Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Snow Melting System
Think about the worries that plague every homeowner during the winter weather. The risk of slip and falls, snowy driveways and walkways, and spending huge amounts of money to hire snowplow contractors to clear the walkway, parking area, outdoor stairs, and other surfaces in homes and business premises.
The bottom line is, that’s a lot of headaches with which you must deal with especially if you have other issues to take care of. Thus, an efficient snow melting system can keep your driveway snow-free and also save you money in the long-run. Here are the factors you should consider when choosing such a system.
The installation and operating costs
The operating costs of a snow melting system vary depending on the total area being heated, the local utility charges, the total hours of snowfall, and how fast you want the system to melt the falling or accumulated snow.
A driveway heating system in a colder climate requires a higher wattage than a system being used in a warmer climate. Besides, material and installation costs of different snow melting systems vary. Depending on your location, local utility prices, and the nature of the system you prefer, you can estimate the entire snow melting system cost.
You can either use an electric or hydronic snow melting system. An electrical system usually plugs into a set junction box. Thus, the system can be installed even in homes and commercial buildings with limited space. On the other hand, hydronic systems require enough space that accommodates the water heater or boiler, manifold, and a circulating pump.
Do you want your walkways and driveways to be free from snow always or you need a system that can melt snow within a just short period after a storm? Full-time driveway heating means highly efficient equipment, increased installation cost, and higher operational costs.
In some cases, the homeowner must install a drainage system for the meltwater. This is necessary especially if you expect heavy snowfall.
Experts recommend the installation of a heating system during the construction of a driveway. However, if you must install the system in an existing driveway, consider retrofitting an electric cable as it has a small diameter. Hydronic tubing has a wide diameter, and that means you need to remove a lot of concrete or even replace the entire driveway to install them.
A hydronic snow melting system requires more maintenance than an electric system. The boiler and the pump must be inspected and serviced regularly. Besides, the propylene glycol fluid level must regularly be inspected to keep the system efficient. On the other hand, an electric snow melting system requires minimal maintenance.
An efficient heated driveway system can cost several hundreds of dollars every winter. However, this is a way cheaper option than hiring snow plowing services or purchasing de-icing chemicals. For the system to run efficiently for a long time, it must be installed by a professional, licensed electrician.