Tag Archives: Driveway heating

Retrofitting Your Driveway with Radiant Heat (Part I)

It’s Not Too Late to Heat Your Driveway

Are you considering a radiant snow melting system for your driveway or sidewalks? Perhaps you’ve seen some heated driveways in action and wondered how nice it would be to never have to worry about shoveling snow again.

What some folks don’t know is that existing driveways can be retrofitted with radiant heat. That’s right! Snow melting systems are not just for installation in new construction jobs; you can upgrade your existing driveway so that you too can enjoy the benefits of a radiant heated driveway.

Of course, a great deal depends on the type of driveway that you currently have. Asphalt driveways are the easiest to retrofit with radiant heat, but fear not, concrete driveways can also be modified to incorporate a state-of-the-art radiant snow melting system.

How is it Done?
The ClearZone snow melting system features rugged heat cable that is designed to withstand the extreme temperatures of hot asphalt applications. So if you are looking to heat your asphalt driveway, the process may be easier than you imagined. The cable is laid on top of the old asphalt and then the new layer of asphalt in installed and compacted on top.

The ClearZone heat cable is available on spools or pre-spaced in mats that can be easily rolled out during installation. Simply roll out the heat cable like a sleeping bag over the existing driveway and then apply the new layer of asphalt directly on top. (While you can do much of the cable installation yourself, it is important that a qualified electrician connect the wiring for the snowmelt system.)

The ClearZone heating cable is UL listed and features single point connection with FEP/XLPE insulation, polyolefin jacketing design (for flexibility and UV protection), allowing the radiant heat system to consistently provide top performance during harsh winter conditions. The ClearZone cable is rated at 220°F and is designed and built to outperform all competing products.

In addition to the heat cable, the driveway heating system also consists of an activation device (snow sensor) and controller. When the snow sensor detects precipitation and the temperature is below a set point (usually set at 39 degrees Fahrenheit), it triggers the controller which then activates the system. It is fully automated, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. The controller also features a manual timer to melt snow in case of snow drifts or ice forming in shady areas.

The process of retrofitting a concrete driveway is considerably different than that of asphalt retrofit applications. By using concrete saw-cut technology, grooves are cut in the existing concrete, and the heat cable is then placed in the grooves and then sealed, using an epoxy topcoat. (This process can also be used for asphalt driveways.) If desired, a sand broadcast can be applied to the surface before the epoxy cures for additional traction and safety.

Continued (Read Part II)

Retrofitting Your Driveway with Radiant Heat (Part II)

It’s Not Too Late to Heat Your Driveway (Part II)

Read Part I

The methods outlined in Part I are the least intrusive for retrofitting your driveway with radiant heat. However, there are those particularly ambitious consumers who opt to remove portions – or even all – of their existing driveway. Obviously, the ideal situation is to install a snow melting system during the original construction, but if you have a driveway on a steep hill or have extreme snow melting needs, removing portions of existing concrete to install a radiant heat system is still a worthwhile venture.

Heated driveway on incline with heated tire tracks

As shown in the photos, the old concrete is removed and then new rebar is installed in anticipation of the new concrete. The ClearZone heat cable is secured to the rebar and the concrete is then poured. Much of the cable can be installed by handy “do-it-yourself” types, but all the electrical work should be completed by a qualified electrician. (An important thing to remember is that a heated driveway / radiant snow melting system is only as good as the installation. The cable must be properly spaced and wired in order to accomplish the desired results.)

The Many Benefits of an Electric Snow Melting System
Radiant heat snow melting systems eliminate the need for manual snow removal –such as plowing – that can damage the driveway. Furthermore, there is no need to use salt and other abrasive snow melting chemicals that are harmful to grass and nearby vegetation.

Grass damaged by snow melting salt

The ClearZone electric radiant snowmelt system features an unparalleled, rapid response time when compared to other radiant heating systems. The fully automated systems are energy efficient and maintenance free.

So kick back on those cold mornings and enjoy a cup of coffee instead of shoveling snow from your driveway before you head to work. Installing a snowmelt system is a great investment that adds value to your home and is a great way to save your back from the aches and pains of shoveling heavy snow. It’s also a nice way to ensure safety for your loved ones and guests by eliminating slick ice from your walks and/or driveway.

A Heated Driveway is a Wise Investment

Make Every Dollar Count with Radiant Heated Driveways

You might be like many of us and are afraid to even say the word recession. If we say it then we’ll have to admit it’s really here and our spending choices have to be even more prudent. Economic downturns such as the one we find ourselves elbow deep in, dictate wiser, well-researched and more cost-effective purchases. The weak dollar and tighter credit allowances no longer allow the penny-pinching consumer the luxury of frivolous spending sprees. Each purchase needs to count and provide an investment for the future.

A cost-effective investment and smart way to add value to your home is by installing a heated driveway (radiant snow melting system). Once installed, an affordable radiant heated driveway provides low operation costs in the long run, helping you lower your bottom line on home expenses. A heated driveway with an area of 300 square feet operates for under 50-cents per continuous hour of operation. Snow melting generally only takes a few hours to clear your driveway when a storm hits.

Driveway heating is an investment that has demonstrated and visible results. Not only does it allow you some free time with your family – not to mention saving your back from shoveling duties – but it is a proven way to protect the life of grass and surrounding vegetation by eliminating the use of salt and harsh snow melting chemicals. It also extends the life of your driveway by defending it from chemicals and other traditional abrasive snow removal methods.

Radiant heated driveways are fully automated so you can stay inside where it’s warm and count the dollars you are saving as you watch the snow fall. An automatic snow sensor signals the snowmelt system’s controller when precipitation is detected and temperatures are below 39° Fahrenheit. The controller then sends power to the embedded heat cable, rapidly warming the driveway and keeping it clear of snow and ice. The system shuts off automatically after the storm. Electric radiant snow melting systems have an extremely fast response time, operate silently, and are maintenance free – and there are several options to choose from when considering a radiant snow melting system. There’s really no better, or easier way to keep your driveway clear of snow and ice during the winter than with a radiant heated snow melting system.

So, instead of shoveling for hours after a Nor’easter or powerful lake effect storm, you can spend time relaxing inside with your family. The peace of mind that comes with making a smart purchase is invaluable right now. We are all looking for ways to ride out this (shhh, whisper) recession and worrisome economic climate, but you can still enjoy some of the finer things in life, and invest in wise products.

Reviewing Electric and Hydronic Radiant Snow Melting Systems – Part II

Hydronic Radiant Heat

Continued from Part I

Hydronic heating was the first form of radiant heat, used by ancient Chinese civilizations and further developed by the Romans. Today’s hydronic floor heating systems feature PEX radiant tubing that is usually installed in concrete. For interior applications, the tubing is sometimes installed in a concrete mass called Gypsum Concrete or “Gypcrete,” or, more commonly in the grooves of the advanced Rau Panel system. The pre-cut wood panel method is known as a low-mass or modular board underlayment system, and is ideal for remodeling as well as most new construction projects.

Hydronic floor heating system being installed
Hydronic heated floor with Pex tubing inserted into Rau Panels.

The heating element for a hydronic system involves flexible tubing and specially treated water. Hydronic heated driveways use a closed-loop tubing system to heat the surface of the driveway. The tubing is generally made of a durable polymer (PEX tubing) or synthetic rubber to circulate a mixture of hot water and propylene glycol (antifreeze). The fluid is warmed to temperatures between 140 to 180 degrees F to deliver enough heat throughout the snow melting system.

The 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 of electric radiant heating systems.

A water heater (boiler) is the heat source for a hydronic heated system, which can be powered by any energy source that satisfies the btu requirements, including natural gas, electricity, oil, wood, or even solar collectors. A circulating pump and supply and return manifolds, installed in an easily accessible location, transfer the liquid between the heat source and tubing.

Flexible Power Source Options (Low Operating Costs) – Because the boiler of a hydronic radiant heat snow melting system can utilize natural gas, oil, wood, or other cheap fuel, the operating cost for large hydronic systems can be lower than that of an equally sized electric radiant heat snow melting system.

Snow melting mats laid out to heat asphalt driveway
Retrofitting an asphalt driveway with radiant heat. Snow melting cable is placed on the original surface and new asphalt is then applied over the heat cable.

Electric heated driveway systems are generally more efficient than hydronic systems. Electric cables heat up instantaneously, whereas the liquid within hydronic tubing takes a while longer to 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 in mats that can be rolled out for simple installation. The mats feature cable that is pre-spaced, attached to a durable fiberglass mesh backing. They 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 costly.

With both radiant snow melting systems, you have great flexibility in terms of the installation configuration (even more so with electric systems). Instead of heating an entire driveway, you may want to install heat cables to only melt snow in the tire tracks of the driveway. The heat cable for radiant snowmelt systems can be customized to heat just about any type of odd shaped area, large or small.

Radiant Heat Offers Flexibility in Terms of Options

If you are considering installing a heated driveway, there are three general driveway heating solutions that are typically recommended:

  1. Install radiant heating cable under the entire driveway pavement.
  2. Install only an 8-10 foot wide strip of heating cable up the middle of your driveway or main traffic area.
  3. Install two 24-inch wide tracks of radiant heat cable up the middle of your driveway.
Heated tire tracks in driveway
Electric heated driveway with heated tire tracks in concrete.

Electric radiant heat systems usually cost less to install, and are much easier to install in small spaces. The installation of a hydronic system is much more labor intensive and costs more for materials. However, for larger systems, you will probably save more money on the heating bill compared to electric warm flooring.

Make sure you work with experienced professionals who also provide system engineering and design services, included detailed CAD drawings. Warmzone is one of the best radiant heat providers that you could hope to find. They will work closely with you to ensure that the radiant snow melting system you install is the absolute best system for your specific needs.

Read Part I of this article

Radiant Heat Has Arrived in Earnest

Electric Radiant Heating Comes in Many Flavors

Although radiant heat has been around for many years now, new technology has paved the way for it to arrive in earnest. There’s no cleaner form of heating than radiant heat. A wire grid (heat cable) installed in the floor provides a totally clean and quiet heat that radiates upward to all those lucky enough to be in the room. There is no blower cycling on and off or the noise that goes with it. And no dust or allergens are blown around either. What there is is clean, silent, comfortable heat. Time marches on. Just as cars today are equipped with more than just an AM radio with big dials, heating systems have advanced to a point where this form of clean, quiet and efficient heat is making a move to become the standard.

Another large advantage of radiant heating is that it is easily zone able. Each room or “zone” can be controlled separately, so if you have rooms that are not used regularly you can turn the heat off or down in those rooms, adding greatly to the efficiency of these systems. This is not something at which a forced air system excels. Radiant floor heating systems typically have thermostats in every room.

ComfortTile floor heating mat, cable and thermostat
ComfortTile floor heating cable in mat and on spools, shown with thermostat.

One of the great things about radiant heating is that technology has provided for its use in many different facets. Did you know that there are radiant roof heating systems that will melt the snow and ice off the roof and gutters? In addition there are driveway snow melting systems that will quietly and efficiently melt the snow and ice off your driveway. Modern technology isn’t just for iPods and iPads. These systems utilize the same type of technology, using low-voltage or line-voltage electric current that runs through heating cable and provides the desired result. These systems are also automated and programmable, and can do their duties when you aren’t even home. There are so many conveniences available to us today at which our parents and grandparents would marvel. Radiant heating is making inroads and it is easy to see why. People are discovering the comfort and efficiency of radiant heating and are adopting it with open arms.

Radiant heating systems can also be installed over existing floors as well. Just because the almost dream home you bought doesn’t have the heating system that would make it the dream home, don’t despair. Heating cable can be installed over the existing floor and a new surface poured over that, thus transforming your almost dream home in to your real dream home. RetroHeat radiant heat systems can also be installed in the floor joists under an existing floor.

With winter knocking on our doors, it’s the season for a snow melting system. Anyone with a snow melting system installed has experienced the joy of driving in to a driveway that has no snow on it when there is snow all around. One might have to try to suppress a smile when your neighbor’s are all snow bound. If you live in an area where snow is a regular concern you can appreciate the convenience of a snow melting system. Perhaps the ultimate dream is that you arrive home from work during a major snow storm and pull into your driveway where all the snow has melted away when it is piling up everywhere else. You park and walk on a sidewalk heated with a snowmelt system, you don’t worry about the ice cycles on the roof above because there aren’t any thanks to a roof snow melting system. You then walk in to the house and take your shoes off and instantly feel the comfort of a warm radiant heated floor. Life is good.

Now is the Time to Buy

Energy Efficient, Environmentally Friendly Radiant Snow Melting Systems

If you’re one of those unfortunate souls who has to manually remove snow from the driveway and walks every winter, you may want to reconsider your methods. The passing of new snow removal laws (as in Massachusetts) don’t make it any easier on homeowners, who are now mandated to provide snow and ice-free walkways for pedestrians. If the sidewalks are not cleared, property owners are not only susceptible to personal injury lawsuits, but they also face the possibility of fines, levied by the local government. Removing snow from your driveway and sidewalks is no longer an option – it’s the law!

Grass damaged from salt applied to melt snow during winter

Many consumers stock up on salt and other snow melting chemicals to ease the physical burden of shoveling the snow, but the amount of time, money and adverse environmental effects of these chemicals can be evident year round.  While effective in melting snow, salt and chemicals are not so friendly to the surrounding landscape. When spring hits, the bordering grass and shrubs often reveal the ugly scars from the repeated salt and chemical use during the winter.

So if you’re serious about going green (in more ways than one), consider this: Radiant heat snow melting systems

Operate on clean, renewable energy (hydronic or electric)
Are safe and environmentally friendly
Are fully automated so that they efficiently operate only when needed
Operate discreetly and silently

Of course, one of the most significant “selling points” of radiant snow melting systems is that it eliminates the time consuming, physical demands of the homeowner.

The best time to purchase and install a snow melting system is during the early spring. You are much more likely to discover discounted prices, because the demand typically wanes when the weather begins to warm. Springtime is a time when homeowners are more interested in outdoor grills and barbeques than snow melting systems. Of course, once the summer has run its course and Old Man Winter is peeking around the corner, consumers tend to scramble to install a snow melting system before the first storm hits.

While snow melting systems have become more affordable, installing a system should still be done with careful consideration. Do some research and deal with experts who will openly talk to you about the various products available. Don’t be fooled into thinking that some provider has the ready-made system that is perfect for your needs. You need unbiased professionals. Talk to the experienced radiant heat staff at Warmzone and learn the “how’s, what’s and why’s” before you make any decisions.

Warmzone is a trusted, leading provider of radiant heat systems, for good reason. We’ve been around a long time, and we offer a wide variety of proven systems from only the most reputable manufacturers. We’re not “locked in” to selling one brand or “one size fits all” system.

In fact, Warmzone provides customized solutions for all of its customers, and works within your budget. We engineer, design and review every aspect of your project so that your system meets your needs, while keeping within your budget.

If you are serious about the environment and looking for a “green” solution for snow melting, look no further than Warmzone. Call 888.488.9276 today or email.

Pipe Tracing for Your Business

Keep Your Business Running Safely with Pipe Trace Cables
Owning and operating a business is serious business indeed. Your top priority besides making tons of dough is to keep things running smoothly and safely for all involved. If you own a large building or warehouse you are extra conscientious about keeping things moving at full steam ahead. Frozen pipes during the brutal winter months is a legitimate concern, one that savvy business owners are aware of. Commercial, municipal, and industrial buildings all need pipe tracing to protect pipes during dips in temperatures.

Heat trace cable installed on pipe of industrial facility.

Pipe freeze prevention is one of the first necessary investments you must make when your property is up and running. Pipes should be equipped with electric heat trace freeze protection for optimal temperature maintenance. In the long run, having pipe freeze protection will save you from costly repair and sometimes irreversible damage to inventory, equipment, and property.

Pipe freeze protection systems can be used with both metal and plastic water piping. In the coldest months where pipe freezing is a real danger, the self-regulating heat cable adjusts heat output in response to ambient temperatures. The power output increases or decreases in response to ambient temperature changes. This even occurs at each point along the length of the pipe trace cable effectively adjusting the power output in varying degrees along the length of the pipe. The design and intent of the self-regulating systems ensures safe and efficient operation. Operating your business safely is a whole lot easier with pipe trace cables.

Warmzone stands proudly by the quality of our products and services. Our radiant heat products are tested and proven to be among the best in the industry. Call Warmzone today. Your initial consultation and project estimate is absolutely free.

For more information on pipe tracing, radiant heated drivewaysradiant floor heating, or roof deicing and gutter trace systems, browse our web site or call 888.488.9276 today.