During the cold months of winter, snowfall can affect the daily schedules, mobility, or disrupt businesses. The frequent clearing of snow using a shovel can prove cumbersome on a work morning. Also, many business establishments, like malls, hotels, and fueling stations, can incur losses as a result of ice during the winter months.
Fortunately, snow melting system offers a lasting solution to the persistent problem of snow. Such a system can be installed in driveways, walkways, pavements, and business premises frontage.
If you want one for your establishment, below are the key tips for installing snow melting systems:
01 Pre- Installation Tips
The success of a snow melting system is determined by the decisions you make at the store. The right system should fit your budget and home or business needs.
Choose a system that can use multiple sources of energy. For instance, hydronic snow melting systems can use either electricity, solar, propane, or gas. While electric systems may be sufficient for most homes, it cannot be used with other sources of energy.
Next is to check whether you have the available space to accommodate structural changes like drainage and an area to keep boilers. Electric systems that can be installed on existing slabs without conducting major renovations—the existing joints can be utilized as a space to install the heating elements.
02 Cable Installation Tips
The heating system transmits the heat required to melt the snow using cables. To achieve consistent performance and reduce any frequent maintenance, good installation practice is required.
When installing your snow melting system’s cable, below are some of the tips you can follow:
- The space between two cables should always be at least 2 inches and a maximum of 4 inches. Also, make sure the cables don’t cross each other.
- Don’t make incisions or attempt to cut the heating cable.
- Avoid sharply bending the cable. Doing so can result in the insulation forming bubbles or pulling away from the cable.
- When installing under pavers, there should always be a half-inch of compacted paver or stone dust.
- The heating cable should always be 2 inches above concrete or asphalt applications. It should never be in contact with the snow when it falls.
03 Operating Tips
Turning ice blocks into water systems requires a huge deal of energy. Your usage should, therefore, be geared to minimize the consumption of energy or only use it when needed.
These are some of the ways that can improve efficiency in a home:
- Programmable thermostat: Preset limit reduces the wastage of energy. A 7-day program is recommended to provide a controlled heating schedule. Depending on the manufacturer, snow melting systems has an adjustable hold-on time that keeps the heater operational after the snow stops falling. The recommended time is approximately 3-5 hours.
- Remove mats from the floor: Avoid placing items, like mats, over the floor together with the heating element. They act as insulators, thereby preventing the transfer of heat to snow, reducing the effectiveness of the system.
Mats made of materials like rubber can be damaged by heat and as a result, stain the floor.
If the weather improves, you can turn off the melting system to reduce energy consumption. However, keep in mind that the melting system needs higher energy requirements when starting it again.
The warranty conditions are activated by recording the readings found on the elements of the system. Record the ohm readings using a megohmmeter after each of the following activities:
- Record the ohm value of the cable tag in the warranty card as soon after receiving it.
- In preparation for embedding on concrete, pavers, or asphalt, record the ohm value after laying out the cable.
- Apply the top layer of the concrete and record the ohm readings.
This exercise helps detect any damages or defects that the cables might have from the manufacturer.
05 Timing of Installation
Since a snow melting system costs a few thousand dollars, it’s important to make plans on when to install. As much as possible, you don’t want to pay an extra thousand dollars to pay for home repairs caused by installing a snow melting system.
If you have the advantage of constructing your own home, installing it during construction eliminates a good percentage of the installation costs. Also, you’ll get to take advantage of electricians and the construction teams on the site during the installation. The exercise can also be done while conducting routine repairs at home.
The process of removing snow from buildings can be costly or has the potential to damage your paving, depending on de-icing chemicals used. Thankfully, snow melting systems offer a lasting and convenient solution to your home or business establishment.
For you to enjoy the benefits of snow melting systems, use the right cable spacing, remember to record ohm readings for the elements, and ensure you program the thermostat well.