It is better than gold, but not nearly as good as insulation. There is
a reason foam board is used to insulate basement floor even though they
are over dirt. I agree it is not an even distribution, but there will
always be loss into the dirt.
Hot air is less dense than cold air so it rises. Heat (energy) travels
in every direction where there is less heat seeking equilibrium.
Foam will make a huge difference. The frost line here is 48" so that
means enough heat is lost for it to freeze. The ground will try to
absorb enough heat to replace that loss. That can be very expensive.
Our local post office has a concrete ramp entrance done. I think it is
electric though. It does an excellent job of keeping it clear
especially since we've had over 8' of snow this year.
If you can operate it for less than $20 a snowfall, I'd say it is a good
deal to save a lot of labor, either yours or a contractor.
Many years ago, I heard that the Rochester, NY
bus garage, maybe they call it RGRTA, can't
remember, put in parking lot heaters. They found
it cheaper and easier than plowing and snow moval.
I don't have any real data, your google fu might
be far better than mine.
No experience... but I would have to think about where the melted runoff
Slope: no problem, I would think...
Dead Flat: I'd worry about pooling and freezing - especially after
repeated snowfalls with no thaws between.
I service machines over a wide area near pittsburgh. One day I saw them exeecavating for a home on a big hill. the driveway was steep. seeing this I wondered what the homeowner would do........ the driveway was gravel, and thats hard to shovel.
the next summer I went by and they were execavating the drive way. ended up back in that area frequently...
they dug it out, then added some sort of foam insulation. PEX loops/
back in area the next day the concrete truck was doing its job.
i went back several times, it had snowed. no snow on that driveway
that spring I saw the family fixing up their yard so i stopped and asked how theheatd driveway was doing.
they loved it and said energy costs werent too bad since it just had to be warmer than freezing.
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