Category Archives: Snow Melting

Retrofit Snow Melting: What to Expect

Heating an existing driveway or sidewalk is possible via a retrofit installation. While we have written a fair amount about this option elsewhere, this is intended to provide a basic overview of the retrofit installation process and what to expect.

Prepare for Controls and Panels

Determine where your controls will be installed. If you are heating a driveway we recommend somewhere near the front of your garage to minimize the distance to the heated area. Once this is determined you will need to have an electrical contractor bring power from your distribution panel to the control unit or relay panel. Power will also need to be provided for any sensors, timers, or other activation devices.

Design and Mark Layout

Once you have determined the area of the driveway you would like to heat, you can begin planning the layout of the heating cables. Keep in mind the cables are installed in loops and both ends should come back to your control unit or relay panel. We recommend using a chalk line to mark the cable layout on the surface to be heated. The spacing between runs of cable will be determined by the product you choose and the heat density you wish to provide. This information can be found on the bid you receive from our experts. When finished, be sure to measure your layout and verify the lengths match the cables you are planning to install.

Saw Cuts

With the layout marked with the chalk line you are read to cut the grooves for the heating cable. If you are using Hott-Wire, the cuts will be ⅜” wide and 1 ½” deep. If you are installing Tuff Cable, the grooves will be ¼” wide and 1” deep. You should also make saw cuts for the cold leads to return to your control unit or relay panel. To avoid damaging the cables, a hammer drill should be used to knock out the corners of your grooves. Cutting concrete and asphalt makes a big mess. You will want to power wash the area, taking care to remove debris from the grooves and surrounding area. The area should then be allowed to dry completely before installing the cables.

Installing the Cables

The Hott-Wire or Tuff Cable can now be installed in the grooves. The cable is installed along the bottom of the grooves in the pattern you previously designed. Once the cables are in place, a foam backer rod is installed over the cable and then the saw cuts are filled with the appropriate sealant for your project.

Finishing Touches

With the cable installed, an electrician can make the final connections to the control unit or relay panel. Activation devices will need to be installed and connected to the system. Throughout the installation remember to follow the testing procedures outlined in the installation manual. This ensures the cable is properly functioning and not damaged during installation. The results of these tests should be recorded in the manual that came with your system.

Heated Driveway Options: Solution Focused Design

Considering adding a snow melting system to your home or business? At Warmquest we specialize in assisting customers with tailor-made heated driveway solutions. Part of this is thinking outside of the box. Heated driveways come in all shapes and sizes. What works for one home or business may not work for another. Warmquest can help you look at your goals and usage, and design a heating system perfect for your project. When installing a snow melting system the first thing to remember is you do not have to heat the whole area. Many times heating the entire area will be the goal and this is fine, but often entire areas go unused during the winter. Many project owners make the choice to add snow melting with a specific goal in mind. This could be providing access up and down a steep incline, ensuring safe access to foot traffic at a home or business, or clearing parking areas for visitors. Warmquest can help stakeholders identify the goals of a project and design a system to meet them most effectively and efficiently.

A pair of heated tire tracks was sufficient to provide access to this home up the steep driveway.


This homeowner needed traction up a steep slope and access to multiple car port stalls.

Heated Driveway Path

Access was provided on this large driveway by installing heat on a 8′ wide path which widens at the top.

For this home, pedestrian access to the front door was the chief concern.


Similarly, this homeowner wanted year round access to their hot tub. Note that the entire sidewalk and patio are not heated. Just the path.


This homeowner heated only the more commonly used section of their driveway. They paired this with a heated front walk and steps to provide themselves and their guests with easy access to the home.

Heated Gate Access

This Automated Gate requires a clear area in order to operate correctly. With the addition of a snow melting system, ice and snow no longer build up and block access.

Businesses too can benefit from a carefully planned snow melting system. Many offices heat critical access areas. Commercial buildings can benefit from heated loading docks, ADA ramps and other areas. This project wanted to provide employees access to the building from their vehicles. Paths were heated between parking stalls leading to a heated path to the entrance.


The important thing to remember with any snow melting system is that it can be as unique as your home or business. Each project has different goals and requirements and Warmquest specializes in these tailor made solutions. One size fits all may sound convenient, but customized solutions will be more effective and efficient in the long run.

DIY Driveway Heating

Installing a new driveway? Now is the perfect time to install a snow melting system. Warmquest provides a range of systems for driveway heating, with DIY friendly solutions. Let’s take a look at what is involved in a Do It Yourself heated driveway. As always, any DIY project should be sure to follow all local codes, ordinances, and laws.

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Snow Melting Solutions: Good, Better, Best

When discussing the various solutions for snow melting, heated driveways, and sidewalks our experts often use the terms “Good, Better, or Best” to describe the options. With Tuff Cable, Hott-Wire, and SnowMeltz each having their own strengths, join us for a look at what makes them good, better, or best.

Good – SnowMeltz

Our line of preconfigured SnowMeltz mats offer a DIY friendly solution to heated driveways and sidewalks. These mats are designed to heat specific sized areas and roll out for a simple installation. They offer a 10 year warranty. 

Due to the cut and turn installation of SnowMeltz mats, they can be utilized in a variety of applications. Jumpers are provided for protecting the mats when they cross crack control joints in new pour concrete. The mats are especially convenient for installing beneath pavers or asphalt where planning for and working around concrete joints is not necessary.

Better – Hott-Wire

Mineral Insulated Hott-Wire provides a robust, free flowing heating cable with the ability to generate high heat outputs for effective performance in any climate. Hott-Wire comes in a variety of preconfigured lengths, varying the spacing allows for cables to be customized to heat various areas at desired heating outputs. Custom cables can be manufactured to meet projects needs. Hott-Wire includes a 10 year warranty.

As a free flowing cable, Hott-Wire offers additional flexibility in installations, allowing for heating tricky areas or working around concrete joints. This allows for Hott-Wire to be more customized than mat systems. Additionally, the free flowing cable can be installed in a retrofit application via sawcuts made in existing surfaces.

Hott-Wire can be installed in a variety of surfaces. It’s unique construction makes it well suited to installation in new pour asphalt, where it handles the heat well and requires less accommodations.

Best – Tuff Cable

Tuff Cable is a unique low voltage heating system used in a variety of applications. Tuff Cable’s greatest strength is it’s versatility, allowing for unique, customized solutions to even the trickiest of snow melting challenges. The low voltage heating element demonstrates great longevity and has a 25 year warranty, in addition it is easily repaired if the worst happens.

Tuff Cable uses a unique jumper system to protect the cable when it crosses concrete joints. Different from the jumpers used in Hott-Wire and SnowMeltz installations, the Tuff Cable jumpers are splice into the cable, meaning the heating element never crosses a joint.

Low voltage Tuff Cable is cut to length in the field, making it very installer friendly. There is no need to worry about coming up short on a presized cable or trying to find room for extra heating mat.

Like Hott-Wire, Tuff Cable can be retrofit into existing surfaces. This allows for heating existing areas without demolition.

To learn more about how Hott-Wire and Tuff Cable compare, check out this detailed article.

Portable Snow Melting Mats: A Versatile Solution for Unique Projects

Sometimes embedding heating elements into a surface just isn’t an option. The construction of a deck or stairs may limit the use of permanent embedded solutions. Or a temporary need may not require an invasive solution. For these cases, we recommend our RadiantTrak heated walkway and stair mats.

RadiantTrak products are available in a number of size configurations and are designed for installation on stairs or walkways. They are commonly used on wood or composite decks, where open air layouts do not allow for any embedded cables. Platforms and ramps can also be heated with these roll out mats to keep access areas clear during the winter.

Each mat is designed to plug into a 120V or 240V outlet for activation. Automating RadiantTrak products can be accomplished with a simple plug in temperature sensor. The mats can be anchored to the surface via grommets in each corner.

These portable mats offer home and business owners a flexible option for controlling snow and ice in areas that may not be suitable for a traditional heating cable installation. To see an example of these mats installed and in action, visit our sample projects section.

For more information on RadiantTrak or our other snow melting solutions, contact our specialists at 877-877-4724.

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