Are you tired of shoveling snow and applying salt to your driveway during cold winter months? If so, a heated driveway may be just the solution for you! Not only does a snow-melting system reduce hazardous liability from slips and falls on ice-coated walkways, but it also provides a far more pleasant experience for family members and visitors alike.
Here we’ll discuss the various types of heated driveways available along with their advantages and disadvantages so that homeowners can make an informed decision when selecting which type is right for them. Read on to learn more about it!
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What is a heated driveway?
A heated driveway – also called a snow-melting system – is a driveway that has been designed and installed to provide homeowners with ample warmth during freezing winter months. Typically heated driveways are composed of a type of electric matting connected to a thermostat that can be programmed to trigger the heating system when temperatures dip below your desired setpoint.
Since these mats are often powered by electricity, they don’t require an outside element such as wind or sun to keep them warm (with the exception of solar-heated systems). In addition to providing superior comfort during cold seasons, a heated driveway can also decrease snow removal burdens as the snow and ice melt away before it has the opportunity to accumulate on the surface.
However, before investing in this exciting home improvement project, make sure you consider your budget and whether this will be an investment worth making.
Types of heated driveways
Now that we’ve covered what a heated or snowmelt driveway is, let’s take a look at some of the different types.
An electric-heated snowmelt driveway uses electricity to generate heat, which is then transferred to the driveway surface. This type of system is typically more expensive to install than other types of heated driveways, but it is also the most efficient. Electrically heated driveways are typically controlled by a thermostat, which can be set to turn on and off at specific temperatures.
A gas-powered snow-melting system uses either natural gas or propane to generate heat, which is then transferred to the driveway surface. Gas-heated driveways are typically less expensive to install than electric systems, but they are also less efficient. Gas-heated driveways are typically controlled by a thermostat, which can be set to turn on and off at specific temperatures.
A solar-heated driveway uses solar panels to capture energy from the sun, which is then used to generate heat. Driveways heated by solar power are typically more expensive to install than other types of heated driveways, but they are also the most environmentally friendly option.
Solar-powered snowmelt systems are typically controlled by a timer, which can be set to turn on and off at specific times of the day.
4. Hydronic snow-melting system
A hydronic heated driveway uses hot water that first heated and then is circulated through a network of pipes beneath the driveway surface. The heat from the pipes melts any snow or ice in contact with them and prevents the formation of dangerous slippery conditions.
Hydronic systems are typically more expensive to install than other types of heated driveways, but they are also the most efficient. These heated driveway systems can be controlled by a thermostat or a timer, depending on the specific system, and which may be set on or off at specific times of the day or night.
Which heated driveway system should I choose?
If you’re looking for an efficient and effective way to keep snow and ice away, then a heated driveway is ideal. Before making your choice, it is important to consider your climate, budget and surface construction. For example, in areas with frequent snowfall, electrically heated driveways are recommended as they can maintain a constant temperature in harsh conditions.
Additionally, the type of surface material used typically dictates the heating system that should be used, so understanding the available options is essential before making a decision.
Cost is also an important factor when you’re choosing which system to install; for instance, electric systems are more costly to run than hydronic systems, but the initial installation cost may be less. You should expect around $10-$25 dollars per square foot for installation.
However, this does not include the labor and maintenance costs. Most home improvement projects require maintenance after they are installed, so it’s important to factor in ongoing maintenance costs over the lifespan of your heated driveway.
If you’re considering a heated driveway, reach out to a local professional in your area for help making the best decision for your home. With their experience and expertise, they can help ensure you get the best installation possible that will withstand the elements and last for years to come.