Driveway, Ramp and Walkway heating or de-icing
The robust heating wire systems are suitable to protect driveways, car parks, pathways, steps, loading ramps and bridges. When used in conjunction with intelligent thermostats they provide an energy efficient and fully automated heating system. Heat Mat’s Scandinavian designed Ice & Snow melting systems can be used beneath virtually any surface to ensure it remains free from dangerous ice and snow build-up.
Custom made ice and snow melting thermostats monitor both the ground temperature and the moisture level to ensure that they only operate when they are really needed. The thermostats are fully programmable and can be set up for the specific local conditions as required.
In addition to ensuring that driveways and walkways remain free of dangerous ice and snow build-up the heating systems also prevent the need to use salt to keep areas clear, minimising costs and also ensuring both the road surface and the surrounding environment are not damaged or contaminated by salt build-up.
Why install a Heat Mat driveway de-icing system?
- Improved safety for vehicles and pedestrians as surfaces are automatically safe to drive and walk on
- Automated clearance of ice and snow, ensuring that Health and Safety requirements can be met and that the first person on site does not have to make the area safe
- Surfaces (particularly concrete) are not damaged by grit and salt, and are also protected from the normal freeze/thaw activity in winter
- Specialist cables for use with hot asphalt are available - ideal for use under tarmac drives, concrete or block paving
- The surrounding ground and waterways are protected from salt pollution
- A number of different sensors and timers can be combined to ensure that the system only operates when it is required, minimising energy usage
- Entirely maintenance free. Once the system is installed there is no requirement for any maintenance work and some systems include an automatic alarm warning if the system fails, for whatever reason
- A tried and trusted system. These systems have been used in Scandinavia for more than a decade and have proved their worth in extreme temperatures and weather conditions
Choice of output
For normal installations we recommend an output of around 270W/sqm which provides a good balance between speed of operation and power requirements. Often the limiting factor to the size of area which can be heated is the available power supply on site, and with restricted power supplies it is often possible to specify a lower powered system which will still clear the ice and snow.
Tyre track heating
Where a long driveway requires heating it is quite acceptable to simply heat two tyre tracks, leaving other areas unheated. This saves on the power requirements, and installation and running costs, and it allows longer driveways to be heated than would otherwise be possible.
Drainage channel heating
When heating a driveway or path area, it is vital to ensure that the water can safely run away and does not become pooled to then refreeze. When heating a driveway area, we recommend that trace heating cables are installed into the drainage channels to ensure complete clearance.
There are a number of different installation methods, although all of them involve fixing down outdoor heating cable to Heat Fix metal bands or zip-tying it onto reinforcement mesh. A rough overview of the three most popular installation methods is detailed below; please contact Heat Mat technical support for more details.
Hot asphalt can be poured directly on top of our driveway heating cables, which offers a huge advantage over conventional systems. The base layer that the cables are going to be placed onto should be firm, level and should not contain any sharp elements which could damage the cable. A flexible wire mesh should be placed in 1.2m strips across the area to be heated, with 2m between each strip. The cables can then be cable tied onto the mesh at the appropriate spacing. The coldtail connection and coldtail lead are not designed to come into direct contact with hot asphalt so these should be covered with tile adhesive, cement or cold asphalt ahead of covering the main area. Once the coldtail connection and coldtail lead are suitably protected, a minimum depth of 50mm of hot asphalt can be poured on top of the remainder of the system and hand-compacted if required. If a resin finish is desired this can be laid once the asphalt has cooled.
Care must be taken not to drop any paving slabs onto the cable during installation as these could damage the heating system. The normal method of installation would be to level the current surface and lay a 60mm layer of sand/grit then compact this as required. A flexible 1.2m wide wire mesh is then laid on top, with 2m between each run, and the heating cables are cable tied in place. A further 40-50mm layer of sand/grit is then laid on top of the cables and this layer is compacted by hand to ensure no damage. Block paving can then be laid; to achieve the greatest benefit from the heating system, blocks should be no more than 80mm thick.
Heating cables are often installed into concrete bases as concrete is particularly prone to damage from rock salt and freeze/thaw activity. The standard installation method would be to level the existing base and place a reinforcement fabric or rebar grid onto this layer. The grid should be raised at least 10mm above the base layer to allow total encapsulation of the cable by the concrete. The cables should be cable-tied in place on the grid at the appropriate spacing. There is no need to provide any additional protection to the coldtail connection or coldtail itself. The concrete can now be poured and it should form a layer with a minimum depth of 50mm; the concrete mix must not include sharp aggregate as this could damage the cables.