With the increasing accessibility of solar power, many people are installing solar panels for their home or business. Solar can offset costs or in some circumstances eliminate the need for the grid altogether.
With the growing popularity of residential solar panels, we have seen an increase in the number of calls related to solar power and heated driveways and sidewalks. So can you power a heated driveway with solar panels on your roof? How can solar and electric radiant heat work together to create a more efficient system? Let’s take a look.
Solar Panels, Batteries and Electric Snow Melting
The challenge with solar power is the need for sunshine, something that is generally lacking during a winter storm. The solution to this is often to store power using batteries. Unfortunately, today’s batteries just don’t have the capability of sustaining the power needed for a snow melting system. Think of how quickly your car battery dies if you leave the headlights on. Electric snow melting may be efficient, but it certainly requires more power than a set of headlights.
Heating a large area like a driveway will require more power than a battery can provide. With panels and batteries ruled out it may seem that combining solar and electric radiant heat is a bust, however there is a way and it works brilliantly.
Pair Solar Panels with the Grid
The solution to using solar power for heated driveways is to not use solar to directly power heated driveways.
Allow us to explain. In many areas, homes and businesses can install solar panels and reap the benefits of solar power while feeding excess power generated back into the grid for credits. This means that during sunny times you may be earning credit that can lower costs overall.
With the power of the grid, you can easily operate heated driveway equipment. Solar comes into play as an expense cutting measure that provides savings to offset the cost of your heated driveway.
To learn more about solar power and radiant heat, contact our team at 877-877-4724 or visit the links below.
When is it Too Cold to Install Radiant Heat?
Friday, 16 September 2016 14:55
As winter approaches it is time to finish up most construction and renovation. However if you are thinking about adding radiant heat, whether for snow melting, floor warming, or roof deicing, you may have time yet.
Mother nature can limit installation of Warmquest’s products, but it’s not as bad as you might think. Read on to learn what can be installed in the cold of winter.
Heated Floors and Spaces Weather won’t halt the installation of these interior systems. Warm up your toes and enjoy the luxury of radiant heat by installing a system at any time!
Snow Melting Systems
If that first snowstorm of the season is what it takes to remind you how much you hate shoveling, then you are in luck. Snow melting systems can generally be installed in cold weather. Plan for a nice dry day and get that heat in! You would want to check with your concrete or asphalt contractor on any limitations for pouring new surfaces. Retrofit installs only need to be warm enough for the sealant to cure. Our team can advise on proper conditions for a retrofit installation.
Heated roof systems is one application you might have to wait till spring for. Pulling your roof off in the middle of winter to install ZMesh or Invizimelt may not be an option. However if Ice Dams have got you beat, our GutterMelt can be installed all winter long. GutterMelt may not provide the comprehensive solution of an under roof system, but it is very effective at controlling ice dams and providing a path off the roof for melting snow and ice.
Don’t let the cold stop you from adding radiant heat. To get project specific recommendations and guidance, call one of our experts at 877-877-4724.
Heated Driveways: Cable Spacing
Thursday, 14 July 2016 10:12
How far apart should heated driveway cables be installed? The answer is a firm “it depends”. There are many variables at play and the spacing of the cables can be adjusted to meet the requirements of the project.
We have previously discussed the benefits of free flowing cables over mat systems. One of the differences is the ability to alter the spacing of free flowing cables to create a customized solution for each project. As the spacing is adjusted, the total heat produced can be altered.
Several factors go into determining the distance between cable runs. The most important piece of information our team considers is the local climate. Regional climate data from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is used to design a system that will provide the right amount of heat to successfully melt snow and ice.
In addition to ASHRAE data, variables such as the amount of sun an area receives may be considered. A north facing driveway or a sidewalk shaded all day by large trees may require more heat than an area that receives significant sunlight.
The significance of the location may also be taken into account. The amount of heat needed to clear a residential driveway in a reasonable amount of time may not be sufficient to keep a helicopter pad snow and ice free 24/7. Our goal at Warmquest is to provide a system that is both effective but also efficient. This factors in as experts work with clients to provide a system that meets the needs of the project without wasting power on excess heat. As our team works with owners and other stakeholders, the ideal solution for the individual project takes shape.
To get more information on a snow melting system, including recommendations on spacing and system layouts, contact our team at 877-877-4724.
Heated Driveways: Joint Jumpers in Concrete
Tuesday, 28 June 2016 15:34
Tuff Cable Jumper
When you invest in a heated driveway system, you want it to stand the test of time. That’s why Warmquest provides the highest quality products on the market, with industry leading warranties, and no moving parts to wear out over time. The cables and systems we offer are durable and robust, providing heat winter after winter.
With the heating cables being embedded beneath the surface they are protected from just about any outside force allowing them to operate undisturbed. The rare exception to this is if the heated surface heaves, shifts, or cracks.
This is most commonly seen in concrete installations. Concrete contractors use crack control joints to minimize and control cracking. This allows Warmquest to plan ahead for cracks and protect the heating cables. To accomplish this we use special Joint Jumpers.
Jumper kits allow our heated driveway cables to cross through the pre-planned crack control joints with extra protection. Installers can plan ahead to minimize the number of cables crossing the joints, and then jumpers are installed to protect these critical spots.
For our Hott-Wire systems, the MI Cable Jumper Kit consists of a protective metal shroud that is easily installed over the cable providing durability and protecting the cable against the shearing forces of moving concrete.
Our Tuff Cable jumper kits are even more unique. Taking full advantage of Tuff Cable’s ability to be cut to length in the field, the Tuff Cable jumpers consist of a section of our cold lead (a heavy, durable wire that is also used to bring power to the system) surrounded in a protective sheath. The Tuff Cable is simply cut and the jumpers spliced into place where the cable crosses a crack control joint.
When you install a heated driveway or snow melting system you expect it to last. Our jumper systems provide added durability and protection and when coupled with our rigorously tested products and industry leading warranties, you can rest assured your system will do its job for years to come.
How Heavy Is Snow? [Infographic]
Thursday, 12 May 2016 15:12
Shoveling snow can be quite the work out. Have you ever stopped and wondered how much all that snow weighed? We explore this in our latest infographic, but you and your snow shovel may not like what we found.
Most of us have larger driveways than the one we used in our calculations, not to mention walks, patios, porches, steps, decks, grandma’s driveway and more. Heated driveway and snow melting technology has never been more accessible. More than a convenience, snow melting systems provide safety and access. With options for both new and existing surfaces, there is a snow melting solution for your project.