Winter has arrived here in Minnesota, and with it comes the painstaking task of snow shoveling, and/or snow blowing. That is, unless you have the benefit of having heated pavement and walkways. This technology allows the snow or ice to melt as it comes in contact with the area, eliminating the hassle of having to shovel, and also prevents ice buildup on those high traffic areas.
Snow melt systems can be installed in walkways, patios, sidewalks, and driveways. These systems function during snowfall, improve safety, and eliminate having to spread salt or sand, which in turn, may extend the life of your concrete, asphalt, or pavers by preventing physical winter damage caused by these elements. It also means that you won’t have to be out in the blustery weather breaking your back to try to clear these areas, and helps eliminate potential injuries involving slips and falls during treacherous conditions.
There are two types of systems available based on heat source; electric and boiler. Electric systems require less maintenance than boiler systems because there are minimal moving parts and no corrosive agents. The electric system runs a current that heats up a wire underneath the pavement. The boiler or hydronic method pumps hot fluid through tubing that is coiled beneath the surface. Both give off radiant heat to warm up the pavement surface, thus melting snow and ice.
Both systems are best installed with new construction. Electric snow melting systems can be retrofitted and installed on an existing area, where the boiler system would need to be installed in a layer of bedrock and insulated, which would require demolition. Both options will vary in cost depending on size and heating option.
Operating costs will vary by heating source used, region, and costs associated. The time it will take to melt the snow will depend on the amount of accumulation and how many BTU’s the system is designed to produce. For most residential landscape applications, snow is allowed to accumulate but will melt within a couple of hours. Commercial landscape use is designed to prevent any type of snow accumulation.
Either of these options are a great alternative to snow shoveling. No more spreading salt and sand. No more time wasted shoveling multiple times during a snowstorm, and less potential for injuries. Install a heated driveway.