Tag Archives: Snowmelt system

Winter in Philadelphia

Given Philadelphia’s typical winter weather, the city boasts an “army” of snow removal personnel and equipment. Commuters depend on this army to keep roads clear so they can travel to and from work, but homeowners also have the responsibility to do their share of snow removal.

The City Ordinances regarding snow removal in Philadelphia read:
(1) The owner, agent and tenants of any building or premises shall clear a path of not less than 36 inches in width on all sidewalks abutting the building or premises within 6 hours after the snow has ceased to fall. The path shall be thoroughly cleared of snow and ice. Where the width of any pavement measured from the property line to the curb is less than 3 feet, the path cleared may be only 12-inches in width. When the building in question is a multifamily dwelling the owner or his agent shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this Section. 160 Amended, Bill No. 100752 (approved January 5, 2011).

(2) Snow or ice removed from sidewalks, driveways, or other areas shall not be placed or piled in the street.

(3) Any person who violates this Section shall be subject to the provisions and penalties set forth in § 10-718 and § 10-719.

Given the property owners’ responsibility for keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice, Philadelphia residents have been busy these past few winters. The recent record-setting winters have made it difficult for city snow plow drivers as well as homeowners to keep up with the demands of snow removal.

Snowstorm in downtown Philadelphia
A snowstorm descends on downtown Philadelphia.

During the blizzard of 2016, Philadelphia residents experienced the fourth largest snowstorm in the city’s history, receiving 22.4 inches of snow during a massive two-and-a-half-day storm. In fact, several parts of the country experienced record setting storms and snowfall for the winter of 2015-2016. And weather experts expect more of the same for the next several upcoming winters.

But Philadelphia residents have options when it comes to preparing for the next snow season. In addition to having some extra supplies and keeping the cupboards and refrigerator well stocked, some Pennsylvania residents are dumping the snow blower and shovels in favor of radiant heat.

Fully Automated Snow Melting Systems
Warmzone snow melting systems are energy efficient and maintenance free. Not only do these systems eliminate the need for manual snow removal, but they have proven valuable to businesses by keeping entrances and parking areas clear of snow and ice for customers. Providing a safe environment not only enhances business, but reduces the chances of costly litigation as a result of personal injury.

In addition to the silent, maintenance-free operation of radiant heat, electric snow melting systems are fully automated, so they operate only when needed. The system includes an advanced snow sensor that detects temperature and precipitation. When the temperature is below a set point – typically 39° Fahrenheit – it sends power to the embedded heat cable, warming the area and preventing snow accumulation.

As an industry leader, Warmzone snow melting systems feature trusted ClearZone heat cable that is available off the spool or pre-spaced in mats that can be rolled out for easy installation. The electric radiant heating mats are laid out and secured, and then the medium (concrete, pavers, or asphalt) is applied directly over the cable.

The proven ClearZone electric snowmelt system is commonly installed in both commercial and residential applications. From large heated driveways and parking areas to custom sized walkways, ramps and loading docks, ClearZone systems are versatile and can be easily customized.

Warmzone snow melting systems include the heating cable, an activation device (snow sensor), contactor panel, and marker plate (as required by the NEC). These fully automated systems require no maintenance, and are relatively easy to install. In fact, much of the installation can be done by any ambitious homeowner, but wiring the system must be completed by a licensed electrician in order to keep the warranty valid.

In addition to providing the highest quality radiant heating products, Warmzone also offers unmatched customer services. Each system is professionally designed, so you’ll know the exact layout and proper materials, load calculations, breaker sizes, number of breakers, and system performance expectations before one foot of heat cable is installed.

Warmzone also includes free installation support services. A dedicated staff of experts is on hand during your installation if you need. Should your installer have any questions while installing the system, he/she can speak with one of our installation experts to resolve any issues. Free installation training is also available. When it comes to customer service, you’ll find that Warmzone is second to none.

Contact Warmzone today and learn more about the radiant heating options that are available. In addition to offering heated driveways and snow melting systems, Warmzone also offers premier roof deicing and floor heating systems. Call 888.488.9276 to learn more.

Consider the Unwanted Things, Like Snow

With a Heated Driveway, Unwanted Things Never have to be an Issue

Sure, there are plenty of things in life that are considered unwanted, such as warts, lima beans, mortgage payments, mosquitoes, and snow just to name a few. Snow definitely has some appeal to winter sport enthusiasts and Olympic skiers, but when it comes to accumulating snow on our driveways and walkways it quickly turns into an unwanted thing, joining the ranks of ingrown toenails and flea-infested dogs. It doesn’t have to be that way.

With a radiant heated driveway, snow is almost a non-issue for you. Going forward, if your home has a radiant heated driveway you will never dread winter again. You might even look forward to it after you’ve enjoyed the seasons leading up to it. Having a radiant heated driveway allows you to consider the possibility of enjoying a winter, a winter filled with buckets and buckets of fluffy white snow.

Heated driveways are not just for the rich and famous either. You can enjoy a heated driveway with minimal cash output if you do your homework, research the right snowmelt system for your driveway, and rely on professionals who know what they are doing. One of your best resources could be a Warmzone home heating expert who has the product knowledge and expertise to guide you through the initial unknown learning curve of installing a radiant heated driveway. Consider the possibilities.

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.

Carwash Owners ― Protect Yourself and Your Business by Installing a Radiant Heat Snow and Ice Melting System

Protecting your car wash against the liability of slips and falls is becoming an increasing concern for business owners with car washes in cold climates. If you are in an area that receives heavy precipitation, keeping up with snow and ice removal means constant maintenance. Even the overspray from a car wash can create dangerous walking areas in and around each bay.

The easiest and most effective means of removing snow and ice is not the use of chemicals and salt, (which oftentimes customers are visiting your carwash to remove), but by installing a radiant heat snow melting system beneath the surface of the concrete drives and walkways. It is wise to heat 3-4 feet on the entrance and discharge aprons, as well as customer walkways and areas. If you are looking to invest in a car wash in a cold climate, or have already done so, you are probably already aware that your wash should not go without an embedded radiant heating system.

The demand for safe car washes has become a serious topic due to preventable accidents and expensive settlements in recent years. Automatic snow melting systems are great investments for self-serve car washes, not only for safety, but by increasing your customers’ satisfaction. You will be able to sleep easy knowing that at any hour of the day dangerous snow and ice will be removed, making your employees and customers as safe as possible.

Most automated snowmelt systems operate with the use of a sensor, which automatically activates when snow fall and precipitation are detected and approximate temperatures are below 39 degrees Fahrenheit, melting the snow before it ever has a chance to build up. Because the system is automatic, maintenance to remove snow and ice is completely eliminated anywhere the system has been installed.

The quickest installation of this type of system should be done before the concrete has been laid, but there is also a means of installing the snow melt heating cables into existing concrete by using concrete saw-cut technology. Eliminating the use of chemicals, salts, snow removal devices and ice on the concrete, will increase the concrete’s longevity and keep your carwash looking new for much longer.

Good insurance is a necessity for any business owner and an important step in getting legally protected. Good insurance comes at a high cost, and decreasing your chances of liability will decrease your cost. When comparing the cost savings for insurance and the decreased chances of an expensive lawsuit, there is no question that installing a radiant snow melting system is a must. If you are faced with the unfortunate circumstance of a lawsuit, any preventive action on your part will be a huge help in building your case.

Increase the Value of Your Home With a Heated Driveway

Installing a heated driveway when you build or re-pour a driveway is a great way to increase the value of your home, and make it more sellable.  Even if you don’t want to activate the heated driveway, installing the components when you pour can still add value and allow a future owner to finish the project with minimal expense.  Start by installing the bare necessities. A popular option we have with our driveway heating systems is to “rough-in” the basic components for the heated driveway. Roughing-in a snow melting system consists of installing only the materials needed at the time of pouring a new concrete driveway.

Installing heating cable in mats for heated driveway and sidewalk

Components Needed for Rough-in:

1) Driveway Rough-in Kit – The “rough-in” kit contains a backplate, cold lead, and splices. The backplate is installed between studs on a wall and the control unit for the driveway heating system is mounted to the backplate. The cold lead is a non-hot wire that is used to run power from the control unit to the low-voltage heating cable. Splices are used to connect the cold lead to the cable.

2) Driveway Heating Element – A heat resistant cable is the electric heating element used for all driveway snow melting applications. The cable is secured to the remesh, spaced at 6 inches and raised with the remesh (using MeshUps, dobies or chairs) to be within 2 inches of the surface. The concrete is then poured over the cable.

Preparing a Driveway Heating System
The materials for your “heat ready driveway” can be purchased for only a couple of dollars – or less – per square foot. You can then purchase the remainder of your snowmelt system at a later time. Even if you never activate your heated driveway, “roughing-in” a driveway heating system will increase the resale value of your home.

Project Spotlight – Runaway Truck Ramp in Connecticut

Two of the biggest reasons for installing a snowmelt system are safety and maintenance free snow removal. Safety was also the biggest concern for a dangerous stretch of road in Connecticut that has already claimed four lives. In an effort to prevent more accidents, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) set out to build a runaway truck ramp. CDOT chose Warmzone’s ClearZone snowmelt system to optimize the ramp’s safety.

Using saw-cut technology for installing radiant heat

The truck ramp is located in a mountainous metropolitan area of Connecticut, which created a unique problem. Because of limited space, the ramp could only be 480 feet long and required three metal nets to slow vehicle speed in the event of brake failure. The ramp walls are two feet thick and five feet high and reinforced from within with steel to stop a car from breaking through the ramp.

The nets coupled with the thick high walls made traditional methods of snow removal virtually impossible. There was no place to put plowed snow, and the metal safety nets had to be removed each time snow removal was required. The safety of the ramp was severely compromised when snow or ice gathered, making removal critical. A snow melting system was the best option to keep the ramp safe and functioning properly all year-round.

Grooves cut for heat cable  Retrofitting a runaway truck ramp with radiant heat

    Views of grooves cut for radiant heat cable to be installed.

Projects of this scale usually require more installation expertise than that of a small snowmelt system, which is why Warmzone’s technical specialist, Dan Mignogna, traveled to Connecticut to assist with the installation. With over 32 years of experience as an electrician and an expert in radiant heating, Mignogna worked closely with the CDOT team to determine the proper system installation and wiring of the automatic snow sensors.

The easiest method for installing a snowmelt system is beneath new asphalt, pavers or concrete. For this project, the ClearZone cables needed to be installed into existing asphalt using concrete saw-cutting technology. The cables were embedded 3 inches into the asphalt and covered using sealant. Each row of CZ cable was spaced 6 inches apart. The entire project required 12,960 feet of ClearZone snow melting cable.

The CDOT runaway truck ramp is scheduled for completion in early September of 2008. Click on the link for more information about ClearZone snowmelt systems.