Electric Driveway Heat Systems Vs Hydronic Driveway Heat Systems

A Complete Guide To Heating Systems For Your Driveway

Driveway Heating Solutions

If you live in an area where it snows for more than three to four months every year, then you’d probably be well aware of the challenges that it can bring with it. One of the most important ones, is having to shovel off the snow from the driveway on a daily basis.

If you are like most homeowners, then you probably hate shovelling as much as we do. And you most probably pay some kid to shovel at the crack of dawn or hire a professional plough service.

With a driveway heating system, you no longer need to. It allows you to navigate the early morning snow without having to pick up the shovel or even step out of your home. A heated driveway melts the snow and the ice on its own as soon as it hits the surface.

Sounds convenient? It is. A heated driveway or stairway comes with many perks and most homeowners looking to remodel their home are considering it as a must-have.

The Advantages Of Having A Heated Driveway

  • Completely Automated: The most obvious advantage is that it’s a completely automated solution. You’d never have to even step out of your home to remove the snow or ice. Most snow melting heating systems come with an automated thermostat that senses the temperature and precipitation and activates the system.
  • No Chemicals: You no longer have to buy expensive chemicals to melt the snow. Some of these chemicals are abrasive in nature and can damage the masonry. So can salt, for that matter.
  • Low Operational Cost: The operational costs of a radiant heating system is lesser as compared to the cost of hiring a professional snow removal service. If you consider that the system is almost maintenance free and comes with 15-20 years of hassle free operation, it seems like a very cost effective solution.

But it does not come cheap. And you’d have to consider the cost of installation before you decide to purchase it.

The Installation Costs

Due to being considered as a pricey addition to a home, a lot of homeowners are still sceptical about using a snow melting system. But it does not have to be so. You can customize it in so many ways and end up spending a lot less than what you’d typically expect to.

One of the first steps is to identify the total square footage of the area to be heated. Many times, you do not need to heat the entire driveway. There may be some troublesome spots that need driveway heating.

In some cases, it’s the stairs that need attention because ice can be extremely slippery.

Irrespective of what the circumstance is, the average cost of an electrical snow melting system is about $4 to $6 per square foot. You need to factor in the cost of installation, especially if you are not skilled at it.

The Cost Of Operating

Here’s a simple five step guide that will allow you to determine the actual cost of operating a heated driveway.

  • Determine the total square footage of the area to be heated
  • Multiply this by 37 watts per sq. ft. for residential and 50 watts per sq. ft. for commercial. This gives you the total watts per square foot
  • Convert this into Kilowatts (divide by thousand)
  • Contact your local power utility company to get the kilowatts-per-hour rate
  • Multiply the two numbers to get the per-hour operational cost of the system