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Why Homeowners Need Heated Driveways in Michigan

Written by Melissa.Evans on May 2nd, 2024 | Outdoor Heating | Uncategorized

Michigan residents are no strangers to snowy winters, experiencing an estimated 60″ of snow yearly. While residents have more than enough experience to know how to handle the snow, it doesn’t mean they always enjoy it; removing snow from driveways can be time-consuming, even with a snow blower. It can also be a daily task, keeping homeowners and business owners from doing other things. 

Heated driveways provide a perfect solution, taking care of snow on driveways without anyone having to do any work.

What is a Heated Driveway?

A heated driveway is a driveway with a radiant heating system installed underneath. The radiant heating will warm the driveway material, melting snow and ice and keeping the area clear. 

There are two types of radiant heating systems for driveways: electric systems, which rely on electricity run through electrical cables, and hydronic systems, which rely on hot water run through PEX tubing. While both options are effective, hydronic systems take more time to heat up, as the water goes through a boiler before being transported through the PEX pipes, and the heat isn’t always distributed evenly. 

Electric radiant heating works faster with more even distribution, ensuring the entire installation area is cleared of snow and ice in minutes.

4 Benefits of Heated Driveways in Michigan

Heated driveways have many benefits worth considering besides eliminating a wintertime chore. Other benefits of a heated driveway in Michigan include:

1. Get Rid of Snow Faster

With a heated driveway, snow will melt in a fraction of the time it takes someone with a shovel or snow blower to get rid of it. 

2. Automation Options

Special controllers allow the system to turn on automatically based on temperature, precipitation, or moisture. 

3. Safety

Manually removing snow can lead to various injuries like falls, back pain, strained muscles, and even hypothermia. A heated driveway will remove any snow without the necessary manual labor, allowing homeowners to stay safe.

4. Minimize Driveway Damage

Rock salt, typically used to protect driveways from snow and ice, can cause damage to the driveway. Pieces of salt can become trapped in the crevices of a driveway’s surface, drawing in water after them. Then, the winter freeze/thaw cycles will cause that water to freeze and expand, causing the material to crack and deteriorate more quickly.

How Does the System Work?

The way a heated driveway system works depends on the type of system. 

Hydronic systems require a boiler, which is where the water is heated. The hot water then travels through the pipes under the driveway, heating them up. Radiant heat from these pipes travels upwards, heating the driveway, which allows snow and ice to melt. Electric heated driveways work in the same way, though through the use of electricity rather than after.

Most systems are wired to a controller, allowing the system to operate automatically. These controllers monitor various factors: moisture levels, temperature, and the amount of precipitation, which can be used to activate the system. Timer-based controllers are another option. These controllers are operated manually and can fail to keep up with snowfall if activated too late.

Installing a Heated Driveway

When creating a new driveway, you can install a heated driveway over an existing surface. The installation method can vary slightly depending on the material, but the system can be laid in various patterns, including tire tracks, a popular, cost-saving option. This video demonstrates the installation of an electric heated driveway:

With concrete and asphalt, you can install heating mats directly on an existing surface for a heated driveway in Michigan. Once the mats are in place, you then must pour an additional 2″ layer of material. Alternatively, you can lay mats on a drained gravel base for new driveways before pouring the chosen driveway material. Hand rolling is ideal for asphalt surfaces, and you want to avoid using equipment weighing over one ton.

For paver driveways, the radiant heating system goes over the drained gravel base and then gets covered by a layer of sand or fine gravel at least one inch thick. After this, you can lay the pavers.

How Much Does a Heated Driveway in Michigan Cost?

The cost of a heated driveway for Michigan residents varies depending on the type of system you choose and the size and coverage of your driveway. 

On average, an electric heated driveway system will cost you around $10/sqft. For example, full coverage of a 20×30 driveway will run a homeowner about $5,000, including the controls, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,500.

A cost-effective alternative is to install tire tracks across the length of the driveway. Two sets of tracks across a 30ft long driveway will cost about a fraction of the price at $2,400.

Heated Driveway Solutions from Warmup

Warmup is a company with over 25 years of experience in heating floors. Their electric heated driveway system provides an efficient and effective solution to snow and ice. With a heated driveway, Michigan residents will not have to worry about shoveling snow or bringing out the snow blower every time it snows. Instead, with snow-melting controls like the SNOPRO-100, they will have automatic snow and ice-melting capabilities. 

Contact Warmup today to learn more about our driveway heating system and how it can make a difference in your driveway.

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