Living in any one of the northern states can be brutal in the winter. I live in Michigan and the air coming off the Great Lakes can be extremely cold. It’s no fun in the sun here and it’s especially no fun waking up on a cold December morning and having to shovel several inches of snow out of the driveway. Snow removal can be a back-breaking task and some elderly people and those with disabilities may not be able to do it themselves. Installing a heated driveway system could be the answer to your snow removal dilemma. Here’s an overview of the costs and considerations of having a heated driveway installed.
You can install a heated driveway yourself if you have basic construction skills, know how to pour concrete or asphalt, and are willing to learn about radiant heating systems. Even if you hire a professional to install the system, you can save money by doing the demolition yourself. Rent a jackhammer and maybe a diamond cutter to break up the existing driveway and simply haul it off.
The Cost of a Heated Driveway
The cost to install a heated driveway system will depend on the type of driveway you have. The price is much higher to install under an asphalt driveway than to install under concrete. A rough estimate for a heated driveway installation under asphalt is $8,000-$10,0000, and under concrete is $5,000-$7,500. You are looking at around $12-$21 per square foot. This is obviously an expensive project, however, if your driveway is in need of repair or needs replaced, this would be a great time to consider having the radiant heating system installed.
The Cost of Operating a Heated Driveway
The cost to operate and run a heated driveway will depend on how severe the winter is where you live and the rate of electricity in your state/county. For instance, if you live in New York, the cost to run a heated driveway will be much higher than living in a warmer climate and where the cost of living and energy bills are lower. On average, the operating cost is $.10-$.50 per square foot.
How Long Is the Installation Process?
If you decide to install a heated driveway yourself, the amount of time it takes will depend on your knowledge and skill level, as well as your availability and commitment to the project. If you hire a professional, an average heated driveway, including demolition of old driveway, can be done in as little as 3-4 days. This would also depend on if there is any days of inclement weather, the time of delivery for asphalt or concrete, and how fast and efficient the hired company is.
Where Can a Radiant Heating System Be Installed?
Your driveway is not the only place you can install a radiant heating system. You can also install a system to heat anywhere you want the snow to be melted. This includes sidewalks, decks, and patios. Basically, it can be installed any place you do not want to have to physically remove snow yourself; you can have a radiant heating system installed and never have to worry about slipping on an icy or snow-covered surface.
Most systems come with an automated system which will operate and melt the snow and ice without you being home. Whether you are on vacation for the holidays or the snow falls while you are at work, the system will activate and you will come home to a snow-free driveway.
Heated driveway systems are, for the most, maintenance-free. Most radiant heating systems today are electrical. Any repairs usually involve the components located on the control board and minor electrical issues could occur as with any electrical system. The electronic control board is typically mounted in the garage for easy access and to protect it from the elements.
Other Options to Consider
If you cannot afford to have a full-fledged system installed, another option is to purchase portable heated driveway mats. This still isn’t a cheap option, however, mats are considerably less expensive than a complete system. Heated driveway mats can range in price from $1,600 to $2,500 depending on the size. You can also measure the area you want to install the mats and have them custom-made.