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anybody with input on snowmelt systems

Tim Doran
Tim Doran Member Posts: 208
Ken old buddy, hate to bang heads with you but! How much wider spacing can you use with copper while still getting the same performance of pex at say six inches on center? Copper is about three times the cost of pex currently. Can the amount of tube be reduced by 2/3? What about installation time and labor rates, fittings and solder joints vs. simple bends?

Pex is regularly installed under asphault and there are specific guidelines to follow to ensure success. Anyone interested in a system should find a pro in your area that uses Uponor products and they will have the info or will be able to get it from technical services.

Tim D.


  • david_36
    david_36 Member Posts: 2
    snowmelt under blacktop

    i am looking to install a new driveway with a snowmelt system. i have been speaking to some paving companies, and they tell me that the procedure is to put down RCA (recycled concrete) under the blacktop. questions: is it doable? does the pex go under the RCA or above? when they pour asphalt at about 350 degrees,can the pex handle the heat? won't the pex get crushed when they use the 10,000 lb roller? any info would be helpfull. thx in advance.
  • Eric_25
    Eric_25 Member Posts: 79

    We normally lay the tubing and have a "mud" layer of concrete poured and then asphalt over that, I have seen some installed in a bed of sand with a 2-3" layer of sand over the top to insulate the tubing from the asphalt, insulate being the derogitory term here.

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  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    The only way I would

    think about doing it your way, would be to run ambient temperature water through the PEX to keep it cool. No plastic pipe can tolerate 350+.

    Steel or copper would however! If you can afford a radiant snow melt, the cost of copper is not that prohibitive, especially if one considers the wider spacings copper affords (thereby using less material).

    Food for thought
  • Nick Ciasullo
    Nick Ciasullo Member Posts: 44

    You need to put a layer of something between the tubing and the asphalt. Not only can the PEX not handle the temperature, it is an oil based product and will break down over time if in touch with the asphalt. Usually I suggest putting down stone, PEX, more stone, than asphalt. Make sure the tubing is under pressure before the asphalt is installed. You may want to look at Onix - you can drive a truck over it and the tubing won't crush. Lastly, you may want to choose cement instead of asphalt. It transfers energy much better. You can melt two to three times as fast in concrete.

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