What Is The Snowmelt System And How Does It Work?
You know how frustrating and dangerous it can get when there’s a snowstorm and snow builds up on sidewalks and roadways? Well, there’s a solution to this that ensures the build-up does not occur, and this solution is known as the snowmelt system. If you have always complained about shoveling snow off your driveway, then you should keep reading this post to find out what you can do.
If you are familiar with radiant floor heating, then you have an idea of the concept behind the snowmelt system. The heat used to ensure that the snow melts is derived from two broad categories of sources: electric resistance heat and heat from a geothermal source delivered through a fluid. The systems that use electricity tend to be more expensive to install. However, in terms of maintenance, they are much easier since they do not involve any moving parts or corroding agents. Electric systems also tend to be much more expensive to operate. For the hydronic system, maintenance might be costly but operations and installation will not cost as much as the electric systems.
Floor Heating Electric System
The electric system consists of three components. These are the heating cable, the activation device and the control unit. For the hydronic system, the components include a closed-loop tubing that circulates a mixture of hot water and antifreeze.
You might be wondering how the system works since unlike in a home there is no one on standby during snowstorms to turn on the system. Well, the snowmelt system works in conjunction with an automatic activation device which senses precipitation and then turns on the system. Once the snow storm is over and the temperatures are above freezing point, the activation device turns the system off.
Some systems include a thermostat which works together with the activation device to ensure that the system is turned off once a sufficient snow-melting temperature has been attained. This is done to ensure that there is not wastage of energy and that the system works only when it is required.
When it comes to the operation costs, this is mainly contingent on the source of energy that has been opted for. The costs could also be influenced by the frequency of use. As such, if you live in a region of harsher climate, you might incur higher bills compared to someone who uses the system less frequently in a year.
Installing Heating Systems
As with most heating systems, the most ideal way to install them is when you are constructing the space you want to install them in. This is no different for the snowmelt system. However, if you must retrofit the systems in existing walkways, your best bet is to choose the electric snowmelt system. All you need to do is cut some grooves in your walkway or driveway and then insert the cables into these grooves.
While the snowmelt system seems ideal for commercial use by city councils and corporations, there are pocket-friendly versions available for the average homeowner. Portable heated snow floor mats have been developed and made available to ensure heated floors for the general public, thus eliminating the need to physically shovel snow every time there is a snowstorm