Snow Melting Systems

Snow Melting
Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, by browsing this page and clicking on the questions below, you should be able to find an answer to your Snow Melting related problem. If that is not the case then you can visit our forum or let us help you, either by using our live Chat or Ask A Question services.

The material costs are similar. However, electric systems are easier to install, with fewer components and significantly lower maintenance costs. Electric systems will run for a shorter period of time to give the same level of performance but with much higher energy efficiency (typically 95%-98% efficient). Controls and sensors required for the two types of systems are very similar. Electric systems do not usually require slab insulation and do not create the concerns typically associated with hydronic systems. These concerns include, but are not limited to, return temperatures, flue gas venting, waterway shrinkage and property damage caused by leaking pipes or tubes.
Never cut the heating cable. A heating cable will not work if it has been cut. If the heating cable is too long, call WarmlyYours to consult with a technician who will guide you in utilizing the additional length of cable.
The electrician may shorten the cold lead wires during the installation. Any lead wire extensions/splices must be made in a junction box in accordance with the installation instructions, and must comply with all national and local electrical codes. Never cut the heating cable.
Never cross, overlap, or allow the heating cables to touch each other. Doing so will quickly cause a circuit failure due to excessive heat build up. Always follow the product instructions and/or design layout plan to ensure the cable is installed with the correct spacing required for proper operation.
If a cable is damaged during installation, recheck the system for continuity and confirm the integrity of the insulation with a megohmmeter, or "megger" tester, referring to the installation and testing instructions. If the cable fails any of these tests, take the following actions: clear a 3 foot square working area around the damaged section of cable, and record the cable part number from the UL tag and the location where you purchased the product. Call WarmlyYours with the above information. WarmlyYours will provide further assistance and supply a splice kit suitable for repairing the particular cable.
A snow melting system typically costs between $7.00 and $15.00 per square foot, not including a control. Control packages range from $250.00 and $1,500.00 per system.

To calculate the system's approximate operating costs, multiply the total kilowatts of the system by the cost per kilowatt in your area. Let's use the example of a 350 sq. ft. of concrete patio (residential application), with 240 VAC.

To determine Total Watts: multiply area in sq. ft. x 50 Watts
350 x 50 = 17,500 Total Watts

To arrive at Kilowatts (the unit in we purchase electricity): take the Total Watts and divide by 1000
17,500 Total Watts / 1000 = 17.5 Kilowatts.

To determine Kilowatt rate: use the national average of .12 cents per Kilowatt-hours so how much do we pay for 17.5 kWatts?
17.5 kW x .12 = $2.10 for every full hour of operation.

How many hours would you operate the system? We use a typical 6 hour snowfall for our example so
$2.10 x 6 hours = $12.60 for that snowfall.

All of this will vary due to "after-run time". "After run time" is where the system remains on extra hours after the snow has completed falling, to ensure complete pavement snow melting and drying.

Power requirements are measured in Amps and based on three factors: the watts per sq. ft. of the snow melting cable or mat, the area powered and the voltage used for the application. Our product is rated at 50 watts per sq. ft., so that is a constant factor. Most snowmelt projects are powered with 240V AC – not all, but most. The one factor that is always variable is the area to be heated/powered. That is based on your project. For a point of reference, let’s use the example above of a 350 sq. ft. concrete patio.

The formula is (50 W/sq. ft. x area of 350 sq. ft.) / V (240V) = Amps, so 17,500 / 240V = 72.9 Amps

Always confirm the power requirements with the electrician. Large snow melting systems usually require a new electrical panel or electrical service. Contact WarmlyYours for a quotation, indicating the actual power capacity available, and to obtain recommendations for reducing the power consumption. For example, opting for tire track coverage rather than installing the snow melting system over the entire driveway can dramatically reduce power requirements.
Each heating cable comes with a factory installed cold lead wire that must be routed through the rigid metal 3/4" conduit to a outdoor rated junction box where a simple wire nut connection can be made for the electrical hook-up.