas, you should definitely find out what your available power is, and confirm the system’s power demands.)

Fortunately, snow melting systems can be customized to the hilt, so you can install radiant heat exactly how you want. If you don’t want to heat your entire driveway, then you can heat two 24-inch wide tire tracks, or just an 8-foot wide strip in the middle. Heck, you can install radiant heat in a checkerboard pattern if you want. It’s all about you and what works best for your layout and budget.

Also, perhaps the most important services for customers are the support services such as free installation training, technical support, and system design. The free installation training was invaluable. The instructor covered every aspect of the installation, so the electrician and installers knew everything they needed, prior to installing the system. Warmzone also provided real time technical support. When the electrician had a question, he called and spoke with an expert. Also, prior to any work taking place, Warmzone created a detailed layout / design of the system. We knew exactly how and where to install the heat cable and every component. These support services are what made the difference. I can’t stress enough that you deal only with a company that provides these types of services.

My advice to you is to call and talk with a radiant heat expert and explore your options. (Oh, and remember to always turn off the water supply before changing water facets.) Warmzone radiant heat experts are friendly professionals who will ask you about your project and then explain the best available options. There’s no rush, and no pressure. I talked with these guys for months before my wife and I decided to do the installation. They were always there to patiently answer any questions or address any concerns. Given their quality products and remarkable support services, I couldn’t imagine working with any provider other than Warmzone.

Warmzone is one of the largest providers of floor heating, snow melting, and roof de-icing systems, as well as luxury home heating amenities. For more information about Warmzone radiant heat systems or luxury amenities, contact a friendly Warmzone representative today, at 888-488-9276.

Upgrading my Driveway

I did it! I Installed a Heated Driveway. (Part II of “My Summer Projects“)

This summer I committed to installing a heated driveway. After my wife slipped and fell last winter, I knew the jig was up. (Now, before you rush to any judgement, I DID shovel the driveway earlier that morning, but I guess I missed a spot. Dang snow shovel must have had a manufacturing defect.)

Most ladies’ shoes don’t go well with ice, and my wife’s field research emphasized this point. After years of close calls, she had finally had enough. I had to do something. Of course, I was also motivated by the ultimatum she gave as she writhed in pain on the cold pavement. It was either the driveway, or it was me. According to her, one of us had to go.

That may sound a bit harsh, and perhaps it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but you catch my drift. I’m not sure if she intended for me to dig up the driveway and throw it in the dumpster out of spite, or revenge, or what. All I knew was that I was going nowhere.

I guess you could say that I was a victim of friendly fire after the accident, but I can’t blame her for her tirade. In the heat of the moment, my wife unleashed a salvo of profoundly creative expletives, weaved into an almost poetic series of imaginative stanzas. Being the first one on scene, I took the brunt of the assault. I discovered that under the right conditions, she can make my old drill sergeant sound like a substitute first-grade teacher. But, enough about that.

I bypassed marriage counseling and reached out directly to Warmzone. I had checked out a couple other radiant heat providers, but I liked the way Warmzone approached things. These guys were consummate pros, and their customer support was impressive. They answered my questions and explained the options that would work best for us.

One option was for us to use saw-cut technology that would allow us to heat the existing driveway. To do this, small grooves are cut into the concrete and heat cable is placed in the grooves. Then a special epoxy is applied to seal the heating cable. A light coating of sand can then be applied to provide traction. This is an effective and affordable way to heat an existing driveway that’s otherwise in good condition. But, with visions of my wife laying on the icy pavement still fresh in my head, I determined that none of my old, crumbling driveway should be spared. We had other plans for that wretched concrete.

The original driveway was never a selling point for our house. In fact, when my wife and I bought the home, we knew that eventually, we’d need to replace the driveway. I also wanted to make a small change to the driveway’s layout. So, instead of heating the existing concrete, we decided to redo the poorly installed driveway. After all, it was either me or the driveway that had to go. Adios driveway!

Warmzone system designers created a detailed layout of my new heated driveway. The AutoCAD® included the complete layout of the system and every component, as well as all the information needed by the electrician. Thanks to the layout and free installation training, the system was installed quickly and easily, without any major issues or surprises. A couple of times, the electrician called and spoke with a technical support expert at Warmzone to ensure we were doing things right. That was nice because it allowed us to proceed with confidence. Overall, the process of installing the system went quicker than I thought.

In December, we got a significant early snowstorm. Wow, what a joy it was to look out the window on Saturday morning and see a serene, white landscape with a beautiful, snow-free driveway in the foreground. The automated system cleared – and dried – the driveway! Now that’s a safety feature we can live with. I tried to get my wife to make a donut run so she could appreciate the clear driveway, but instead, we stayed inside and admired the sight.

We were both exited with this accomplishment. I figured that it earned me a day or two of skiing – minimum. I’d have my wife join me, but her doctor said it would be best for her to avoid winter sports activities for awhile. But at least I redeemed myself and exacted revenge on that old driveway for her. (I also threw my defective snow shovel back into the tool shed.)

I think our “post-heated driveway” life looks bright. Now, if I could just get the old basement pantry rewired so the lights don’t keep flickering off unexpectedly. All in due time. For now, I’m going to have lunch and savor the success of this heated driveway.

“Hey honey, can you run downstairs and grab a can of chili for me?”

Yeah, life is good.

Read Part I, My Summer Projects.

Warmzone is one of the largest providers of floor heating, snow melting, and roof de-icing systems, as well as luxury home heating amenities. For more information about Warmzone radiant heat systems or luxury amenities, contact a friendly Warmzone representative today, at 888-488-9276.

Radiant Heated Floors and Thermostats

Warmzone’s Advanced Thermostats Ensure that your Heated Floors Operate at Peak Efficiency

When it comes to residential heating systems, homeowners have many options from which to choose. Traditional systems that use a furnace, blower, and ductwork (known as forced-air systems) are still commonplace in homes today, but the advance of technology is paving the way for new, and increasingly efficient options for homeowners.

Radiant heat has long been the most efficient heating technology for decades, but today’s systems continue to push the envelop – both in terms of comfort and efficiency. A wide variety of electric floor heating systems are available, as well as hydronic systems. (Hydronic floor heating systems heat specially treated water that is circulated through a closed loop of special PEX tubing that is embedded in the floor.)  

In addition to offering hydronic heated floors, Warmzone carries one of the largest selections of electric floor heating systems in the industry. The systems range from thin heat cable to low-voltage polymer panels, near-paper-thin “film” heating panels, and more. Whether you have hardwood, tile, vinyl, or any other type of flooring, Warmzone can match you with the ideal system to meet your heating needs as well as your budget.

ComfortTile floor heating system installed under tile floor
Ceramic tiled floor heated with ComfortTile floor heating system.

Warmzone Floor Heating System Products and Offerings Include:

ComfortTile: As the most popular floor heating option, this versatile system features thin heat cable (available in mats and spools) is effective for heating a wide variety of floors.

FilmHeat: This remarkable heating element is thinner than a credit card, and is regarded by flooring professionals at the best option for heating laminate and floating floors.

In-Slab: The sturdy In-Slab heat cable is designed for installation in concrete slabs. In-Slab heat cable is ideal for heating basements, or other floors over concrete.

FloorHeat STEP: Thin, low-voltage polymer FloorHeat panels are ideal for heating hardwood floors.

RetroHeat: The ultra-thin heating panels allow homeowners to heat existing floors, without having to undergo any major remodeling. The panels are designed to be stapled up between the floor joists.

FoilHeat: The FoilHeat system features thin heat cable that is sandwiched between two layers of specially reinforced aluminum. The system is designed for heating laminate, engineered wood, and even carpeted floors.

Prodeso: The flexible underlayment membrane provides an innovative uncoupling and waterproofing system for heating floors and other surfaces without movement or expansion joints in the screed.

In addition to the many advanced radiant floor heating technologies, Warmzone also offers the industry’s most advanced control systems. Warmzone’s newest thermostat offering is the LED WiFi Touch Thermostat.

LED WiFi Programmable Floor Heating Thermostat
The advanced LED WiFi programmable floor heating system thermostat.

This attractive, technologically advanced touch-screen thermostat allows users to remotely adjust and monitor their floor heating system. The thermostats can be accessed locally through Bluetooth® and virtually anywhere when connected to the Cloud service through WiFi. Users can also control the thermostat using their voice with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled devices. The advanced thermostats include an intuitive installation wizard that guides installers and end-users through the setup process.

To ensure security, the LED WiFi thermostat transmits encrypted data securely via TLS 1.3. This latest state-of-the-art encryption technology allows faster and more secure connections. For your WiFi connection, take advantage of the secure and comprehensive WPA3 protocol.

A variety of other thermostat options are also available to homeowners. The controllers range from programmable “TOUCH” thermostats to simple control devices for those on a tight budget.

Radiant heat is the home heating technology of today, and the future. Start enjoying luxurious warmth and unprecedented efficiency by installing your radiant floor heating system. With Warmzone’s expertise and vast product selection, homeowners are assured of finding the ideal system and thermostat for all of their home heating needs.

Warmzone is also a customer service leader. Warmzone’s support services include radiant heat system design and layout services, personal installation support, and FREE installation training. Our goal is to provide customers with the best, most complete floor heating solution possible. For more information about radiant floor heating systems or customer services, call a friendly radiant floor heating expert today, at 888-488-9276.

The Versatility of Radiant Heat

Keep Your Favorite Outdoor Spaces and Walkways Clear of Snow During the Winter Months

Radiant heated driveways are becoming commonplace in upscale neighborhoods nowadays. The efficiency and convenience of these automated systems make them attractive options for homeowners. In addition to operating on renewable energy, the systems eliminate the need for salt and harmful snowmelt chemicals. For environmentally conscious consumers, these traits are strong selling points. The features and benefits of these reliable systems ensure that they’re here to stay, but radiant heat is often called upon to do much more than heat driveways. These systems are used for a wide variety of other snow melting applications – as well as roof de-icing and home heating applications.

Given the nature of Warmzone’s versatile ClearZone snow melting system, radiant heat is easily customized to accommodate a range of consumer demands. In addition to heated driveways, some other demands include heated dog runs and kennels, heated outdoor steps, sidewalks, loading docks, and accessibility ramps. The systems are also frequently designed and installed to keep favorite, or heavily trafficked outdoor areas clear of snow as ice, such as pathways to a jacuzzi, or to the garbage cans, etc. The systems can be installed to heat concrete, asphalt, brick and stone pavers, and more. Warmzone snow melting systems have also been installed in a variety of large commercial applications, such as train platforms, bus stops, airport aprons, parking ramps, and more.

Customers are often surprised to learn that radiant heat can be installed to keep outdoor steps free from snow and ice during the winter months. Aside from heating driveways, heating steps is another popular request from home and business owners.

Heated steps being installed.
Radiant snow melting system being installed to heat outdoor steps.

We all know how treacherous steps can be during snowstorms. Some of us (with bruises, scars, or a limp) know better than others. Installing a radiant snow melting system is one sure way to greatly reduce the chances of slip and fall accidents during the winter. Needless to say, the enhanced safety provided by a radiant heat system is a godsend for business owners.

Most Warmzone heated step systems utilize ClearZone heat cable. ClearZone heat cable is a premium heat-resistant cable that is available off the spool or pre-spaced in mats. For heated step installations, cable off the spool is recommended. To prevent snow and ice from forming on outdoor steps, three or four runs of heat cable are installed along each step (depending on the depth of the step), including one run near the bullnose edge of the step. The cable is then run to the next step and laid out in a similar fashion.

Warmzone system designers are also frequently called upon to design systems to keep loading docks and accessibility ramps safe during winter. The heat cable is easily installed in concrete (as well as other mediums), and the system activates only when needed. If a snowstorm hits during the night, you can be assured that the ramp will be clear and safe for pedestrian traffic in the morning.

Heated entryway
A radiant heated accessibility ramp after a snowstorm.

Warmzone snow melting systems consist of the best available components, which include an activation device (snow sensor) and controller. When the sensor detects snow, it sends a signal to the control unit, and power is then sent to the embedded heat cable. The heated surface prevents snow from accumulating during the storm. A safety feature, called the “afterrun” function allows the system to remain on for a short time after the snowstorm. This allows the heated concrete (or other medium) to dry, ensuring that no water is left on the surface, and preventing thin sheets of “invisible” ice from forming. In addition to the automated features of the snow melting systems, Warmzone systems also include a manual override feature, so it can be activated if needed. (Sometimes wind may blow snow onto the driveway, or snow has melted and pooled in the driveway.)

Every radiant heat system is backed by the best customer service in the business. In addition to providing customers with a detailed design/layout of the system, Warmzone also includes free installation training and technical support. To learn more about radiant snow melting systems, or Warmzone’s industry-leading support services, call and talk with a radiant heat expert today, at 888-488-9276.

Learning About Radiant Heat

I’m a bit of a nerd. Or maybe I’m a geek. Regardless, I like techy stuff, and I enjoy learning how things work. While my wife is watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island, I’m in the other room, watching “How it’s Made” on the Science Channel. On the weekends, I get a little wild and watch documentaries on the Smithsonian and History channels. I like to mix it up.

The point is, I like to understand what makes things tick. That way, I tend to appreciate them a little more. I’m not the least bit interested in keeping up with the Kardashians, or watching adults behave like ill-mannered adolescents on staged “reality” shows. I’d much rather know important things like, how Silly Putty is made, or how they put those little model ships into glass bottles. You know, life-skills type of stuff.

Being of curious mind, I’ve also found myself intrigued with radiant heat technology. Radiant heat is becoming more and more popular nowadays, for both interior (heated floors) and exterior (snow melting) applications. Apparently, the Europeans got a jump on us when it came to installing radiant heat in their homes. (Yes, I’m setting my grandiose American ego aside and conceding that the Europeans were way ahead of us in the home heating race.) I’m not sure why North America was slower to adopt radiant heat, but we’re certainly making up for lost time now. Radiant heated floors and heated driveways are rapidly becoming commonplace in today’s new homes. In fact, seeing so many heated driveways, and experiencing homes with heated floors are what piqued my interest in radiant heat.

But how do these systems work? Why are Americans making the shift to radiant heat? And is it true that radiant heat is the most efficient heating technology available today? These are just a few questions that launched me on my quest.  

Early in my investigation, I was surprised to discover how many different types of heating elements are available, and how they work with different floor types. Thin heat resistance cable was the only heating element that I knew about, but apparently, there are many, very different, heating elements, each with their own specific features and benefits.  

Heated floor and a heated driveway.
Heated floor with cutaway view and a radiant heated driveway with heated tire tracks.

Floor heating systems that use thin heating cable are probably the most popular. Most heat cable is available off the spool or pre-spaced in mats. I gotta say, these heating mats are slick. Ya just roll ‘em out over the area to be heated, and the adhesive on the back of the mat sticks to the subfloor. Needless to say, this makes installation quick and easy. System that use heat cable, s like ComfortTile, are ideal for heating stone, marble, and tile floors. And because the heat cable is thin, there is very little floor buildup. ComfortTile seems to be the cable of choice for many homeowners and installers. (It doesn’t hurt that the cable also has a 25-year warranty.)

There are also thin heating panels that can be installed under just about any surface, including hardwood, vinyl tile, linoleum, and more. One remarkable – and very popular – system is FilmHeat. FilmHeat utilizes ultra thin panels that are barely thicker than a sheet of paper. (The element is just 0.016-inch thick.) The heating element is used with an underlayment, and doesn’t even require the use of thinset or mortar. This makes for a clean and easy installation! A special version of this system, called RetroHeat, can also be used to install between floor joists. This allows homeowners to heat their existing floors! I love the idea of heating my floors without having to do any major renovations.

Special heat cable is also available for installation in concrete slabs. Because of its intended applications, the In-Slab heat cable is thicker, and more robust than other floor heating cables. It’s ideal for heating rooms in the basement.

Another unique floor heating system is the low-voltage FloorHeat STEP system. The system features thin, flexible polymer heating panels that have proven to be especially well-suited for heating hardwood floors.  

All these systems are incredibly efficient. In fact, 99 percent of the energy used by these systems translates directly into heat. There’s virtually no heat loss. In today’s environmentally conscious mindset, radiant heat is a winner. It’s clean. It runs on renewable energy, and it provides far more comfort than traditional furnace-blower heating systems. I also like the flexibility that radiant heat offers. I can heat specific rooms and areas as I see fit. Because each zone (or room) is controlled by its own thermostat, I have precise control over my home heat. The systems can also be programmed to accommodate my family’s schedule. (Hydronic floor heating systems are also available. A closed loop of PEX tubing is installed under the floor, and then specially treated water is heated and pumped through the tubing to warm the floor.)

FilmHeat for heating hardwood floating floors.
Rolls of the FilmHeat floor heating element.

When it comes to exterior applications such as heating driveways, steps, and walkways, etc., the most common heating element is durable heat cable. The ClearZone system is a favorite among professional builders, and can be customized to accommodate just about any layout and application. The systems utilize an advanced snow sensor activation device that detects precipitation and temperature so that the system is activated just as the first snowflake falls. The sensor signals a small controller that is typically installed on a wall in the garage, and then power is sent to the embedded heat cable. The driveway quickly warms so that snow is prevented from accumulating. After the snowstorm, the system remains on for a short time to dry the surface. This is a great safety feature that eliminates ice from forming on the driveway.

It’s no wonder that radiant heat has become the new standard for home heating and snow melting applications. If you’d like to learn more, call and talk with a radiant heat expert today, at 888-488-9276. The more you learn about radiant heat, the more you’ll like it. Or, you could just catch an old episode of Gilligan’s Island. Fortunately for the crew of the S.S. Minnow, they didn’t need to heat their bungalows. But if they did, I bet the Professor would have found a way to incorporate radiant heat.

Tips for Installing Radiant Snow Melting Systems

Avoid Common Installation Mistakes

Installing a radiant snow melting system is not a difficult task, but there are a few important tips that installers should keep in mind. Perhaps the most important “tip” for installers is this: Take advantage of the free installation training provided by Warmzone.

We make the training easy. Installers can schedule their training online, via video conference. You’ll have a personal instructor who will cover every aspect of your installation, and you can stop and ask questions any time.

The other most important tip we can offer is to read the installation manual and follow the steps provided. A common mistake is that some installers are so eager to dive into the installation, that they don’t take the time to read the installation manual. Make sure you read the manual (and test the heat cable) prior to beginning the physical installation. Also, confirm that you have the right products for your installation. The voltage and wattage information of the heating cable is provided on the label of the box, so check this beforehand. If you need, you can call Warmzone’s technical support staff. We’re available to you throughout the installation process.

After confirming that you have the right cable, open the box and use a megohmmeter to perform OHM tests of the heat cable. It’s important to text the cable throughout the installation process. Test it before removing it from the box, as well as during and after the installation. This way you’ll discover any potential problems as early as possible. This will save you time and ensure a successful installation. Be sure to document the results (as outlined in the manual) to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty.

As you begin to layout the heat cable, keep these important guidelines in mind:

Always maintain proper cable spacing. Sometimes the cable may shift slightly after laying it out, so double-check the spacing before covering it.
Never cut, cross or overlap the heating cable. The heat cable should not be altered under any circumstance, as it may cause overheating and damage the cable.
Always embed the cable completely. Leave no air around the cable.
Make sure to embed the factory splice (where the heating cable and power lead meet). See the illustration provided.
Use a megohmmeter to perform OHM tests of the heat cable before removing the cable from the box, during the installation, and after the cable has been laid out.
Always run the cold lead in a conduit (The power lead for the heating cable is not intended for direct burial.)
A few important guidelines to remember when installing the heat cable for an automated radiant snow melting system.
Proper embedding of cable splice - large
Embedding the cable splice for a heated driveway.

When installing snow melting cable in asphalt, the cables should be covered by two inches of asphalt. To prevent heat damage, the asphalt should be allowed to cool to 220°F (105°C) before pouring directly onto the mats or cables. (The in-ground snow sensors/tubes should not be exposed to temperatures above 176°F (80°C).) Warmzone offers specially constructed heat cable for installation in hot asphalt applications. ClearZone heat cable for asphalt is rated up to 460 degrees for up to 10 minutes.

When installing a new heated asphalt driveway, the snow melting cable is laid out on the binder or base coat and then approximately 2-inches of asphalt is hand shoveled directly on top of the cable. The asphalt is then compacted, using a 1-ton roller or less.

When installing the snow sensor (either an aerial-mount or ground-mount), make sure it has a clear, 360-degree “view” of the sky to allow snow to fall onto the sensor plate. This ensures that the system will activate when needed.

Example of incorrect layout of snow melting heat cable
How NOT to lay out your heat cable.
Heated driveways being installed
Heating mats properly laid out for a concrete heated driveway.

Remember, these guidelines don’t supersede the information in the instruction manual. Always refer to the manual, and don’t hesitate to contact Warmzone’s friendly technical support staff. We want you to success, so we are happy to assist you at any time.

Warmzone is one of the largest providers of snow melting, floor heating, and roof de-icing systems, as well as luxury home heating amenities. For more information about our radiant heat systems or luxury amenities, contact a friendly Warmzone representative today, at 888-488-9276.

My Summer Projects

Installing a Heated Driveway – Now This is Something I can get Excited About!

Every summer I make a list of all the things that I need (and want) to accomplish – in addition to my list of routine maintenance and other work-related chores. Of course, my sweet wife also cheerfully contributes, so I have a lengthy “honey-do” list as well. Sometimes I think that summer isn’t long enough for me to accomplish all that’s needed, especially when I throw in all the “fun” things that I want to do.

That’s right, I have a pretty hefty list of recreational activities on the docket. You know what they say about “all work and no play”. B-O-R-I-N-G. Ideally, I’d like to plan things out so that I get a day of fun for every day that I spend doing chores. Every afternoon that I spend replacing or repairing sprinklers should be compensated with an afternoon at the lake. Makes sense to me. I guess you could say that I’m committed to an equal opportunity summer.

The dry, warm weather of summer also lends itself to construction activities. If you’re a homeowner, I’m sure you’ve discovered the never-ending list of maintenance and small construction upgrade projects too. (It’s in the top drawer in the kitchen cubby, underneath the mortgage payment notices and insurance forms.)

Unfortunately, most home upgrade or maintenance projects are mundane tasks that I just don’t get too excited about. Sure, I’d rather be kayaking or vacationing in Italy, but nope, I’m a responsible homeowner. I also understand the importance of keeping the illusion alive that my wife married a responsible man.

Vernazza Italy
As far as summer activities go, I’m not sure how to top a trip to Italy’s Cinque Terre (Vernazza shown).

This year I may have a job that I’m a little more excited about. It’s a substantial home improvement project, but that only enhances the excitement for me. I’m happy to say that my wife and I have decided to install a heated driveway.

I’ve endured many years of shoveling our walks and driveway – at all sorts of hours. I’ve been out there clearing the snow at 5 o’clock in the morning as well as 9 o’clock at night. I’ve paid my shoveling dues. If there were such a thing, I know I’d qualify for the prestigious 1,000-hour gold shovel award. The problem is, sometimes after I shovel and salt, I still manage to miss that one tiny spot that my wife’s foot always finds. Let me tell ya, high heels and ice make for a disastrous combination.

Fortunately, the insurance covered most of the medical costs. Too bad it didn’t address any compensation for the emotional trauma and mental stress. Yes, I was traumatized and stressed from my wife’s verbal reprimands. I tried to not take it personal. Instead, I chalked it up to the colorful ramblings of someone in extreme pain. You can hardly even notice her limp nowadays.

Heated paver driveway
A radiant heated driveway after a snowstorm.

Over the years, my aging back has slowly been urging me to look into getting one of those fancy radiant heated driveways. I guess what pushed me over the edge was when my wife went down. Now, being the responsible husband that I am, I’m taking action. An automated heated driveway would not only keep the entire driveway clear of snow and ice 24/7, it also dries the surface after a storm, so there’s no chance the melted snow will refreeze. Regardless of the storm, or the time of day, our driveway will be clear and safe. I’m such a responsible husband.

Now, unlike most of my other summer chores, I’m not waiting until fall to start this project. Installing the heated driveway now is a smart move. I don’t have to worry about the frantic seasonal push to complete the work before winter hits. The heated driveway will be ready well before the first snow falls. Man, I’m such a responsible husband.

Fortunately, dealing with Warmzone makes the process of installing a heated driveway easy. Their customer support is absolutely top notch. I knew nothing about radiant heat, but they walked me through the various options and answered all of my questions. They have a team of experienced designers who are creating my custom system, and they even provide free installation training for the installers and electrician. Yep, this project is one that I’m actually excited about this year. My wife and I are going to enjoy this for years to come.

All of Warmzone’s great customer service makes it easier for me to take care of the other summer tasks on hand. But I may not tell my wife how easy Warmzone is making this process. After all, I’m pretty sure our fence will last another year. Heck, most of the chores on the list can wait another year. But I do need to mow the lawn. Yeah, I’m sure a responsible husband.

Lawn mower
Just one of the many summer chores . . .

Read Part II of this series: Upgrading My Driveway.

Warmzone is one of the largest providers of floor heating, snow melting, and roof de-icing systems, as well as luxury home heating amenities. For more information about Warmzone radiant heat systems or luxury amenities, contact a friendly Warmzone representative today, at 888-488-9276.

From Heated Floors to Towel Warmers, We’ve Got it All

Check out Warmzone’s Luxury Home Heat Amenities

There’s no denying the benefits of radiant heat. Clean, silently operating, maintenance-free floor heating systems seem to be the future of home heating. While the technical benefits of these energy-efficient systems are beyond dispute, the advantage that homeowners are most enamored with is the unique, luxurious warmth. Those who have experienced a radiant heated floor can attest to its remarkable comfort. Unlike traditional forced-air heating systems, radiant heat systems distribute heat evenly from the floor up, basking the room in warmth.

Because of its many benefits, radiant floor heating technology is playing a prominent role in today’s new home construction. Warmzone offers one of the largest selections of floor heating solutions on the market, with each system providing specific benefits for virtually every type of floor heating application. From thin radiant heat cable and heat cable in mats, to thin heating panels and more, Warmzone offers radiant heat systems designed for all types of flooring. There is even a system with heating elements that can be installed between floor joists to heat existing floors.

Certainly, radiant heat can add to the overall comfort of a home. But did you know that there are additional options that you can take advantage of to add more warmth and convenience to your home?

Warmzone offers homeowners an array of luxury amenities. These amenities include elegant bathroom heaters, towel warmers, designer kick board and radiant panel heaters, fog-free bathroom and vanity mirrors, and even countertop heaters to take the chill out of your home’s most popular gathering place, the kitchen. Adding some of these premium-quality amenities can enhance the quality of life for your family, but it may also spoil you a little.

If you’re looking to add elegance and comfort to your kitchen, office, vanity, bathroom, or more, check out Warmzone’s “comfort-zone” products below.

Baseboard, Pedestal, and Wall-mount Panel Heaters

Sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra warmth in your favorite rooms. That’s why Warmzone offers a variety of convenient electric wall-mount and freestanding panel heaters. Warmzone’s Runtal® Electric Wall-Mounted heaters give homeowners an attractive option for eliminating cold spots in your favorite rooms. These efficient heaters blend high output performance and low surface temperature in a durable flat-tube design, and are available in lengths from 3 to 10 feet (in increments of one foot).

Electric wall-mount panel heaters
Electric panel heaters.

Warmzone’s electric wall-mount panel heaters are ideal for adding heat in areas where floor space is at a premium. With high output and sleek profile, these durable flat-tube design heaters can either accentuate the room’s style or discreetly blend into the existing interior design.

Bathroom Heaters and Towel Warmers

If you’re looking to add a little warmth to your bathroom, or grab a nice warm towel after your shower, then check out Warmzone’s stylish bathroom heaters and towel warmers. The bathroom towel warmers not only keep towels warm and dry, but they can provide additional warmth for the bathroom. Warmzone carries a variety of attractive flat panel and round tube bathroom heaters that not only add comfort, but style to your bathroom.

Bathroom radiator with towel warmer
A bathroom towel warmer.

Fog-free Mirrors for Showers, Bathrooms and Vanities

Warmzone offers a series of stunning fog-free mirrors that can be used in showers, as well as bathrooms and vanities. The mirrors feature a thin heating pad built in behind the mirror that gently warms the surface to prevent condensation from accumulating. The beautifully designed mirrors are available with optional LED lights, and are easily mounted flush in your shower or vanity, creating gorgeous, upscale looks. A variety of sizes are available, with or without LED lights, and different LED light configurations.

Mist-free vanity mirror with LED lights.
A fog-free bathroom mirror with built-in LEDs.

FeelsWarm® Countertop Heaters

Warmzone’s FeelsWarm® countertop heaters are designed to add comfort to your home’s most popular work and gathering spots. These easy-to-install “stick-on” heaters feature thin, customizable panels that conveniently adhere to the underside of granite, quartz, or stone counters. The panels safely heat the countertop about 20-25 degrees above room temperature to take the chill out of the stone and provide comfortable warmth. The low-voltage countertop heaters are affordable and have a very low operating cost, and can be applied under just about any type of existing counter as well as in new construction applications.

Stick-on countertop heater
The underside of a heated countertop, showing the heating panel.

Warmzone is one of the largest providers of floor heating, snow melting, and roof de-icing systems, as well as luxury home heating amenities. For more information about our radiant heat systems or luxury amenities, contact a friendly Warmzone representative today, at 888-488-9276.