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Thread: Heated Driveway

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas,PA
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    1,056

    Default Heated Driveway

    Now that winter will soon be here.... one of my clients has decided to see if we can get the driveway re-paved.

    This is of course not your typical driveway, it runs about 500' with a 20% grade and another 200' with a much less incline of maybe 5%. Curves are also part of the equation, mostly on the steeper section.

    While meeting with the clients and a paving contractor a few days ago the snow plowing contractor also came for a visit. He decried the job of plowing as a real "white knuckle" experience and has on several occasions found himself sliding out of control down the incline. The other issue is that if a heavy snow is occurring he has to re-visit the site every few hours to maintain control of the situation.

    I, half jokingly, suggested we do a heated driveway and the plowing contractor and paving contractor sidestepped the issue.

    I met with two other paving contractors today and the second one echoed my concern for the situation and strongly extolled the virtue of including a heated assembly.

    The system he is advocating utilizes electric mats fastened to the binder layer of paving, (the base would be replaced in our scenario) and then the wear layer would be applied over the mats.

    My experience with heated driveways is limited, one other client has a glycol based system but is rarely here in the winter, opting for the tropics from October till May, so the system is never really used.

    Does anyone have any input to offer on either of these systems or an alternate regarding durability, performance, cost of installation and operation and anything else that you may be able to offer.

    Thanks in advance.
    "ALS IK KAN" - Stickley

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Years ago I worked for a landscaper. We installed brick pavers over tubing. I can't remember the specifics but I assume it was glycol based. The guy doing the tubing was a bit worried that on very cold days with wind (driveway was steep and on top of a hill where it was always windy) that the melted snow might freeze if the heat wasn't on until the surface was dry. He was also concerned about how effective the system would be since the tubing was a few inches under a layer of screening and the brick was 2" thick. Couldn't say how it worked out but it didn't seem like a cheap system to operate.
    Darrel Hunter

    "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    9,252

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Very doable and very expensive - that job sounds well over 100K in our neighborhood...
    “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
    Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    3,154

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Curious what it would cost to run your driveway as a toaster in Alaska. I can't imagine how fast the electric meter would be spinning to heat a 500' long driveway.

    Any idea what that would run?
    It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

    I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

    ParkWest Homes LLC
    Working Man Online Store
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska
    Posts
    631

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Heated driveways aren't too uncommon here. I would note that they come with some often unexpected problems. Number one on that list...drainage. Where does all that snowmelt go?? Usually a big ice burm somewhere near the bottom of your driveway. Not cool.
    Michael

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    9,252

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Yeah - then there is that problem. Heating with electricity in Homer would be quite expensive at about .14 KWH.

    Just saw one in town about 30 ft. Owner said he does not use it b/c of the cost. Hydronic heating makes much better sense here than electric IMO.
    “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
    Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska
    Posts
    631

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    "IMO" Dave??

    I don't think that counts as opinion. You should have said it like this...

    "Hydronic heating makes much better sense here than electric. In fact, using electric makes no sense at all, the concept is actually quite ridiculous...and expensive...and ridiculous, and it doesn't require any techno metal posts so whats the point??"

    Or something to that effect.
    Michael

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    9,252

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    I think you're making fun of me??? :)

    I said my opinion b/c I have never looked at the specs for an low temp electric system. I know I was surprised when I looked at the consumption for others low voltage electric mats. Quite low.

    Add the I have little experience with hydronic outside; but know there are many drawbacks and failed installs around. Hence it being my opinion.

    The guy I spoke of replaced his hydronic with the electric system; which he now does not use.
    “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
    Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska
    Posts
    631

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Sorry Dave, not making fun of you at all. Just thought you were trying to be unnecessarily polite. Guess I was wrong. And the techno metal post thing??

    That was free advertisement buddy:)
    Michael

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    We have done both types.

    The electrical one we did was fairly small, maybe 50' long. had to upgrade the house to 400A service, 200 for the house and 200 for the driveway. For the small driveway it was less costly to install than a boiler, heat exchanger, piping etc, in this case. The operating costs were not a factor on the theory that it was not running much, and was probably less than plowing. I can not imagine the size of a service you would need for a driveway that size.

    The hydronic is more common here, lots of high end people do the driveway or sidewalk. Costs are just for the boiler, heat exchanger, etc. you also need to verify that you have the gas service to feed both the snow melt and the domestic heating/cooking/ etc.

    Depending on frequency of use you might see if the house boiler is large enough to serve both, or if you can share them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas,PA
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    1,056

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Just a little update, The paving contractor I spoke to yesterday called this morning with a few numbers. Excavate and replace base and wear layers for 400' (the absolute worst area) is approx.$23,000.00. Electric mats for 400' would be $12,000.00 plus whatever electrical upgrade and installation costs would be based on their choice of electrician.

    This is not out of the question for the client, I just doubt that it could happen this year.

    Lots more research to do.

    Any further comments or suggestions are very much appreciated.
    "ALS IK KAN" - Stickley

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Danbury area of western CT
    Posts
    4,441

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    What is your average snowfall? Divide that by 4 inches or number of plow visits and you can get a very rough idea of ROI. Maybe also a hybrid system. Electric water heater pushing glycol(eco friendly stuff) and 1/2" PEX. Go to http://pexsupply.com to get some figures on component costs.

    Phil
    It's better to try and fail, than fail to try.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Calgary, Ab.
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    I’ve uploaded storm data graphs with snow melting loads for various percentiles for Pittsburgh, New York and Minneapolis so you can get an idea of the magnitude of Btu/hr/sf depending on the client’s expectations. Unfortunately, the ASHRAE data base does not include your specific location so you'll literally have to read between the lines...

    http://www.healthyheating.com/Snow_M...m#.UIYWTW_R6Ks

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas,PA
    Posts
    1,056

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Thanks Phil and Robert for the input. I have been away for a couple weeks for some R&R and will be getting back to my research on the project and review your input.

    I did get a preliminary estimate today for a glycol based system,....the "heating" portion of the project is approx. $90,000.00, the paving estimate is $23,000.00.

    This is of course only one estimate and has to be compared to an earlier estimate I had for an electric radiant assembly that was for $12,000.00 for the mats only.

    Looks like a lot more homework before we are anywhere near a course of action.

    I wonder how the $90K estimate will go over when I go out with the client for dinner on friday evening???
    "ALS IK KAN" - Stickley

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Mont Vernon,New Hampshire
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Heated Driveway

    Hi Calvert, we just did a glycol based system with brick pavers on top of one section and aggregate concrete on the rest. the driveway was about 15' wide and 100' long. We ended up with a separate boiler for the snow melt. I'm not 100 percent sure of this but I think our electrician said if we went with the electric system we would have to bring in 3 phase electric from the street because of the power required for the system. The glycol based piping and boiler were about 60k so sounds like your pricing is in the ballpark. I can't wait for the 1st snowfall to see this thing work(hopefully!)

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