Tag Archives: Electric snow melting systems

Electric and Hydronic Snow Melting Systems

Spring is here and now is a great time to install a radiant heated snow melting system to prepare for the winter ahead. By installing a system now, rather than during the fall rush, you may receive some added discounts.

There are two types of snow melting systems, and it helps to understand the two technologies. Both electric and hydronic systems provide clean, efficient radiant heat, but one is likely to be more ideal than another for your specific needs.

Heated paver driveway
An electric ClearZone snow melting system installed under pavers for a heated driveway.

Hydronic radiant heat works by heating specialized liquid that consists of water and propylene glycol (anti-freeze). This liquid is circulated though a closed loop of special PEX tubing installed underneath the surface. The PEX tubing is flexible, and can be installed in common applications, including concrete, pavers, and asphalt. The tubing is designed to resist chemicals and corrosion, making it extremely durable and long lasting.

The liquid is heated by a traditional water heater or boiler. Because hydronic systems can utilize natural gas, the systems can have a lower operating cost than electric, especially if you are heating a large commercial area. Like electric heated driveways, hydronic systems are triggered by an aerial or in-ground sensor that will activate the system when it detects precipitation and the set-point temperature (usually 39°F), allowing for automated clear driveways and sidewalks. When considering a hydronic snow melting system, it’s important to consider that the system requires its own dedicated mechanical room. Hydronic radiant heat systems are considerably more complex than their electric counterparts. Hydronic snow melting systems also have a much higher initial installation cost.

If you’re looking for a system for a residential area, a ClearZone electric snow melting system may be the right fit for you. Electric snow melting systems have become the most popular choice for homeowners and businesses in recent years. In fact, some contractors estimate that over 90 percent of homeowners choose an electric snow melting system for their needs.

ClearZone electric snowmelt systems heat the driveway or sidewalk with a rugged line-voltage cable that is available in individual lengths or pre-spaced in mats. Depending on the system layout, the heat cable is generally spaced 3 or 4 inches apart. The cable is connected to a power source as well as the aerial or in-ground sensor that triggers the system.

ClearZone heat cable can be installed under any medium, including asphalt, pavers, and concrete. (A special asphalt heating cable is available for installation in hot asphalt applications.) Warmzone ClearZone systems are relatively easy to install. Because of the simple design of the system, and the single-point connection cable, it can be installed quickly and easily.  ClearZone snow melting systems also have one of the fastest response times on the market, and produce 35-50 watts per square foot (depending on your system). Any sidewalk, driveway, or walkway with a ClearZone system will remain clear as soon the snow falls.

Another great advantage of an electric snow melting system is that they require no maintenance. While other radiant heat systems may have moving parts and require maintenance, a Warmzone ClearZone system has no moving parts, making it extremely reliable as well as maintenance free. Electric systems do not require a separate mechanical room like hydronic, making them a good choice for those who may not have extra room. Electric systems also have a lower initial cost than hydronic systems.

Whatever system you choose, an electric or hydronic snow melting system from Warmzone will be carefully designed to meet your specific layout and snow melting needs. Both hydronic and electric radiant heat systems are fully automated, so they only operate when needed. This adds to the efficiency of the systems. A snow melting system can also add value to your home or business and protect you and your driveway from any costly damage – while greatly enhancing safety. Using chemicals and salt can cause damage to your driveways and walkways, as well as surrounding landscapes. A snow melting system is a long term investment in safety and and convenience.

When working with Warmzone, you’ll receive top notch customer service. Every snow melting system from Warmzone is custom designed for you by a design professional, and can be configured in any way. If you would rather heat only high traffic areas, tire tracks, or certain steps or walkways, a Warmzone professional will assure that the system is designed for optimum performance and efficiency.

Free installation training is provided as well as expert technical support if you need. If you’re ready for a snow melting system, or would like assistance in making an informed decision on which system is best for your home, contact a Warmzone professional today at 888-488-9276.

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.