Heated driveways are a type of radiant heat flooring.
Think of the heated bathroom flooring, just installed outside under your driveway instead. While you might not understand the point of heated driveways if you live in sunny Florida, they come in handy for places that see a lot of snow.
Take a look at this guide to learn everything you need to know about heated driveway systems.
How Heated Driveways Work?
A heated driveway system lays tubing beneath your pavement. When the temperature gets cold enough, the system sends antifreeze and heated water through the tubs. This melts any snow or ice that gathers on your driveway.
All you have to do is turn the system on from inside your home.
The Two Types of Heated Driveways
There are two main types of driveway heating systems. They both melt ice and snow from the surface of your driveway, but they come with their own advantages and disadvantages. The right one for your driveway depends on your specific needs.
Here’s a quick look at the two different kinds of driveway heating systems.
1. Hydronic Systems
These systems use a type of PVC tubing that runs under the length of your driveway. A boiler pumps heated water or antifreeze solution through these tubs to warm the pavement.
Because you have to install the tubing underneath your driveway, a hydronic system usually requires ripping up your driveway. You also have to buy a specific boiler for your driveway, which can make this system expensive.
The tubes can freeze and crack if they get too cold, so you have to leave hydronic systems on at all times. But hydronic systems are still cost less money to run than electric radiant heat systems.
2. Radiant Heat Systems
Radiant heat systems use electric, metal coils or panels to warm the driveway pavement. These coils or panels are wired, and you have to plug them into an outlet.
You have to install these electric cables just below the driveway pavement, and a sensor will connect them to the control panel. You’ll be able to flip a switch from the comfort of your home and turn on your heating system. You can also automate the times the system turns on based specific hours or temperature levels.
Benefits of Heated Driveways
Without a heated driveway system, you have to clear the snow off your driveway by shoveling it, laying out rock salt, getting a snow blower, or paying for professional snowplow services. But heated driveway systems give you a lot more benefits than reduced manual labor.
Take a look at some of the best benefits that come along with your heated driveway system.
It Doesn’t Require Any Effort
Because you can automate your system, you don’t even have to flip a switch. Your system can turn on when you want it to without you having to do anything.
The heating system also takes care of itself. You don’t have to do any maintenance because the system will last for years without it.
It Protects Your Pavement
One of the main causes of driveway cracks is moisture seeping into the pavement, freezing, expanding, and forcing the pavement to split. Leaving snow and ice on your driveway raises your risk of cracking.
Using other chemicals and rock salt on your driveway will lower its lifespan. A heating system will keep your driveway in good condition for longer periods of time.
It Saves You Money and Time
You don’t have to spend money on repairs, but you also don’t have to pay for professional snowplow services. Buying bags of chemicals or rock salt can add up, but heating systems don’t cost a lot of money to run. They also free up a lot of your time because you don’t have to clear off your driveway yourself.
It Keeps You Safe
You don’t have to be out in the snow shoveling your driveway for hours. This means your risk of falling or being exposed to hypothermia is reduced. Your heating system also prevents ice from freezing on your driveway, meaning you don’t have to worry about driving over black ice.
It Raises Your Property Value
Driveway heating systems are popular, and they’ve become a huge selling point. A potential buyer is more likely to secure the sale if you have a heating system on your property.
Common driveway chemicals, like deicers, can harm your plants or get into the local waterways. This can result in algae bloom and health effects for animals that drink the water. A heated driveway system keeps snow and ice off your driveway without these safety risks.
What to Expect from Heated Driveway Installation
The best time to install a heated driveway system is when you’re installing your driveway. Otherwise, you may have to rip up your driveway, install the heating system, and replace your driveway with a new one.
But this isn’t always the case. Some people can run tubing or electric coils under their driveway without needing to replace it. This all depends on things like the soil compaction, the time of year, the distance from trees or other structures, etc. You’ll have to ask your paving company if you have the right type of driveway.
It is harder for a professional to install the tubing under an already laid driveway. Replacing your pavement ensures they have set up your heating system in the correct way. You’ll also receive a better warranty if you install your heating system with a new driveway.
How Much Does a Heated Driveway Cost?
You should expect to pay anywhere from $12 to $21 per square foot when installing a heated driveway system. Without including the cost of removing or replacing the actual pavement, the total price for a heating system can range anywhere from $1,300 to $7,500. The exact price depends on the size of your driveway and the company you work with.
Want to make some other improvements around your home? Take a look at this guide to find the best home remodeling contractor.