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Heated Driveway - Boston Area

kevin coppinger_4
kevin coppinger_4 Member Posts: 2,124
probably need another boiler just to do the snowmelt. It won't be a inexpensive job....kpc

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  • Susan_13
    Susan_13 Member Posts: 7
    Heated Driveway - Boston Area

    It has been awhile since I visited this site and took advantage of the advice given. We completed our project with professional help and your guidance. Thanks.

    During my last visit, I became interested in snow melt (I think that is correct). We will be replacing our driveway soon and it looks like we have a broken pipe at midpoint into the street. The driveway is single car wide and 3+ car lenghts long. The house is heated with oil fired single pipe steam. We did add base board hot water off the steam boiler.

    My SWAG for the project is $20,000 asuming neither city nor insurance helps with the cost; quoting to follow. We would like to stay in the house through retirement years and this seems to make sense.

    What do you think?

    Regards & thanks.


  • LarryC_3
    LarryC_3 Member Posts: 3
    Snow melt driveway

    Realize that you will need to dig down to below the frost line (4 feet?) in order to get a stable base to eliminate frost heaves. Do you see many concrete driveways in your area? Do you have Solar already for the house?

  • it's much more economical to plow.

    If economy is not the deciding factor, and you've got the cash for what is most likely an entirely separate hydronic system including a boiler, then go to it!
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935
    boston snow?

    i didn't even know it snows there?

    how much do you get? how about a small snowblower? my grandfather shoveled well into his 90's.
  • Susan_13
    Susan_13 Member Posts: 7

    Plowing would be great but, I have a 1-car wide driveway which usually has cars in it when it snows. But you bring up a good point. Maybe I will contact some snow plow people and their ideas.

  • neighborhood teenager with a shovel?

  • Boston is still new england JP, it may not snow like it used to, but it can still dump there for sure.
  • Susan_13
    Susan_13 Member Posts: 7

    No concrete driveways, all asphalt. This is an circa 1920's neighborhood with not much space between houses. This is not McMansion city by any means. Four feet down might give us a problem as a neighbor's retaining wall abuts one side and the house and th fieldstone foundation the other. And I do mean abuts. . .
  • Mitch_6
    Mitch_6 Member Posts: 549
    You will need a new FHW boiler for the snow melt

    system 20K is a starting number and will most likely go up from there.

    Also you are heating the whole out doors while the system runs and they start running when they feel conditions are right for snow it may not even be snowing.

    Great systems but not for those on a budget.

    Good luck.

    Mitch S.

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  • Steven Gronski_2
    Steven Gronski_2 Member Posts: 1
    Driveway snow melt costs

    Hi Susan,
    It sounds like your driveway is about 500 square feet.I just did one this size and I can give you an idea on the cost to install it and what the customer used in used in fuelto snow melt 3 storms this year.

  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935
    Please tell

    not interested in installation cost, but I am curious in costs to run system?

    i have a feeling this is a well kepth secrete with these installations.

  • from the anecdotes I hear, about the same as it costs to plow. a fellow with an "average" driveway in maine is saying it costs him about $50/storm, for instance.

    but plowing doesn't cost you the bundle up front.
  • Chris_82
    Chris_82 Member Posts: 321

    Its more like four inches! A foot for excavation, 2" of the blue foam, wire mesh, and 4-6 inches of spec concrete and your set for 30 years. Personally it think it's bad for the enviorment, but this pays the bills. I would recommend if you don't know or havent done this work before you limit your digging down to four feet to your own yard and let us know how it works out.
  • Chris_82
    Chris_82 Member Posts: 321

    50? try more like 250.00 they are way past expensive and use enourmous amounts of energy. I'm sure someone will jump on me with their factory calculations...but in conversations with those former customers, to whom the envornment and energy costs are not a concern, we are talking thousands per season. We did one job however in Vermont, where we have 20,000 gallons of solar heated h20 which heats up their drivway nicely and when the storage capacity drops they get a plow rather than a standby. But not every one has the motivation to drop six large concrete tanks in there back yard.
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    Susan, contact the Boy Scouts...

    there are plenty of young guys willing to do a bit of snow shoveling in the winter...some of them might just be able to get the roof shoveled along with it...*~/:)

    to go Hemmingway on you for a momment...

    The Son also Rises :)

    maybe one of these young guys will come back in their twenties and completely revamp the yard , driveway and re shingle the roof :)
  • Susan_13
    Susan_13 Member Posts: 7

    Thank you all, this has been a great discussion. In the end, I agree with the argument regarding a waste of resources. The last thing I want to do is put this in and then guilty and not use it. I figure for my small driveway (~1000 square feet) I'll outsource the job. For now, we will continue to shovel and snowblow -- but not this weekend as I hear the sun is finally going to shine.

  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935

    what people do to avoid a little good old fashion hard work, no wonder sooooo many people are over weight.
  • Susan_13
    Susan_13 Member Posts: 7

    Ok, Mr. J-P now you've gone too far! I am not overweight nor am I lazy. I work out 30 to 70 mintues each day,
    cardio and free weights. I carefully monitor my calories and consume 1000 - 1200 per day. I am not afraid of hard work and, in fact, repointed my cellar and used 8 50-gallon pails of water stopping cement.

    So -- take that!

  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935

    You got me :)

    you must be skinny, my dogs consume more calories than that!!!

    got you beat though, I snowblow an 800 ft driveway, up hill :)
  • brucewo1b
    brucewo1b Member Posts: 638
    got you beat though, I snowblow an 800 ft driveway, up hill :)

    I suppose thats up hill both ways ;-)
  • Uni R_3
    Uni R_3 Member Posts: 299
    One other thought...

    I'll bet electric snow melt would be far cheaper to install. This would strictly be an emergency snowmelt system due to the high costs of operation. You'd still be best to hire someone to shovel, but if for any reason the driveway ever got severely iced - then you could spin your electric meter - far better than risking a hip replacement after you've aged more and your mobility has started to be more of a challenge and might require more or different types of assistance.
  • Interesting to hear

    how these conversations change over time; a few years ago, everyone was talking snow melt and no one raised an eyebrow. I could never understand just how we could wean ourselves off imported oil and still be getting excited about snow melt.

    It's nice to see that we are starting to question the way we do things.

  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    Hey Alan

    How are things ? Hav'nt seen you postf or awhile, its good to know your still around.

    Lobsters still taste great out here :)

    There has been a slight shift in the wall towards getting green and doing something about how we use fuel. Its in all of our best interest.

    Thats how it should be for the best and brightest!!


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  • laurence salvatore_2
    laurence salvatore_2 Member Posts: 86
    carbon signature

    I don't think these guys fully grasp what its like clearing an urban driveway that is really a trench bounded by your house on one side; your neighbor's wall ,cars bushes ect. on the other; a garage plugging the back, and the only place to put the snow is all the way out by the street while you squeeze down the edge shovel by shovel being careful not to marr the cars. As far as energy use, I justifiied mine by doing the following: A)You will need a dedicated boiler as I did. It is on a switch. When it looks like its going to snow I turn it on, no robots guessing. When the snow is melted or the storm doesn't spool up I turn it off. B) If your drive way is in the sun for some part of the day like mine,you can use it to tempre or heat domestic hot water by adding a couple of valves and controls. On sunny days in the the sun makes more domestic hot water than my three teens can use. My neighbor Sam uses his driveway to heat his pool. E mail me if you want to go over the domestic hot water option

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  • we have a system going that does the pool heating thing too. Driveways can make decent solar collectors it seems. The DHW idea is a good one, since if you have a big boy boiler there for snowmelt, might as well use it for DHW too and *really* right size your heating appliance for the house.

    But it does seem a bit disingenuous to sell it on energy efficiency, then use it to melt snow. I could see the arguement though.. it wouldn't really be cost effective to pipe a driveway as a solar collector in most cases, but if you do it for snowmelt you could offset some of the energy usage by heating your DHW during the summer.

    Be far better to put up solar panels for a DHW system year round though, and skip the snowmelt.
  • Susan_13
    Susan_13 Member Posts: 7

    How about both? Garage at back of drive has southern exposure roof. This is a small driveway but a big pain to clear as Larry so well describes. Maybe we could even warm up the garage a bit for the "car guy" in the family. . .
  • Nron_13
    Nron_13 Member Posts: 164
    Hi Susan

    > How about both? Garage at back of drive has

    > southern exposure roof. This is a small driveway

    > but a big pain to clear as Larry so well

    > describes. Maybe we could even warm up the

    > garage a bit for the "car guy" in the family. . .

  • Nron_13
    Nron_13 Member Posts: 164
    Hi Susan

    Ice melt does require some design and prep make sure you allow for the run off as well. I would recomend that you prep the slab for an ice melt system that way if you decide you want it that part is done , also for future when your older it can add to the safty of your home and is a good selling feature for upgrades possible to your home if you decide to sell , never let the ice melt system idle in winter , have it set up as a demand base sytem only and I can be designed around 100-200 btus per/sqft thats 50.000 to 100,000 btus for 500 sq/ft
This discussion has been closed.