Snow Melting Cables For Driveway

How many times have we found ourselves, after a snowfall or frost, having to take cover by spreading salt on the driveway and on the ramp leading to the garage?

Melting cables for driveway

Would it be possible to have the garage ramps or the driveway always free from ice, without having to make an effort but simply by turning a switch?

Yes, it is possible and in this article we explain how.

SNOW MELTING MAT, 100 SQ. FT. (2' X 50')

What are snow melting cables

Snow melting cables are the solution that allows you to melt ice and snow and to have stairs, ramps or short driveways, always free from the pitfalls of ice.

For those who live in the mountains, where winters are particularly harsh, having to deal with paved sections made dangerous by ice or snow is nothing new.

Often we would like to have an automatic system that avoids the burden of having to get up in time to be able to leave the garage with the car.

Snow melting cables are nothing more than electric cables that give off heat by the Joule effect; this means that a conductor, opposing resistance to the flow of electrons of the electric current, tends to heat up and dissipate the heat.

The laying of snow melting cables

The laying of snow melting cables must take place in the warm season as they must be laid underneath the pavement or the paving and it is therefore necessary that there is time to lay both the cables, make the necessary connections to the electrical network and then lay the pavement.

The system is essentially made up of a constant power heating cable assembled with a tape to form a heating mat that can be quickly and easily laid underneath the sections that we would like to keep clear of snow and ice.

The materials with which these "heating carpets" are assembled make them suitable to be embedded under the pavement and they can withstand without problems even the mechanical stresses caused by car traffic.

Once we have laid the snow melting cables we can proceed to the realization of the paving that can be performed with the most varied coatings: from concrete to asphalt, to porphyry or self-locking paving.

The important thing is that the surface is rigid and possibly reinforced if it must provide for the passage of motor vehicles.

The choice of flooring to be matched to the snow melting cables is not a secondary fact, considering the high consumption of electricity that the snow melting cables use to perform their work.

Dark flooring that can eventually heat itself by absorbing the weak winter sun rays could save us a lot of energy.

It is also clear that the thicker the layer of flooring laid over the cables, the greater the amount of electricity that will be used to melt the outer surface.

But we come to the fundamental question that everyone should ask themselves, thinking about the installation of a system of this type: do I really need snow melting cables and should I lay them?

Obviously, everyone will have to answer these questions for themselves, but not before realizing the pros and cons of snow melting cables.

Pros and cons of snow melting cables

PROS:

  • the convenience of having a system do the work for us is undisputed
  • the heating mats are flexible and it is sufficient to lay them only on the sections that we really need to use
  • they are very useful, especially in condominium buildings where the expense can be effectively shared
  • in the areas of access to public offices, where there is a risk of falling, the installation of snow melting cables is a gesture of attention to citizenship

CONS:

  • we have already said in passing: snow melting cables consume a lot of energy and it is easy to see the electricity bill rise like a Christmas cake
  • it is quite likely that you will have to revise the supply contract with the distributor of electricity to cope with "peaks" of consumption that, for normal domestic users, would trigger the counter
  • unless you use a thermostat that keeps the heating sufficient to prevent the formation of ice, even the snow melting system will have to be activated hours before you need to use the driveway, because the effect is not at all immediate and is strictly dependent on the thickness of the pavement, the thickness of the ice and snow, the outside temperature, etc..

TIPS :

If you decide to install a system with heating cables and better to consider these aspects if you want to save money:

  • it is much better not to use the system to melt a thick layer of snow; in addition to consumption, the system would take too long. It is much better to remove the bulk of the snow by hand with the good old shovel and let the snow melting cables take care of melting the remaining residue and avoiding the formation of ice.
  • if possible, turn on the system manually when needed, always to avoid excessive consumption, although it is possible to drown a thermostatic probe in the ground to turn on the system automatically.

SNOW MELTING MAT, 100 SQ. FT. (2' X 50')

DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.