Installing an Electric Snow Melting System

The fully automated, electric ClearZone driveway heating systems include a contactor panel, heating element, and snow sensor / activation device. When the snow sensor detects precipitation and the temperature is below the adjustable set point (typically set at 39°F), power is then sent to the embedded heat cable to heat the surface. The snowmelt system's control box housing is usually mounted onto a wall in the garage, and the snow sensor is either installed in the surface of the driveway or discreetly at the roof's edge, where it should have a 360-degree open access to the elements.

Warmzone® snow melting experts are available to discuss your radiant heat project. Call us today at 888-488-9276 to learn more about the many heated driveway and snow melting system options that are available.

Snow Melting System Pre-Installation TipsAsphalt heated driveway being installed

Guidelines for Preparing to Install an Electric Driveway Heating System

A. Never cut or alter the heating element/cable. Heat cable is listed as an appliance and cannot be shortened to make it fit in a particular area. Excessive cable (or cable in the mat) can be consumed by decreasing the OC (on-center) spacing or by routing the cable around the perimeter, being sure to keep within the heated area. Minimum spacing is 2-inches, center-to-center.

B. Heat cables must never touch, cross or overlap or the cable will burn out in that section because of excessive heat. Minimum spacing is 2-inches (center-to-center) between the heat cables.

C. Heating cable/mats should never cross or pass through an expansion joint. Special precautions should be made if the heating cable is to be placed under a control joint. (Tooled or cut joints are not to exceed 1¼-inches in depth.) The heat cable must be at least ¾ to 1-inch from the bottom of the control joint.

D. Great care should be used when working around the heating cables or mats. Shovels, trowels, rakes and other sharp tools can damage the cable. Avoid unnecessary walking on cable.

Snow melting system installed under pavers

E. The heating cable or mat should never sit in standing water, and should be embedded as soon as possible after being laid out. The ends of the cable and cold lead should be bagged or protected from water infiltration until connected in a waterproof J-box.

F. All of the heating cable / mat must be embedded, including the splice and 6-inches of the cold lead. The splice should not be subjected to excessive strain or bending.

G. Circuit breakers should be deactivated during the spring and summer months to prevent unintended activation of the snowmelt system. All heating cables or mats should be checked for continuity and resistance prior to being embedded. Do not install heating cables or mats if the ambient temperature is below 10°F.

Please refer to your installation manual when installing a radiant heated driveway / snow melting system. The information on this page is only intended to serve as a general outline of the installation process and should not be used as a substitute for your system's installation literature.

For more details, call and speak with a friendly snow melting system expert today at 888-488-9276


Snow Melting System General Installation Tips

Heat cable for heated driveway being installed

When laying out the heat cable, begin installation as close as possible to the electrical source. The heating cable must not be cut or shortened. The splice between the cold lead and the heating cable must be completely embedded.


If the contactor panel is more than 15-feet away from heating cables/mats, plan where the junction boxes (for connecting the heating cable to the contactor panel) will be mounted. Follow local code and the NEC for conduit sizes.


The cold lead on the heat cable and mats is not rated for direct burial in earth and must be run through a conduit. (The first 6-inches of the cold lead and splice must be embedded in the heated surface.) See the illustration on our Install Heated Driveway web page.


Run a conduit from the in-ground J-box (i.e., Quazite by Hubbell or Christy Box by Christy) into the heated surface to within 6-inches of the cable/mat splice.


Rise up into the heated surface from the minimum required conduit depth for your area (Follow NEC and local codes).


Multiple cold leads may be in the same conduit, but the conduit must be sized for the circular square inches of the wire and de-rated for current, per code.


Use a separate conduit for the ground sensor (if applicable). Do not run the ground sensor in a power conduit. The cup for the sensor MUST be installed BEFORE the pour. The sensor cup must be installed between two runs of heating cable located in the area it is to control. For detailed installation instructions, refer to the documentation provided in the packaging of your ground-mount snow sensor.


Route all cold leads in a conduit from the pour to the power connection box (J-box). The entire splice and 6-inches of cold lead must be embedded. The cold lead is NOT rated for direct burial.


Pull the cold lead of the cable through conduit pipes into the junction box. Do not use excessive force to pull the cold leads, otherwise damage to the hot/cold splice may occur.


Sharp stones and debris can damage the insulation of the heating cable. Ensure that the heating area is swept clean to avoid any potential harm to the heat cable.


General Heat Cable Layout

Heated paver system being installed

Much of the automated driveway heating system can be installed by any contractor or ambitious do-it-yourself homeowner, but it is important that a certified electrician hook up power to the control unit. (In fact, for the warranty to remain valid, a qualified electrician must connect the driveway heating system.)

When laying out the heat cable, remember to never allow the cables to be too close to each other or to touch one another. (Be sure that your electrician has experience installing radiant heat systems (or training) and is willing to contact Warmzone's installation support team with any questions.) The cold leads are spliced to the radiant heat cable, which is laid out over the driveway or area to be heated. (The cold leads come pre-spliced.) Contact Warmzone technical support if you have any specific installation questions. Also refer to the layout provided, and always reference your installation manual. (Always refer to your Installation Manual for detailed instructions.)

The radiant heating cable is generally spaced at 3 or 4 inches (center to center) across the area to be heated, depending on the design of your system. For a new pour concrete application, the cable is secured to the remesh, which is supported by using Mesh-Ups, so that the cable is within 2 inches of the surface.

For best installation results, it is recommended to take advantage of Warmzone’s free installation training services. The training only takes about 30-40 minutes and can be completed through our online video course with an instructor, or courses may be taken in person at Warmzone's headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Email us or fax us (801-948-7599) a plan or sketch of your snow melting project and we will be happy to provide you with some options that are specific to your needs. Our radiant heating system designers are experts who will offer unbiased recommendations and an accurate price estimate.

Additional Snow Melting System Links

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Snow Melting System Product Literature