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How Do Driveway Heating Systems Work?

November 11, 2022

As winter gets closer, driveway maintenance becomes a priority on our home maintenance tasks list. Some homeowners take advantage of driveway heating systems. Others prefer to manually clear the snow, using a simple shovel, for cost-saving purposes or for the lack of knowledge of other effective ways. So what are driveway heating systems, and how do they work? Read on to find out.


How do heated driveways work?


Heated driveways are radiant heat systems installed underneath the pavement. They come in the form of electric cables or hydronic tubes. Hydronic heating systems work from a boiler. The boiler heats the antifreeze liquid that passes through the tubes installed under the pavement, warming the driveway and melting the snow. 


Electric heating systems consist of metal cables installed under the pavement. The power output of the cables varies between 6 and 50 Watts and can heat the driveway surface to 220°F. Electric heating systems allow you to control the temperature and the duration of heating.


As both systems are powered by an electric grid, they require a master electrician to properly install and configure the switch panel. 


Heated mats are another type of radiant heat system. They are installed along the tire path rather than over the entire driveway area. 


Given that heating systems are installed underneath the pavement, you won’t know whether the driveway is equipped with a heating system until you see it in action. 


Automatic vs Manual Driveway heating Systems


The perk of an automatic system is that it activates itself as soon as the temperature drops to just above freezing levels. It slowly warms the driveway surface and prepares it before the snowfall. The benefit of the automatic heating system is that it warms up the driveway in advance, so the snow melts right away without piling up on the driveway. 


Manual systems require the homeowner to manually turn the system on, making it the biggest drawback of this type of heating system.


Automatic systems are more common than manual ones due to their convenience. However, this convenience also comes at a higher price. 


How much do heated driveways cost?


The cost of a driveway heating system varies depending on the type of system and the area it covers. The larger the area to heat, the higher the installation cost. The price to install a heated driveway includes the actual material and installation cost. On average, it costs between $6,000 to $13,000 to retrofit your driveway with a heating system. 


Heated driveways are a common way to clear snow from the driveway. They will ensure a safe passage to and from the house and help avoid any slip and fall accidents. Outdoor radiant heat systems are expensive but yet the most effective and fastest way to get rid of snow. 


If you are looking for a reliable electrical services company in Toronto, A.S Electrical Services Ltd. is the go-to place. We install quality driveway heating systems for clients in Toronto and the GTA. Give us a call today to get advice from one of our professionals and book your service.