Tag Archives: Electric heated driveways

The Coolest Driveways are Heated Driveways

New homeowners and construction professionals in cold-climate regions have discovered that radiant heated driveways can’t be beat. It’s easy to understand why as you drive through any new neighborhood in the winter and spot the sleek heated concrete, asphalt or paver heated driveways, completely free of snow and ice.

But just what are the primary benefits of radiant heat? Well, if you’re one of those who is considering taking the leap to radiant heat, then consider these ten benefits of radiant snow melting systems.

Heated driveway with brick pavers

1. Radiant heated driveways are fully automated. When temperatures are below a certain set point and the snow sensor detect precipitation, the system will be activated. This state-of-the art automated radiant heating system only turns on when needed and shuts off afterwards, keeping your bill affordable.

2. Electric heated driveway systems require no maintenance. This means you can sip your hot cocoa from your window and taunt the schmuck next door who is losing the battle of the blizzard one shovelful at a time.

3. Heated driveways can be easily customized. Got a funky driveway design? No problem. Radiant heated driveways can be designed and installed in any unique driveway, sidewalk, or outdoor application.

4. Everyone loves a heated driveway, and you know what that means? Installing a heated driveway system just bumped up your property value from “meh” to “SOLD!”

5. A radiant heated driveway is an easy, no-frills way for you to go green. Driveway heating systems use renewable energy, which is a big thumbs up from Mother Nature. Additionally, heated driveways eliminate the need for that nasty salt that can wreak havoc on neighboring plants.

6. Durability is a heated driveway’s middle name. The radiant heat cables used are designed to withstand winter’s best attempts to destroy your driveway. Plus, Warmzone snow melting systems come with a 10-year warranty that covers up to twice the cost of the original installation. Yes, heated driveways are built to last, which means you do nothing but sit back and relax with snow-free peace of mind for a lifetime.

7. Electric heated driveway systems are relatively easy to install. With a little help from us and some ambition, you can have your heated driveway up and running in no time.

8. Radiant heated driveways can be installed under virtually any surface, including asphalt, concrete, tile, brick pavers―you name it. Having a snow-free driveway doesn’t mean sacrificing on aesthetics. You can have whatever surface you want just how you want it―delightfully snow- and ice-free.

9. Warmzone radiant snow melting systems feature rapid response times. An electric radiant heated driveway heats up to 30 percent faster than other snowmelt systems, meaning you get better performance fast. What’s more, it produces only 35-50 watts per square foot, getting you more snowmelt for your money.

10. Heated driveway systems enhance safety for you and your family. Consider slipping and falling on snow and ice a fiasco of the past. Even better―you’ll never have to deal with strained backs and blistered hands again. In fact, maybe you can give it to the neighbor. He’ll need it.

Whether it’s springtime, summer or fall, plan ahead and install a heated driveway system today to ensure a winter of peace and satisfaction. Once that first snowfall rolls around, you’ll be happy to finally say that your radiant heated driveway is cooler than your neighbor’s snow-laden driveway.

How Snow Melting Systems Work

Premier Snow Melting Cable

As the most durable, versatile and long-lasting radiant heat cable on the market, ClearZone heat cable is the most trusted radiant snowmelt solution available. Combined with Warmzone’s advanced master control unit, the snow melting cable can be installed in virtually any snowmelt application and can even withstand the heat and compression of newly poured asphalt.

Industry Leading Warranty
Warmzone offers the premier heat cable that carries the industry’s most comprehensive warranty. Unlike other heat cable warranties, the cable that Warmzone carries not only provides a 10-year warranty for the cable, but also the labor costs associated with replacing any defective cable. Simply put, Warmzone snow melting cable is unparalleled in all aspects of performance, reliability, longevity and manufacturer support.

Snow Melting System Control Unit
Electric heated driveway systems utilize a small wall-mounted control unit to power the snow melting system. The master controllers include line and load terminal blocks and operating contactors.

Controller for an automated snow melting system

The snowmelt system controller features a built-in, easy-to-use programmable timer and digital operator interface with manual override capability. The unit is compact, durable and efficient, further complementing the overall performance of the ClearZone snowmelt system.

Using readings from temperature and moisture sensors, the controller ensures economical control of power consumption when keeping outdoor areas free of ice and snow. A moisture sensor is installed in the surface of the driveway. As soon as moisture is detected, the controller activates the snow melting system. Once the sensor has dried out, the thermostat immediately switches off the heating system.

Radiant Snowmelt System Activation Device
Warmzone radiant snowmelt systems come standard with an aerial-mounted snow sensor. This highly sophisticated, yet durable device automatically activates the driveway snowmelt system when certain conditions are met, and has several notable features, including: adjustable temperature trigger point, adjustable delay off cycle, upgrade-able remote activation, and it is smart-system compatible.

Pavement-mounted snow sensors are also available, but are more commonly used in commercial applications. These devices allow the radiant snow melting system to be 100 percent automated, activating only when it snows. Manual mode allows you to activate the system in case the wind blows snow on the driveway or ice forms due to wind or shade.

Heated Driveways and Snow Melting Systems (Part I)

Whether you’ve been living comfortably in your house for years or you are building a new home, installing a radiant heated driveway is a viable option for you. Certainly it is more practical to install a radiant snow melting system during the initial construction phase of a driveway, but unknown to some homeowners is that both asphalt and concrete driveways can be retrofitted with electric radiant heat systems.

Hydronic Snow Melting Systems

There are two types of driveway heating systems available today: hydronic systems and electric systems. Hydronic snow melting systems utilize a mixture of water and propylene glycol (anti-freeze) that circulates through a closed-loop network of flexible polymer (Pex) tubing that is installed in the concrete or asphalt. The liquid is heated by a water heater/boiler and then circulated through the Pex tubing by a pump to heat the driveway and melt snow. The condensing boiler (water heater) can be powered by any energy source, including natural gas, electricity, oil, wood, or even solar collectors. Because of this, hydronic snowmelt systems can offer a slightly lower operating cost than electric systems, especially for large snow melting applications.

Warmzone hydronic systems feature highly efficient condensing boilers with an Energy Star Rating as well as industry leading pumps, valves and tubing. Unfortunately, when it comes to retrofitting a driveway with hydronic radiant heat, the only way to accomplish this is to tear out the old driveway and install a new one.

Electric Heated Driveways

Electric radiant snow melting systems are easier and cheaper to install than their hydronic counterpart. Both existing concrete and asphalt driveways can be retrofitted with electric radiant heat.

Heated sidewalks being installed

Electric snow melting systems utilize specially engineered ClearZone heat cable that is available on spools or pre-spaced in mats that can be easily rolled out during installation in concrete, asphalt or under brick and stone paver driveways and sidewalks. The ClearZone cable is UL listed and consists of a twin conductor with FEP/XLPE insulation and polyolefin jacketing that provides flexibility and excellent UV protection. The heat cable is rated at 220°F and has a minimum 10-year warranty. Designed to produce 30-50 watts per square foot, ClearZone radiant heat cable has the quickest response time (time to heat the driveway upon system startup) of any snow melting system on the market. Because electric snowmelt systems do not rely on heating water heater before pumping the liquid through PEX tubing, the response time is considerably less than that of hydronic systems.

Fully Automated Snow Melting Systems

The fully automated driveway heating system features heat cable, a control unit (controller), and a high-performance snow sensor (activation device). One of two types of sensors (aerial or pavement mount) can be installed, depending on the project. Aerial mount sensors are typically used for residential heated driveways while pavement mount snow sensors are more commonly used in large commercial snow melting applications.

When the snow sensor detects precipitation and temperatures are below a designated set point (usually set at 39 F), the sensor signals the master control unit, initiating startup of the snow melting system. While the driveway snow melting system is fully automated, it can also be activated manually. The controller includes a manual override function for times when snowdrifts or ice forms because of wind or shaded areas. Another especially attractive feature of electric heated driveways is that the systems do not feature any moving parts, so they are virtually maintenance free and extremely reliable.

 Read Heated Driveways and Snow Melting Systems Part II

Radiant Snow Melting and the Benefits of a Green Winter

Make Life Greener and Cleaner with Radiant Heat

Snow is on its way, and if your resolution for the New Year is to live a greener life, radiant snow melting systems are a great place to start. Electric snow melting is simply kinder to the environment. Clean, silent and compatible with renewable energy sources, electric snow melting doesn’t require harsh snow melting chemicals or additional snow removal equipment, saving your driveway, lawn and surrounding landscaping and your budget.

Radiant snow melting systems use an automatic sensor that automatically activates driveway heat when precipitation is detected and temperatures are below 39 degrees Fahrenheit. System response times are fast, so chances are good that your driveway will be clear long before your boots ever see pavement. There’s no back-breaking shoveling, waiting for a snow removal service, or supplemental snow melting chemicals required.

Unlike electric snow melting systems, snow removal chemicals have a negative impact on your lawn and surrounding landscape. Direct contact from salt spray from roadways, or from salt-laden snow that has been blown or shoveled over them can create yellow, dead patches of grass on your lawn, and cause bud death as well as twig dieback. And salt buildup in the adjacent soil formed by the repeated yearly applications of ice melting chemicals can damage plant roots, rendering them incapable of taking up water.

A high concentration of calcium chlorides can permanently damage your driveway. Heavy application of these products is most often the biggest culprit, which shortens the lifespan of concrete surfaces. In addition to the damage caused by harsh chemicals, chain marks, scratches or gouges often result from the snow removal equipment used by well-meaning commercial snow removal companies. Unlike radiant snow melting systems, there’s also a potential for damage to landscaping that comes with hiring a snow removal service.

Perhaps at this point you’re wondering just how much green a radiant snow melting system is going to cost you. Once you get past the initial cost of installation, operating a radiant heated driveway will literally cost you pennies on the dollar. Once you decide on your heating requirements, Warmzone is there to design a system to suit your needs, whether you’re outfitting a new concrete pour or an existing driveway. Warmzone has the experts and the expertise necessary to come up with an electric heated snow melting solution for your driveway that’s within your budget, without cutting corners on performance. Just think of all of the money you’ll save on lawn repair and snow removal services.

Unlike other snow removal options, outside of that slight tick upward in your electric bill, there’s no snow blower to fill with gas, snow removal service to pay, or snow melting chemicals required. An electric snow melting system is self-contained and virtually maintenance free. Just set it and forget it. The snow will be gone before you even have a chance to warm up that morning cup of joe. And if your goal is to live off the grid to the fullest extent possible, it’s a good idea to include Warmzone radiant snow melting systems in your plans. They’re fully compatible with renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

Find out more about Warmzone radiant snow melting systems and their impact on a greener lifestyle by calling 888.488.9276.

Read Warmzone’s Green Energy Statement.

Reviewing Electric and Hydronic Radiant Snow Melting Systems – Part I

What are the Best Options for Keeping Your Driveway Clear of Snow and Ice?

Every year it comes, and every year we fight it. I’m talking about snow . . . lots and lots of snow. Sure, it’s pretty and helps to put us in a festive, holiday mood, but the truth is that snow can drain our wallets, sap our strength and even impose on our sleep or leisure time.

Most folks who live in cold climates have become somewhat accustomed to getting up a little earlier or staying up a little later in order to shovel snow from their driveways or clear their roofs and gutters. Usually the shoveling of snow is followed by the disbursement of salt or other snow melting chemicals. Some homeowners – and businesses especially – opt to pay someone else to manually remove the snow. But is manual snow removal really the best way to rid our sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice? There is, in fact, another option – radiant heat.

Radiant heat snow melting systems are fully automated, so once they are installed, there’s no need to worry about snow removal ever again. Electric snow melting systems consist of three components: The heat cable, a snow sensor (activation device), and controller. (Hydronic systems also include a boiler and pump.)

Heated driveway in concrete

The heat cable features a thick wire that is surrounded by layers of insulation, copper grounding braid and a protective outer layer of PVC or polyolefin to form a flexible cable about ⅛ to ¼ inch in diameter. Cable is available on spools as well as in mats. These mats have the heat cable that is pre-spaced and attached to a mesh backing, and can be customized (cut) to suit virtually any type of layout, including driveways, ramps, common walkways and sidewalks, etc.

The activation device for the snow melting system activation device can be either an aerial-mounted or pavement-mounted snow sensor. These sensors activate the system when there is moisture present and the temperature is below approximately 38 degrees. Most systems also include a manual timer to preheat an area before a large storm to curb snow and ice accumulation or to eliminate snow drifts.

When the snow sensor detects the right conditions, it signals the control unit which then sends power through the heat cable. The system warms the surface quickly so that the first snowflakes melt immediately as they land on your heated driveway.

Electric and Hydronic Radiant Snow Melting Systems

What are the Pros and Cons of each Method of Radiant Heating?

First of all, it is important to clarify that one method of radiant heat cannot claim universal superiority over the other. Both types of radiant heat are popular. That being said, each system does possess distinct attributes and advantages.

Electric Radiant Snow Melting Systems

Electric snowmelt systems utilize rugged heat cable that distributes heat evenly across the surface of the driveway or sidewalk. The heating cable is durable enough that it can be installed in new concrete pours, under pavers and even in harsh, high-temperature new asphalt construction projects. It is secured to the remesh and generally spaced at 6 inches while being embedded within about 2 inches of the surface.

The Top Advantages of Electric Radiant Snow Melting Systems

Ease of Installation – Electric radiant heat systems are fairly easy to install. (Handy do-it-yourselfers can do most of the installation. It is important, however, for a qualified electrician to install the wiring.)

Energy Efficient – Electric radiant systems boast a rapid response time, heating the area quickly and efficiently (99% of all energy goes to snow melting, so there is virtually no wasted energy).

Lower Installation Costs – Because electric systems can be installed quickly and easily, the installation costs are minimal.

Maintenance Free – Electric radiant heat systems do not use any moving mechanical parts, so the system is virtually maintenance free.

No Mechanical Room is Required – Electric systems consist of three main components: the heat cable, a snow sensor (activation device), and the controller. So, unlike hydronic systems that utilize a boiler and pump, there is no need for a mechanical room.

SUMMARY: For small to medium sized snow melting applications, electric radiant heat is generally the best choice.

Continued: Read Part II

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

Heated Liquid or Electric Current (Of Water and Wires: Comparing the Systems)

If you’ve finally put down the shovel and decided to purchase a heated driveway system, will you be going hydronic or electric? If you’re newcomer to the concept of driveway heating, hydronic and electric are both popular, and extremely viable forms of driveway heat, and Warmzone has the expertise, and experience, to help determine which is best for you. What these systems share in common—four key components you should be familiar with before purchasing a heated driveway system:

  • Heating Element (Embedded in the driveway)
  • Snow Sensor
  • Power Controller Unit (Powers the heating elements)
  • Power Supply (Circuit breaker panel)

Of the components mentioned above, the heating element and the controller distinguish hydronic heated driveway systems from electric heated driveway systems.

Hydronic Heated Driveway Systems: Going with the Flow

The heating element for a hydronic system, as you may have guessed, involves water. Specifically, hydronic heated driveways use what is known as closed-loop tubing to heat the surface of the driveway. The tubing is generally made of a flexible (and quite durable) polymer 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 for snow melting.

A water heater or a boiler is the chief source of heat 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 water between the heat source and tubing.

Installing heating mats for electric heated driveway


Electric Heated Driveway Systems: Riding the Current

Unlike hydronic systems, electric heated driveway systems use hot wires to heat paved surfaces. These wires are surrounded by layers of insulation, copper grounding braid and a protective outer layer of PVC or polyolefin to form a flexible cable about ⅛ to ¼ inch in diameter. What’s great about the heat cable is the flexibility of the application. Cable is available on spools as well as pre-woven into mats, and can be customized (cut) to suit virtually any type of layout, including driveways, ramps, common walkways and sidewalks.

After being triggered by the snow sensor, the control unit then powers the heat cable to warm the driveway. To reduce the power demands (and operating costs), you can install cables in just the tire tracks of a driveway rather than the entire area. Warmzone offers several options and provides complete system design services to ensure that you receive the best system layout and products for your project.

Continued (Part II)

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!

Automated Radiant Heat Snow Removal; What More Could Grandma Want?

Several of the people in my area are over the age of 75 and live alone. Being in an area that receives heavy snow fall, I can’t help but wonder how they can manage snow removal. More often than not, the elderly are at the mercy of their family or neighbors’ hospitality. Many elderly feel as though they are burdens to others, and some even hire professionals to remove snow. Senior citizens especially would benefit immensely from an automatic heated driveway or walkway snow melting system.

Considering that 50 percent of people over the age of 75 will either die or be forced to enter institutional care because of injuries sustained from falls, any kinds of safety precautions are extremely important. Walkways that are frequently used, such as entryways and paths to trash cans, are the highest priority for snow melting. An electric snowmelt system would automatically remove snow and ice and ensure safety, as well as help the elderly to avoid the feeling of burdening friends and family.

The cost of healthcare continues to rise at unprecedented rates, bringing “prevention” to the forefront of personal care. Most businesses are installing heated walkways in areas where safety is the highest priority, such as disability ramps and steep walkways that receive heavy traffic. The cost of installing and running a snow melting system is much lower than the cost of medical bills or lawsuits resulting from someone slipping on a business premises.

Heated driveways and electric snow melting systems are environmentally friendly, unlike using salt and chemicals, which causes calcium chloride to damage nearby foliage and run into rivers and water supplies. The cost to operate a snow melting system is much less than the cost to use salt and chemicals after each snowfall or hire maintenance crews to remove snow.

Several snowmelt options are available. Radiant snowmelt systems can be installed to heat entire driveways and sidewalks, or radiant heating cable can be installed in specific areas such as a pair of 2-foot wide tire tracks on a driveway or heating the middle 3 feet of a sidewalk for more economical reasons. The heated driveway systems available on www.heatdrive.com offer automated operation which includes a sophisticated activation device that turns on the snow melting system when it senses precipitation and temperatures are below 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow sensors like these are necessary for the most energy-efficient snowmelt systems and prevent needless energy consumption.

Electric snow melting systems have come a long way since they were first introduced. A heated driveway was originally considered a luxury that only the rich could afford, but current radiant heat systems cost less per square foot, are easily installed and consume less energy. Snowmelt systems are available in electric or hydronic, but typically the electric systems are easier to install and require less maintenance. For more information on electric radiant heat and hydronic snowmelt systems, browse the Warmzone website or call a radiant heat expert at 888.488.WARM (9276).


About Warmzone
Warmzone provides consumers with energy-efficient, radiant heating solutions for homes and businesses. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Warmzone’s electricians and radiant heat experts will help you determine the best radiant heating solution, ranging from heated floors to large commercial snow and ice melt projects. Send us a plan or drawings and we’ll be happy to provide you with a FREE estimate and options for your roof heating and ice melting project.