A local guy buried a 12" dia 3/8" wall steel pipe filled with concrete 5' deep and mounted his mailbox on top.
Worked great till the county plow truck hit it.
Long story short, the county won a $25k judgment against him for damages to the truck...and I don't think his homeowners insurance paid.
Our driveway meets the main road on an outside curve. So the snow berm
tends to be a bit taller as the snow plow comes around the corner. Worse
yet, it becomes a big block of packed ice instead of light fluffy snow.
I've broken snow shovels trying to bust my way through that berm.
if i don't have to get out for any reason i'll
leave the last few feet of the drive alone until
they finally plow the second or third time. this
way they won't push so much snow into the end of
the driveway. (i.e. remove the pressure and the
flow will come in, so leave some snow and more
for breaking up the frozen piles i have a nice
straight shovel made for trenching that will make
it into chunks to move.
sometimes it seems like they wait until i have
the drive clear before they come along and fill it
back in again... usually right after i get my
clothes changed and get into the middle of
If we're both digging out to go get groceries or something, we have learned
to take a snow shovel with us. On more than one occasion we have dug our
way out only to have the plow come along and block our driveway again while
we're gone. :)
My snow blower seems to handle the berm OK. Sometimes it takes a few
passes, but eventually it cuts through it fine.
We live on a mountain road. When we get a snow event they have a fleet of
plows that take turns going up and down our road every hour or so. I find
it easier to clear the berm occasionally than wait till it's four feet deep
and frozen solid.
As I mentioned, that's not an option for most people.
Around here a snow storm is a fairly rare event. Any snow that falls seldom
lasts more than a few days before melting off. Why go through all the work
of clearing a driveway, then risk getting in an accident. If you're in a
position to take those few days off work, it's always the smarter choice.
I'm glad it works for you. The snow that fell here in January was still
here in April. We had in the range of 100 inches. That is also a lot
of shoveling or snowblowing. I am in a position to take some time off,
but not three months. Semi-retired, I did stay home on the really bad
I don't mind doing most of the blowing, but if for $200 I could have had
it melt, I'd have paid it.
| It takes at least 1200 BTU to melt ice to 1 gallon of water.
| It takes at least 8000 BTU to evaporate 1 gallon of water to vapor.
Interesting statistics, but how relevant are they?
I assume those figures are for ice at a bit under 32F
with little wasted energy. With a heated driveway,
wouldn't most of the heat go toward "heating the
whole outdoors"? That's not the same as cooking a
block of ice in a pan. And of course snow is not ice,
either. Wouldn't the difference also be significant between
melting snow in -5F vs 31F air temperature? And how
hot would it need to be in a blizzard, with 2-3"/hour
falling? Also, "flyover country" could be anything but
the east or west coast.
If it were me I think I'd get some estimates and then
plan on a significantly higher figure. There's no sense
doing all the work if it turns out too expensive to use.
Especially for a luxury that's so notably unnecessary
in the first place.
I also wonder about possible problems like frost heaves.
If the heat is only on during snowstorms then what's to
prevent a frost heave cracking the concrete and breaking
the whole works?
If you really want to do the job right, you'd put a couple of inches of
foam board under the concrete. Otherwise, yes, you are trying to heat
the entire earth. Foam is used on some highways in Europe and is
becoming popular in garages here. I don't know, nor am I inclined to
search for, the specifics of the construction.
Since the heat loss is both up and down, the cost could easily be double
the BTU needed to melt the snow.
Well, it interests me enough to look. At one of the northern universities I
recall them designing the steam tunnel piping to run under all the sidewalks
and it worked out very efficiently. Since the steam was being piped to all
campus buildings anyway, it made perfect sense to use some of that heat to
FWIW, I really doubt if foam is necessary because heat rises and even
heating the soil below will eventually cause the surface to become warmer.
talks about home-based systems.
Heated Driveway Costs
Typically, the cost of a heated driveway system is between $12-$21 per
square foot. Looking at our data, the average cost of a radiant heating
system installation is $3,892, with a low of $1,300 and a high of $7,500 in
that range. However, this price does not include the removal of the old
driveway or the cost of the new one. Unfortunately, our data doesn't show
the cost to remove the old driveway, but we do show the average asphalt
paving cost ($4,457) and concrete driveway cost ($3,650). The range of
asphalt driveway projects is much greater at $2,000-$25,000 than concrete at
Permalink Submitted by Frugal Rich Guy on Thu, 2013-04-18 08:46
I've had one for 20 years. It cost about $5k, because I needed to replace
the driveway anyway. I still have to use the snowblower, because I still
have to dig out the big pile at the end of the driveway thrown up by the
plows. So I remove the bulk of the snow all over the driveway with the
snowblower and then use the heat to melt what's left down to bare pavement.
Pretty much how others use salt. Costs about $10 per storm.
Costs to Install and Operate Snow Melting Systems - The costs to operate
snow melting systems vary widely depending on the size of the area being
treated, local utility costs, the average total hours of snowfall, and how
fast the system user wants to melt the snow. Obviously, the larger the area
being heated and the more snow there is, the higher the operating cost.
Also, a system used in a colder climate may require a higher wattage (for
electric) or more Btu (for hydronic) than a similar system used in a warmer
Watts Heatway, a supplier of hydronic systems, says annual operating costs
range from 12 to 25 cents per square foot. So on average, it would cost $120
to $250 each winter to melt snow off a 1,000-square-foot driveway.
Depending on local utility rates, electric systems may cost even more to
operate. EasyHeat, a supplier of electric mats for snow melting
applications, says that the seasonal cost to heat a 1,000-square-foot slab
at 50 kilowatts will run about $276 in areas of light snowfall (50 inches
per year or less) and $692 in areas with average snowfall (50 to 100
inches). Those estimates are based on an average kilowatt cost per hour of
Material and installation costs vary widely too. For Warm Floor Centers
electric system, the materials alone run $4 to $6 per square foot, according
to Blackburn. Lee Hydronics system runs about $5 to $10 per square foot
installed. "The biggest variable is how far the embedded tubing is located
from the power source," claims Bailey. The farther away the utilities are,
the higher the installation and operating costs.
| So I remove the bulk of the snow all over the driveway with the
| snowblower and then use the heat to melt what's left down to bare
| Pretty much how others use salt.
That sounds a lot like Granny Clampett's
amazing cold cure: Take a spoonful twice
a day, drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest,
and your cold will be gone in 7-10 days. :)
I find it's very rare to need salt. Mostly
only near the front door when there's drippng
and refreezing. The driveway residue pretty
much evaporates away in a couple of days.
On Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 4:03:50 PM UTC-4, email@example.com wrote:
also if you don't care about the cost of the energy,
just spray the snow with hot water from a hose and save a ton
of installation costs.
Instead of scraping ice off my car windshield, I take a gallon or two of WARM water (not hot or else you may crack the window) and pour it on the window.
Works pretty well and is worth the cost IMO.
No installation costs.
You're making a pretty big assumption that this would all be conducted heat.
It's not. Are you familiar with the thermal properties of soil and why it's
been used as an insulator in rammed earth homes and other types of
construction? It's because soil does NOT behave thermally like a liquid or
a metal, it's actually fine grains of material surrounded by millions of
tiny *air* pockets.
Compare the thermal conductivity of soil to some other materials and you'll
see it's more insulator than conductor
- k -
Glass, wool Insulation 0.04
Granite 1.7 - 4.0
Ground or soil, very moist area 1.4
Ground or soil, moist area 1.0
Ground or soil, dry area 0.5
Ground or soil, very dry area 0.33
Gypsum board 0.17
Tin Sn 67
That's even before we consider thermal equilibrium and which direction heat
would move in if the ground below was warmer than the surface of the
driveway, which it almost always is.
<< It is observed that a higher temperature object which is in
contact with a lower temperature object will transfer heat to the lower
On Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 7:26:34 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
The issue is not the thermal conductivity of soil, it's whether
heat from water tubes embedded in concrete rises, as you stated.
It doesn't. Hot air rises. The air trapped in soil, unless you
have evidence that it moves, I would doubt that it does.
Fiberglass insulation is mostly air too. It doesn't transport
heat via convection very much either, because the air is mostly trapped.
That might be true, but it depends on a lot of factors. How
about if the sun is shining on the driveway, for example?
Whatever the temp is of the upper concrete versus the soil
under it, the driving force is the temp diff between the hot
water in the pipes and the temp of either.
100F to 20F on top, versus 100F to 30F might be an example.
You have 80 delta versus 70 delta. Not all that much
difference to make the heat go one way versus the other,
from what I see.
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