Category Archives: Snow Melting

Steep Driveway Solutions

heated tire tracks on steep drivewaySteep driveways can mean big problems once snow and ice hits the ground. Preventing slide offs is critical to safety and enjoying the home all year. Today we are taking a look at the options for managing steep driveways when winter arrives.

The simplest solution to avoid sliding off a steep, icy driveway is not to drive on it. Many homeowners park at the bottom of the slope during storms throughout the winter. While this prevents a slide off, the hike to and from the vehicle comes with risk of slip and fall accidents. There are also the risks associated with leaving the vehicle on the street in winter weather.

heated steep asphalt drivewayWhen you know a storm is coming, salt or snow melting chemicals can be spread on the driveway to keep things clear. The effectiveness of this approach varies, and severe storms will overwhelm them. In a previous post we discuss the various environmental risks associated with snow melt chemicals and salts.

Another option, often paired with snow melting chemicals is spreading sand or kitty litter in the particularly dangerous sections of the driveway. These can provide the extra traction needed to get up and down safely, but require planning ahead and can become less effective in severe weather events.

steep driveway with radiant heatThe one sure way to keep ice and snow from impeding access to your home is to remove it. You could do this yourself, but what happens if you aren’t home during the storm? The best solution for steep driveways all winter long is a snow melting system.

Heated driveway technology is becoming more accessible and affordable. With a variety of options from heating your entire surface to a set of heated tire tracks, there is a snow melting system for your project. Systems are designed by experienced professionals who use regional climate data to provide a system that is both highly effective and efficient.

How Much Does a Heated Driveway Cost?

retrofit-tire-tracksHow much does a heated driveway cost? The Warmquest team believes in options and customization, so there is no single answer to this question. This article aims to review several of the factors involved in determining the amount.

Customization vs One Size Fits All
Let’s start by looking at the various options for electric driveway heat. Roll out mats, with heating cable entwined in a woven mesh are a common option. The downside to these mats is they are designed as a one size fits all system. Climates and applications demand varying amounts of heat. Customization and free flowing cables allow you to provide the heat needed without wasteful excess. Many mats are designed to provide significantly more heat than a typical snow melting solution requires. The heat needed to keep your driveway clear is most likely less than the heat required to clear a hospital’s helicopter pad. In a similar matter, the heat needed to clear a driveway at 2,000 feet in the Great Plains will be less than the heat required to clear a sidewalk at 11,000 feet in the Rockies.

With Warmquest’s tailormade approach, a heating system can be designed for the most economical solution for any individual project. Our experts use regional climate and geographic data to determine the amount of heat needed and design a system that gives the user maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Installation Expenses
Installation costs vary from project to project. One expense is the removal and new pour of the existing surface. An alternative to demolition is a retrofit installation. Saw cuts are made and cable installed and sealed into existing asphalt or concrete. This allows for the benefits of a heated surface without the effort and expense of removing the existing surface.

With technology advancing at an ever faster rate, there are a number of ways to activate and control your heated driveway. Costs will fluctuate depending on the option chosen. Options run from manual switches to automated temperature and moisture sensors.

You can heat a variety of surfaces and the cost of installing will vary from material to material. Warmquest can give you specific details and recommendations for the most effective installation method for your individual project.

One last installation expense to consider is the amount of power available. For some large systems, additional breakers may need to be installed.

Size of Project
It should be apparent that larger projects tend to cost more. Something to consider though is the reduced cost per square foot as the control units approach their upper limit of heating element. As the maximum amount of heating cable is installed per control unit, cost is maximized. The Warmquest team guides customers through selecting the most efficient and cost effective approach for the project under consideration.

If cost or power become limiting factors our team has a variety of options. Some customers are able to provide the access they need with heated tire tracks, walkways, or paths for vehicles. There are a variety of solutions available and Warmquest is happy to help you find the best option.

Snow melting systems are becoming more common and accessible. Contact the Warmquest team at 877-877-4724 to get information and pricing.

Solar Power and Heated Driveways

heated-stamped-concreteWith 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?

cold weather installAs 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.

Roof Deicing
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

heated-driveway-cablesHow 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.

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