Aerial Mount Snow Sensor for Automated Snow Melting Systems

Radiant heated driveway systems are being installed in residential and commercial properties at increasing rates as home and business owners discover the benefits and affordability of automated snowmelt systems. Energy-efficient, maintenance free, and remarkably effective, radiant heated driveway systems and snowmelt solutions offered by Warmzone® are nearing performance perfection. This is due, in part, to the advanced snow sensors used to trigger these systems.

Call Warmzone today at 888-488-9276 to learn more about radiant heated driveway controllers and the many custom options that are available at Warmzone.

Heated paver walkway and steps

The WS-2C and WS-5C Activation Devices

The WS-2C aerial-mount snow sensor is the industry's most recommended activation device for residential automated snow melting systems. Designed for automatic control of driveway, sidewalk, and other pavement snow melting applications, the advanced controller provides a balance between price, sophistication, and control capabilities and capacities. Housed in a sturdy NEMA 3R enclosure rated for outdoor use, the unit features a front panel that can easily removed to gain full access to the sensor electronics. This unique design allows easy configuring and adjusting of the unit for the most efficient operation. All internal electronic components are specified for -40°C to +85°C operation. The line-voltage units are ETL UL Standard 508/CSA C22.2 No. 14 Listed. The unit can accept and control any input supply from 100VAC to 277VAC.

The WS-5C features the same quality and advanced technology as the WS-2C, but is designed to handle larger heating loads (and multiple zones). The WS-5C regulates cable operation in driveways, sidewalks, ramps, and more as a standalone controller or as a sensor for larger heating systems.

The WS-2C and WS-5C control units operate by detecting environmental conditions through a base-mounted temperature sensor and a heated precipitation sensor. When rain or snow lands on the precipitation sensor, the traces are bridged and a closure is detected. The heater then rapidly evaporates the moisture to clear the sensor. The sensor for the WS-2C and WS-5C simply screws into the top of the controller enclosure.

Call 888-488-9276 today to learn more about your snow melting system control options.

About the Sensor

Snow melting system installed - heated tire tracks in asphalt driveway The circular, interleaved grid on the top of the control unit is the precipitation ("moisture") sensor. The small brass cylinder protruding from the left bottom of the enclosure is the temperature sensor. To ensure optimum performance for detecting snow, the unit must be mounted in a location where the moisture sensor is exposed to a clear, 360-degree view of the sky. DO NOT mount the unit directly under eaves or so close to the ground that it can be buried in snow. For proper temperature detection, the outdoor sensor must be mounted away from furnace and dryer vents, and any other source of heat. (When powered, the sensor's moisture grid always remains warm. This is normal, and allows the sensor to continuously melt snow and evaporate precipitation from the grid.

WS-2C and WS-5C aerial-mount controllers also provide an optional remote CONTROL/MONITOR interface. The WS-AUX Remote Control/Status Panel is directly connected to the sensor in order to provide both remote control and monitoring of the sensor operation. Both units also feature a built-in switch to perform these same control functions directly from the sensor. (In-ground / pavement-mount snow sensors are also available from Warmzone.)

Recent enhancements of these activation devices include: Universal Power Supply, a Redesigned Case, and Sensitivity Control. The universal power supply allows the sensor to auto select the input voltage. The unit's redesigned case prevents over tightening of the front panel screws. The sensitivity control allows you to fine tune (program) the sensor, optimizing it for specific conditions. Also, by adjusting the moisture control sensitivity you can reduce false trips. These are just some of the premium quality features of these industry-leading control devices.

Additional Snow Sensor Features

Sample of aerial-mount snow sensor and J-box for an automated heated driveway

Easy to Install - The aerial-mount snow sensor is compact, sturdy, and easy to install. The unit is mounted by attaching the 3/4-inch mounting hub at the bottom of the enclosure to a rigid metal 3/4-inch by 10-inch (approximately) conduit nipple to a weatherproof two-gang metal junction box with 3/4-inch hubs (at least 1 hub in and 1 hub out). The sensor also features four mounting tabs, so if you choose, you can mount the snow sensor to a post. (Make sure the post is elevated above the highest level of expected snow fall.)

Terminate your wiring to the pre-installed pigtails on the WS-2C in a metal weatherproof two-gang junction box. The WS-2C is housed in a PVC enclosure with dimensions of 4¾ x 7 x 2¾-inches. The WS-2C weighs just 2 pounds, so the snow sensor can be easily secured and supported.

While all of the operational switches and set points have been pre-set at Warmzone, the user may access all electronics by unscrewing the four Phillips head screws and removing the front cover.

Automatic Activation - Warmzone's aerial-mount snow sensor system is designed to detect temperature and precipitation. When moisture is present and the temperature reaches the preset temperature (usually set at 39°F.), it signals the master controller, activating the radiant heated driveway / snow melting system. The driveway heating system automatically shuts off afterwards, resulting in energy-efficiency and low operating costs.

Adjustable Temperature Set Point - You can adjust the set temperature in which the snow melting sensor activates the system. This is known as the trigger temperature (TT). Using the TEMP ADJUST control, you can set the temperature anywhere from 34°F to 44°F. When ambient air temperature is below this trigger point and the sensor detects precipitation, the moisture detected is assumed to be snow or freezing rain. When the temperature is above the trigger point, precipitation is assumed to be rain.

Upgradeable Remote Activation - You can monitor and control your ClearZone snow melting system from inside your home. The remote control panel is installed in a conventional single or multi-gang standard electrical enclosure and can be installed anywhere in your home. The remote can be installed as much as 500 feet away from the snow sensor if proper cable is used. The snowmelt control panel provides basic DEICE ON status for the de-icing system, along with MANUAL ON, AUTOMATIC, and STANDBY control capabilities.

Snow melting system installed for a heated concrete driveway

Adjustable Delay Off Cycle - The DELAY OFF function refers to the sensor's drying cycle timer. The timer allows the snowmelt system to dry the heated surface through evaporation after the precipitation has stopped. This reduces the chance of melted snow/ice from refreezing into dangerous "black ice" by completely drying the surface. The timer restarts each time the sensor detects precipitation, so the snow sensor will continue to operate as long as precipitation is detected and then for the Delay Off period after the precipitation has stopped. A minimum 2-minute closure to reduce cycling of an external controller or feed blower is provided in all the "sensor" modes. When in "Controller" mode, the Delay Off time can be adjusted from 30 to 90 minutes by using the DELAY ADJUST control.

Full 30A @ 240VAC Control - The peak power consumption of Warmzone's aerial snow sensor is 15 watts, and it can be powered from a 100-120 VAC or 200-240 VAC 50/60Hz source. The universal power supply allows the sensor to auto select the input voltage. The sensor provides a single 240 VAC @ 30A normally open load contact set. This contact set is paralleled with a low power contact set to provide remote activation monitoring. The operational temperature range is -40°F to 185°F (-40°C to 85°C).

Selectable Low Temperature Cutoff - The snow sensor features a LOW TTEMPERATURE CUTOFF (LTC) option, which prevents the sensor from triggering if precipitation is detected below a certain temperature. However, if the radiant heating system has been activated while precipitation continues and the ambient temperature drops below the set temperature, the LTC will be ignored. This way, any water that is left behind on the surface during the heating cycle is prevented from refreezing into ice as a result of deactivating the de-icing system.

Warmzone has a growing network of contractors across the country with experience installing radiant floor heating systems as well as snow melting systems and roof de-icing solutions. This way, we may be able to recommend an experienced installer in your area. We are ready and willing to work with you, so take the first step and contact Warmzone today. Email us, or call us toll free at 888-488-9276 for more information.