Tag Archives: Electric snow melting systems

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.