How much does a heated driveway cost? End-shutdown


Upgrading to a heated driveway will increase the installed cost of the driveway by about $10 per square foot. Operating costs in the winter will run you around $3-5 per hour.

Clearing snow off your driveway in the winter is a chore that, with a little advance planning and a little change, might be a chore you never do again. This is what it costs to install and operate a heated driveway.

How do heated driveways work?

If you’ve never lived in a cold and windy climate before, chances are you’ve never thought about heated driveways before. And even if you live in the land of ice and snow, you may not have stopped to consider how the luxurious luxury that is a heated driveway works.

There are two types of heated driveway designs on the market, and both take a design that is inside homes and move it outside.

The first design uses electrical resistance to heat your driveway. When your driveway is installed, a layer of heavy-gauge wire is laid before the concrete is poured or pavers are laid. This looped wire pattern looks like the inside of an electric blanket made for a giant, and in a way, it is.

The system works exactly like the electric floors people put in their bathrooms or the electric blankets they put on their beds. Electricity flows through the wire, the wires heat up, and the heat radiates into your driveway, melting the snow.

The second style of heated driveway is similar to the hydronic radiant heat floor found in many homes. Instead of wires laid in a loop pattern, a long, flexible hose is laid. The hose is connected to a boiler system, and it melts snow by circulating boiling water through the pipe to heat your driveway, just like radiant floor systems in homes do the same thing to heat your floors.

You can manually turn heated driveway systems on and off, but you can also install them with a snow sensor. The sensor is a cup-shaped device that detects when snow falls and automatically activates the heating system to prevent snow from accumulating.

Setup Costs: No Free Lunch Here

There are two cost elements to a heated driveway: installation and operating costs (which we’ll talk about in a moment).

Installation costs can vary wildly depending on where you are, the local job market, and other factors. Nationwide in the United States, the installed cost of a heated driveway is around $10-15 more per square foot compared to the equivalent driveway without the heating element.

So for example, if you could have a new concrete driveway for $10,000, then the same driveway with a heating system would easily cost you $15-25,000. You will pay more for a hydronic system, but the operating costs of the hydronic system are less over time.

There is a substantial upfront cost to installing a heated driveway, which includes not only the cost of the heating element but, for anything other than new construction, also the disassembly and disposal of the old driveway.

Operating costs: Your input is now a toaster

While the installation costs are staggering, you might be surprised to find that the operating costs aren’t as extreme as you might expect, especially when you factor in spending less money on snow removal services, less money on snow removal equipment maintenance, snow removal etc. .

Hydronic systems are more energy efficient than resistive electrical systems, but calculating the operating cost is much more complicated since it is not a strict “wires are electrified or wires are not electrified” calculation. You will pay less per hour of operation for a boiler based system than for a wired system. It varies a lot less, but you certainly expect to pay at least half of what you would for an electrical system.

However, calculating the cost of a resistive cable-based system is really straightforward compared to hydronic systems, so we’ll calculate based on that.

Residential ice melting systems use about 35 watts of power per square foot. Using basic electricity cost calculations and the current US average price per kWh of 15.59 cents per kWh, we can see that each square foot of the driveway will consume $0.006 per hour of operation.

The average input is around 850 square feet, which means the system would use 29,750 W per hour at an operating cost of $4.63.

How much it will cost you over time depends on your climate, but you do some basic math based on the local weather. Consider that you will need to run the system for at least 4-5 hours per snow storm. Our projected costs for the average 850 square foot driveway are approximately $23 per blizzard. Over the course of winter, you could easily end up spending $500 or more to heat your driveway.

That might seem like a chunk of change. Still, when you compare it to paying for a plowing service (which can cost $30-$60 per plowing session) or the hassle of spending hours of your life shoveling or removing snow when you could be doing anything else, it suddenly seems a much more reasonable.

And hey, if you just want to keep the sidewalk clear or make a small driveway to the garage, you don’t have to trash your yard and driveway; you can retrofit your steps, sidewalk or deck with snow melt mats. .

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