Installing different types of driveway snow-melting systems is almost always a practical solution for you, regardless of whether you’ve been happily residing in your home for a while or are building a new house and considering installing these types of snow-melting systems.

Although installing a radiant heated driveway when a driveway is first being built is undoubtedly more affordable, several homeowners need to be made aware that there are different types of snow-melting systems.

Owning one of the primary types of driveway snow-melting systems will offer you many benefits, including:

  • Preventing slippery floors
  • Reducing snow and ice buildup
  • Preventing frozen residential plumbing systems
  • And not having to shovel snow and ice in the cold

Continue reading this article to learn about the different types of driveway snow-melting systems.

hydronic driveway snow melting systems

Hydronic Driveway Heating Systems

Through a closed-loop system of flexible polymer (Pex) tubing that is inserted in the concrete or asphalt, these types of driveway snow-melting systems circulate a solution of water and propylene glycol, also known as anti-freeze.

To heat the driveway and melt snow, the liquid is first heated by a water heater from the boiler room plumbing system and then pumped through Pex tubings used in these types of driveway snow-melting systems. Any energy may be used to power the condensing water heater, including electricity, oil, wood, natural gas, and solar collectors. 

Hydronic snowmelt systems, particularly for large snow-melting applications, might be more efficient than electric systems. But unfortunately, replacing the existing driveway with a new one is the only option to retrofit a driveway with these types of snow-melting systems.

electric driveway snow melting systems

Electric Driveway Heating Systems

Electric snow-melting systems are simpler and less expensive to install than their hydronic equivalent. Driveways that are built with concrete or asphalt can be upgraded with these types of driveway snow-melting systems.

Electric snow-melting systems use specifically designed driveway snow-melting heat strips that come pre-spaced in mats that are simple to roll out during installation in concrete, asphalt, or underneath brick and stone driveways and walkways.

The UL-listed driveway heat strips offer insulation and a polyolefin jacketing that is flexible and offers superior UV protection. The cables used in these types of driveway snow-melting systems also have a minimum 10-year guarantee and are heat-rated to 220°F (104°C).

The fastest reaction time (time to heat the driveway after the system starts up) of the main types of driveway snow-melting systems on the market is provided by driveway heat strips, which are created to provide 30–50 watts per square foot.

Response times for electric snow-melting systems are much faster than other types of driveway snow-melting systems since they do not need to rely on a water heater to boil the water before pumping it into the PEX tubing.

See some examples of driveways with snow-melting systems.

home with different types of driveway heating systems

How To Install These Types of Driveway Snow-Melting Systems?

To install electric snow-melting systems, The driveway is first prepared to pour in the concrete, including the placement of rebar or mesh panels. The durable heat cable is then zip-tied to the wire mesh or rebar before the concrete is poured.

The heat strips used in these types of driveway snow-melting systems are designed to withstand the high stress of fresh concrete pours as well as the extreme temperatures of hot asphalt applications. The cable is laid out, and then the asphalt is applied and compacted, resulting in a low-profile, low-maintenance heated driveway. 

If you want to DIY the installation of these types of driveway snow-melting systems, you can lay out the mats or space the cable yourself, but the wiring for the snow-melting devices must be connected by a qualified electrician.

Automated Types of Driveway Snow-Melting Systems

The standard heat strips, an automated control unit, and a high-performance snow sensor are all included in these types of driveway snow melters. Automated heating systems employ two types of sensors: aerial mount sensors for residential heated driveways and pavement mount snow sensors for large commercial snow-melting applications.

When the snow sensors detect precipitation and temperatures fall below a predetermined set point, the sensor sends a signal to the master control unit, which starts the snow-melting system. These types of driveway snow melters can also be activated manually or automatically. The controller has a manual override function for when snowdrifts or ice form due to wind or shade.