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Automated Heated Driveways and Snow Melting Systems

Waking up following a heavy winter storm and having to shovel the walks and driveway can present a daunting early morning task. But with an automated radiant heated snow melting system, you'll wake up to find your driveway and/or sidewalks completely clear of snow and ice. Radiant heat certainly can get your day off to a much better start. These heated driveway systems are fully automated, so you don't have to worry about anything except setting the coffee timer.

Controller for radiant snow melting systems. Residential and commercial property owners are installing radiant heated driveways and snow melting systems at increasing rates as the affordability and advantages of automated electric snowmelt systems become more well known. Automated snow melting systems from Warmzone are energy-efficient, maintenance free and remarkably effective.

The technology of radiant heat (used for heated driveways, floors, and roof deicing) dates back to 5000 B.C. China, and was also commonly used by the ancient Romans. Of course, radiant heating methods have improved dramatically since then, but the principle of efficient radiant heat remains the same. Today, radiant snow melting systems are nearing performance perfection.

Modern radiant heat systems utilize one of two methods to heat driveways, floors and roofs: electric or hydronic. Both radiant heat technologies require heating elements to be embedded under the surface of the area to be heated. ClearZone electric driveway heating systems utilize durable heating cable, while hydronic snow melting systems utilize a network of flexible PEX tubing. Both heated driveway systems utilize either an aerial or pavement mounted sensor that automatically activates the system when precipitation is detected and temperatures are below a set point (usually 39° Fahrenheit).

Hydronic Radiant Heating Systems

Hydronic systems require a "mechanical room" that houses a boiler (water heater), pumps and manifold. A mixture of water and propylene glycol (anti-freeze) is heated and then pumped through the PEX tubing. The tubing is designed to resist corrosion and does not become soft at high operating temperatures or brittle at low outdoor temperatures. (Learn more about how hydronic radiant heating systems work.)

In-ground and aerial-mount snow sensor for heated driveway.
Pavement Mount   and   Aerial Mount
Automated snow melting systems utilize a sophisticated snow sensor that activates the system when weather conditions warrant.

Electric Radiant Heating Systems

Electric radiant heat systems are maintenance free, operate silently, and feature rapid response times to efficiently heat surfaces quicker than hydronic heating systems. Hydronic snowmelt systems are usually a little more expensive to purchase and install; however, the operational costs can sometimes be lower, depending on the local fuel rates.

Since both radiant heat systems have specific features and benefits, it is important for you to talk with a radiant heating expert to learn which system is best for you (888.488.9276). In recent years, electric radiant heating systems have gained popularity because of their price, efficient operation and ease of installation. While hydronic heating systems may boast a lower operating cost, the uncertain future of non-renewable fossil fuels and local rates are issues that should be addressed prior to making any purchase.

Installing a Heated Driveway is a Smart Investment.

Installing a radiant heated driveway / snow melting system can benefit homeowners and businesses in many ways. Snowmelt systems eliminate the need for manual snow removal and the use of salt and harsh snow melting chemicals that cause environmental damage to the bordering landscape. The systems also enhance safety by keeping areas free of snow and ice 24/7. (For businesses, this is a particularly attractive feature.) Installing a radiant heated driveway / snow melting system also adds value to your property. The radiant snowmelt system not only raises the value of your home, but also increases the lifespan of your driveway's concrete because there's no need for plows, shoveling or corrosive snowmelt chemicals.

Where, When and How do You Install a Radiant Heating System?
Radiant heated driveway (under pavers). Warmzone heated driveway systems are highly customizable and can be installed in almost any configuration and medium, including concrete, asphalt, under pavers, etc. The most popular time to install a radiant heated driveway system is during the new construction phase. However, existing driveways and walkways can also be retrofitted with radiant heat systems. Grooves are cut into concrete or asphalt, using concrete saw-cut technology. Radiant heating cable is then placed in the grooves and sealed into the cement (or asphalt) using an epoxy topcoat. Weather permitting, there are no limitations as to when a snowmelt system can be installed

NOTE: While installing electric radiant heating cable in your driveway is surprisingly simple, it is important that all the electrical connections to the master control unit be performed by a qualified electrician.

Control Units and Sensors for Heated Driveway Snowmelt Systems
Electric snow melting systems utilize three components: the heat cable, contactor panel, and the snow sensor / activation device. The radiant heat systems that utilize an in-ground snow sensor feature a compact master control unit, which is typically mounted on a wall in the garage. The advanced controllers offered by Warmzone are only 6-inches by 3.5-inches and feature an easy-to-use interface. Warmzone activation devices also include a manual timer in case you choose to pre-heat an area before a large storm to curb snow and ice accumulation, or melt snow or ice afterwards that has occurred as a result of wind (snow drift) or shade, etc.

The automatic activation devices (sensors) include aerial-mounted or pavement-mounted snow switches. These sensors detect temperatures and precipitation, activating the system only when needed. When moisture is present and the temperature is below the set point (39°F.), the sensor signals the master controller, which then sends power to the heating element. Both aerial and pavement mount sensors feature adjustable set points.

What to Look for When Buying and Installing a Radiant Heated Driveway System
Radiant heat system components and driveway heating systems are available from several vendors; however, it is important to consult with and buy from an established leader that provides COMPLETE radiant heat systems and services. In addition to providing you with the best valued solution, your provider should also design the system (complete with a detailed layout) so that you know all the specs and power requirements prior to any installation taking place. The top radiant heat system providers will also offer expert technical support before and during the installation process.

Because Warmzone works with the top radiant heat manufacturers, we are able to offer a wide selection of products without bias towards any one system. This, coupled with unmatched customer service, is why building professionals consider Warmzone as a trusted partner, and a leading consumer and contractor advocate. The experienced professionals at Warmzone will identify the benefits and challenges to your project and recommend the system that is best suited for the job. A detailed CAD drawing is provided with each custom radiant heating system that is engineered for you. Check out some of Warmzone's residential and commercial snowmelt projects.

Warmzone has a growing network of experienced contractors across the country who are ready and willing to help, wherever possible. Contact us, or call us toll free at 888.488.WARM (9276).