As winter arrives and snow blankets our surroundings, the daunting task of snow removal from driveways becomes inevitable. Heated driveway mats have emerged as a popular solution, offering a reprieve from manual snow shoveling. This article will delve into the intricacies of heated driveway mats, evaluate their effectiveness, and introduce a superior alternative – the radiant heated driveway.
What is a Heated Driveway Mat?
A heated driveway mat is an outdoor mat embedded with heating elements. These mats, when laid out on a driveway and powered on, generate heat to melt the snow, providing a clear and safe path for vehicles. They come in various sizes, and can be linked together to cover larger areas if needed.
How Well Do Heated Driveway Mats Work in Winter?
Heated driveway mats are quite effective in melting snow, and their ease of use is one of their main selling points. However, they have some drawbacks:
- Energy Consumption: Heated driveway mats can consume a substantial amount of electricity, leading to increased utility bills.
- Storage: During non-winter months, these mats need to be properly stored, which requires ample space.
- Limited Coverage: Mats only cover specific areas of the driveway, which might not be sufficient in heavy snowfall conditions.
- Potential Damage: Mats can be damaged by sharp objects, animals, or even by the wear and tear of vehicles, requiring frequent replacement.
A Better Alternative: Radiant Heated Driveway
A more comprehensive and efficient solution to snowy driveways is the radiant heated driveway system. This system involves the installation of heating cables or tubing beneath the surface of the driveway. It provides uniform heating, effectively melting snow over the entire surface of the driveway, without any of the limitations associated with heated driveway mats.
How Does a Heated Driveway Work?
A radiant heated driveway operates by circulating heated fluid (in hydronic systems) or electric current (in electric systems) through tubing or cables embedded in the driveway. As the heat radiates upward, it warms the surface of the driveway and melts the snow.
Control systems and sensors play an integral role in this setup.
Snow sensors detect precipitation and low temperature, triggering the heating system to start operating. This ensures the system only runs when necessary, enhancing its efficiency and reducing energy costs.
How to Install a Radiant Heated Driveway
Installing a system to heat your residential or commercial driveway is a wise decision. Particularly in steep areas or high-traffic spaces, it provides peace of mind. During driveway installation, Warmup snow melting mats and cables can be easily placed under pavers, asphalt, or concrete to keep the surface free of snow and ice.
You can install Warmup snow melting mats directly on top of an existing concrete or asphalt surface and then add a 2″ layer on top of it. Alternatively, the mats can be placed on a drained gravel base before pouring a new layer. If you’re installing on asphalt, Warmup suggests hand rolling the surface. It’s essential to use equipment under 1 ton during installation.
Heated walkway pavers provide a combination of aesthetic appeal and practicality. The process involves laying snow melting mats or cables on a gravel base with proper drainage, followed by a layer of sand or fine gravel that should be no less than 1 inch thick. Once this is complete, the pavers can be installed.
Installing the System
The installation of a radiant heated driveway requires careful planning and execution:
- Designing the System: The layout and the size of the heating elements depend on the size of the driveway and the expected snowfall rates.
- Excavating the Driveway: The existing driveway is dug up to install the heating elements.
- Installing the Heating Elements: The tubing or cables are laid out as per the design.
- Laying the Driveway: The driveway material is laid on top of the heating elements and compacted.
- Installing Controls/Sensors: The control systems and sensors are installed and connected to the heating elements.
- Testing: The system is tested for functionality before the final touches are applied to the driveway.
The Importance of Controllers in a Heated Driveway System
There are many types of controllers available for heating systems. Most of these controllers keep track of moisture, temperature, and precipitation in order to turn on the system, which heats just above freezing. Some controllers operate on a timer system and need to be turned on manually, but may not keep up with snowfall if they are turned on too late.
Warmup DS Series
DS-2C and DS-5C controllers are suitable for smaller Warmup heated driveway systems that cover a maximum area of 360 square feet. They are designed for outdoor use and include temperature and moisture sensors. These controllers combine a controller and a sensor and will trigger based on the sensor readings. With relay contactors and mounted sensors, they offer a complete solution for controlling the heated driveway system.
The Commbox-600 stands out in the Warmup control line-up due to its superior features. It integrates inherent relay contactors and GFEP safeguarding, facilitating voltage switching up to four times the provided amount and the creation of up to four distinct zones with reduced amperage usage. This makes it a preferred choice for expansive projects that exceed 1,000 square feet.
Additionally, Warmup offers a convenient app that helps perfect control of the driveway system.
Transform Your Winter Experience with a Quality Radiant Heated Driveway System from Warmup
Invest in a quality radiant heated driveway system from Warmup and enjoy hassle-free winters with no snow removal worries. Our reliable systems provide uniform heating, efficient energy consumption, and long-lasting performance so you can rest assured that your driveway is protected from snow and ice all season long. With an array of controllers to choose from, you can customize your system to meet the needs of any residential or commercial space. Contact us today for more information and a free quote!