All posts by Laura Carter

Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE, FRSL, pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, screenwriter and film producer best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series.

Hot Remodeling Trends

Home Remodeling Trends you can Really Warm up to

CBS Moneywatch.com recently identified twelve trends in home remodeling for 2011. The hottest projects—bathrooms, must-do remodeling and warmer interior design projects made the top three, with green living coming in at number nine. With growing concerns over rising fuel prices and carbon footprints, it’s not surprising that more and more homeowners are investing in their homes to cut fuel consumption. Installing Warmzone radiant heated floors is a great way to keep up with remodeling trends and recoup on home improvement costs.

How does radiant heat work? Heated floors radiate heat from the floor up to keep you warm and comfortable when cold weather sets in. Two types of systems—electric heat cable and hydronic (water-based) tubing systems—when installed in the subfloor of your home act as heating elements to warm the surface above. These heating cables/tubing coordinate with a thermostat and sensors, as do traditional forced air systems, to provide heat to your home.

Heating mats being installed to heat a bathroom floor

Warmzone radiant heat is green heat. Powered by electricity, electric radiant heat cables can heat a surface in 30 to 60 minutes. Unlike forced air systems, they are room specific. With the help of sensors and a programmable thermostat you can heat one room, or heat them all quickly and efficiently, saving money on your monthly gas bill. And unlike forced air systems, they do not belch out the dust and dirt that compromises air quality in your home.

A radiant heated floor installation equals cheap equity. Heated floors give your home an impressive level of comfort and customization with minimal investment. Not sure you want to install heated floors throughout you home just yet? Warmzone offers a variety of heat cable products that can be easily installed under the subfloor of any room in your home, whether it be bathroom tile, wood or even carpet.

If, as CBS Moneywatch.com suggests, the over-arching remodeling trend for 2011 is to tackle small projects while you wait to do the really big remodeling project that’s on your list, why not start by installing heated flooring in your home.  Unlike other “one-size-fits-all” radiant heat providers, Warmzone offers an array of radiant heated flooring solutions designed to better match your individual project, and your budget. The good news—many of these floor heating products can be installed by do-it-yourself homeowners.

Radiant Heat Technology

Snow Melting Systems: Technology For the Ages

While radiant heated driveways are viewed as a relatively modern convenience, you might be surprised to know that radiant heat has been around since antiquity. The Romans actually utilized raised-slab floors and an exterior wood fired furnace to heat their villas. As hot gases from the furnace would enter the house below floor level, they were naturally drawn through the floors up and out of the walls, radiating heat along the way.

Of course, radiant heat technology has come a long way. Durable, easily installed and inconspicuous, it clears the driveways and sidewalks we travel on, and warms our floors (along with our soles). Great news if you’ve ever considered a heated driveway in your future!

Today’s heated driveways are made up of three main elements: the heating element, the controller and the snow sensor or activation device. Controlled by either a wall-mounted control box, snow melting systems can be activated manually; or, with the help of sensors, automatically as conditions change.

ClearZone radiant heat cable comes with several benefits. Safely installed in new concrete pours, under pavers and in harsh, high-temperature new asphalt projects, it delivers unmatched durability. ClearZone cable can be customized to meet performance and space requirements for virtually any snowmelt project. Featuring a unique, maintenance-free design, a 10-year manufacturers warranty and the quickest response time, ClearZone cable is built to consistently outperform the competition.

Warmzone’s compact 6 x 3.5-inch wall-mounted snowmelt control unit monitors the activity of the entire heated driveway system. The snowmelt control unit can be switched on/off (standby) and the heating system can be forced on in case of blowing snow or ice formation due to wind or shade. It features manual override capability, and can also be controlled using an external signal, from a day/week timer, GSM-module or other signal source.

When moisture is present and the preset temperature is reached, it is the snow sensor—whether aerial-mounted or pavement-mounted —that relays the information to the controller to activate the snow melting system. Once the trigger temperature is set, the sensor switch will only activate a radiant heated driveway when needed, saving energy and operating costs.

As radiant heat technology has evolved, the ease of installation and the chief benefits of snow melting systems–efficiency and convenience–make heated driveways more compelling than ever. Warmzone can install heated driveways during pre- or post-construction phases, in almost any medium. The good news—with so much expertise and experience, Warmzone can easily customize a snowmelt system solution that’s right for you, and your budget.

Radiant Heat for Snow Melting

Snow Melting Systems – Technology for the Ages

While radiant heated driveways are viewed as a relatively modern convenience, you might be surprised to know that radiant heat has been around since antiquity. The Romans actually utilized raised-slab floors and an exterior wood fired furnace to heat their villas. As hot gases from the furnace would enter the house below floor level, they were naturally drawn through the floors up and out of the walls, radiating heat along the way.

Of course, radiant heat technology has come a long way. Durable, easily installed and inconspicuous, it clears the driveways and sidewalks we travel on, and warms our floors (along with our soles). Great news if you’ve ever considered a heated driveway in your future!

Today’s heated driveways are made up of three main elements: the heating element, the controller and the snow sensor or activation device. Controlled by either a wall-mounted control box, snow melting systems can be activated manually; or, with the help of sensors, automatically as conditions change.

ClearZone radiant heat cable comes with several benefits. Safely installed in new concrete pours, under pavers and in harsh, high-temperature new asphalt projects, it delivers unmatched durability. ClearZone cable can be customized to meet performance and space requirements for virtually any snowmelt project. Featuring a unique, maintenance-free design, a 10-year manufacturers warranty and the quickest response time, ClearZone cable is built to consistently outperform the competition.

Warmzone’s compact 6 x 3.5-inch wall-mounted snowmelt control unit monitors the activity of the entire heated driveway system. The snowmelt control unit can be switched on/off (standby) and the heating system can be forced on in case of blowing snow or ice formation due to wind or shade. It features manual override capability, and can also be controlled using an external signal, from a day/week timer, GSM-module or other signal source.

When moisture is present and the preset temperature is reached, it is the snow sensor—whether aerial-mounted or mounted within the pavement—that relays the information to the controller to activate the snow melting system. Once the trigger temperature is set, the sensor switch will only activate a radiant heated driveway when needed, saving energy and operating costs.

As radiant heat technology has evolved, the ease of installation and the chief benefits of snow melting systems–efficiency and convenience–make heated driveways more compelling than ever. You can install heated driveways during pre- or post-construction phases, in almost any medium. The good news—with so much expertise and experience, Warmzone can easily customize a snowmelt system solution that’s right for your specific needs and budget.

Portable Radiant Heat Solutions

Turn up the Heat with WarmTrax and Powerblanket Heating Mats

Despite the arrival of spring, getting up at 6:00 a.m. to clear the snow from my porch, stairs and walkways is still a fresh and somewhat painful memory. With the help of some blazing innovations, like Powerblanket and WarmTrax portable snow melting mats, I may actually have something to look forward to next winter (but as of now, I’m certainly not rushing it).

Heated traction mats for outdoor steps

      WarmTrax heated stair treads

WarmTrax snow melting mats and stair treads are an inexpensive alternative to shoveling, snow blowing, salt and embedded systems, and require no formal installation. They’re designed to lie on top of existing surfaces to continuously melt snow and ice. Just roll them out over sidewalks, ramps, walkways, your front porch, even your stairs, enough to keep your mail carrier happy through the winter months.

WarmTrax snow melting mats are incredibly durable. An electrically operated heating element is sandwiched between two protective non-slip rubber surfaces that are designed to endure harsh conditions and provide excellent traction, while enduring repeated foot traffic. To get instant heat, just plug them into any standard 120V or 240V outlet after placing them over the surface you wish to heat.

Powerblanket concrete curing mat

PowerBlanket concrete curing and ground thawing blanket.

Powerblankets, another portable, extremely efficient portable heating solution, can also be used in the harsher months as curing blankets, for ground thaw or to warm barrels or engines. Made from rugged, non-flammable material, Powerblankets are durable enough to meet the demands of large construction projects or heat stalls, kennels and common areas where animals congregate during the winter months.

On construction projects, Powerblankets are often used to accelerate concrete curing or as a ground thaw and heating source for working areas, or to protect materials and heavy equipment. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate jobs, large and small (very smart indeed, for those of us whose jobs take us outside during the harsh winter months).

Both of these products are low voltage, durable and incredibly safe, even wet. It doesn’t take a construction professional to appreciate the power of WarmTrax and PowerBlanket products. Knowing that I have a portable snow melting solution at my finger tips provides me with a security blanket of my own. Mother Nature can unleash a barrage of white stuff during winter’s coldest months, but I only have to throw down the heating mat and plug it in to create a safe, ice-free walkway. Not to mention that rolling out my portable snow melting mat during a snowstorm is like rolling out the red carpet as far as my mail carrier is concerned.

Hydronic Heated Driveways vs. Electric Heated Driveways (Part II)

Comparing Electric Snow Melting Systems and Hydronic Systems                   (Read Part I)

Flow or current: What’s your Chi?

At this point you may have already drawn some conclusions about these systems. Here’s an “at-a-glance” comparison of both systems.

Comparison Overview: Hydronic Radiant Heat vs. Electric Radiant Heat

Hydronic Snow Melting System Electric Snow Melting System
Flexible power source options can lower operating costs. Only one power source. Circuit breakers may have to be updated to accommodate system.
Installation costs may be higher, especially if water heater or boiler is required. Easier installation. Also can be used in retrofit applications.
Higher maintenance. Propylene glycol fluid levels must be routinely checked. Low maintenance. Less moving parts and no fluid levels to check!
Requires heating of the water, resulting in a slower response time. Less warm-up time is required so the system response is faster.

Hydronic heat, depending on the heat source, can save you on operational costs. Hydronic cables or PEX tubing can be installed under a variety of mediums, including concrete, asphalt, stone pavers, etc. Successful operation of a hydronic heating

system depends on proper tubing spacing and layout. Tubes are usually laid out in a spiral or serpentine pattern for even heat distribution, making initial installation a bit more challenging than that posed by electric heated systems.

Warmzone’s expertise with hydronic heat systems is an invaluable resource, particularly if you choose to go with a hydronic heated driveway. However, with the complexity of hydronic heat installation comes a large price tag, especially if a hot water heater or boiler is required.

Heated driveway

   Electric heated driveway system in concrete.

ClearZone electric heated driveway systems are generally more efficient than hydronic systems. Electric cables heat up instantaneously, whereas water within hydronic cables must be heated up before the snow begins to melt. Installation of electric systems is fairly simple for the “do-it-yourselfer”, and heat cable is also available pre-spaced and woven into mats, which can be easily rolled out to heat tire tracks or an entire driveway. This flexibility is invaluable in retrofit applications, where hydronic system installation is more evasive, and as you would imagine, costly.

Hydronic systems may offer a lower operating cost than electric systems because they can run using the cheapest power source, such as natural gas, coal, propane, etc. Hydronic snow melting systems are a reliable means for heating driveways and parking areas, but the “current” trend seems to be swinging to electric radiant heated driveways. The systems are easy to install, heat instantaneously and there is no maintenance or upkeep required to assure top performance. Installation options are numerous, whether you choose to heat your entire driveway, or roll out heating cable tracks to heat just where your tires hit pavement.

Warmzone’s ClearZone heating cables are built specifically for heating driveways, sidewalks and other common areas to melt snow and ice in the worst of conditions. Extremely efficient and virtually maintenance free, they have become the Warmzone customer’s method of choice for snow melting. Warmzone has a variety of products and the expertise to install or retrofit your existing driveway with a realistic electric radiant heated driveway solution that’s equally energy efficient and cost effective, so you can put down your shovel, for good!