Don’t Shovel Snow; Build an Epic Melt System!

When [Ronald Walters] was building a new house, he decided he didn’t want to shovel snow anymore. So he built a snow melt system under his new driveway. He knew the system would be expensive to operate, but he reasoned it was cheaper than back surgery and much cheaper than having a heart attack.

The system uses PEX pipe on rebar and insulation that is all set down before the concrete in the driveway. An instant-on water heater produces the heat that melts the snow and ice off [Ronald’s] driveway with no shoveling required. The working fluid includes anti-freeze, of course, and there is a set of pumps, flow valves, and flow meters to keep everything flowing when the system is in operation.

You might wonder why you need so much hardware just to push some hot water under concrete. Remember, if you heat concrete too fast, it will crack. By controlling the flow rate, the input temperature, and the temperature of the return fluid, [Ronald] can monitor the rate of heating to prevent problems.

The system has over 1,400 feet of PEX in eight separate loops. Since it would be hard to repair anything under the concrete, each loop has no breaks or joints. The system’s been keeping [Ronald’s] drive clear for ten years.

This project would be difficult to adapt to an existing driveway, but maybe not impossible. However, you can always opt for a robot snowblower. Of course, you could just learn to love the snow and play high-voltage music until it clears on its own.

Thanks to [Alexander Riccio] for the tip!

156 thoughts on “Don’t Shovel Snow; Build an Epic Melt System!

      1. Yes, heating mats in the sidewalks and garage ramps is a big deal in TO, MTL, etc. It’s a luxury premium on Condo buildings and such.

        There is one thing to bear in mind with the resistance mat or hot water systems: once they break, they are so costly to repair that building owners tend to abandon them.

        Their greatest value is at the ramped entrance to underground parking or at the pedestrian area in front of a main entrance.

  1. My granddad had electric heating coils in his driveway, which was on a long, steep hill, that he could turn on in the winter to clear the snow. He had it put in when the driveway was last repaved which would have been in the late 70’s or early 80’s.

    1. There’s also concrete with iron filings and carbon mixed in for 20% of the filler material that makes the concrete itself conductive, turning the driveway into a heating element without wires or water pipes.

      You leave a piece of rebar in both ends of the slab and pass a low-voltage AC current through.

        1. It might “sound” scientific, but it’s defficient in math. The most efficient way to convert the radiation (sunshine) into ice melting is direct: i.e. black pavement, and a dark dust un top of the snow.

          the silly way would be to use PV panels of an infinite quantity.

          By and large whenever I meet someone who thinks they’re doing eco-think, it usually comes with an inability to count once they run out of fingers and toes.

        1. Wind or solar power is much too expensive to spend on heating. One kWh from solar is 23 cents and from wind it’s about 3 cents – on top of the retail price you pay for the power – due to the state/federal and local subsidies paid on them. That’s at least according to EPA statistics.

          Gas from the pipeline costs about 1.6 cents a kWh.

          You hear a lot about how the levelized cost of wind/solar power is going down, but in reality we’re still paying ridiculous amounts to the companies that produce them. In Texas some utilities are even giving away power for free to customers at night so they can keep the turbines spinning despite a lack of demand, just to collect the subsidies.

          1. solar isn’t expensive for hackers.

            you can buy 100% equipment (inverter, panels, conductors, racking) on the internet for $1.00/Wp from wholesalers.

            @ a conservative 1100 kWh/yr-kW output you will get a cost of $0.06/kWh including inverter replacement and a conservative 20 year life time estimate. $1350/(1100*20) This doesn’t even include the 30% tax rebate. aka, zero subsidy installation. Subsidies don’t lower costs. They increase profits.

            All costs on top of a $1000/ per 6-10kW per day installation or interconnection fee are artificial. In a stable industry it will cost $1000-$2000 per system for install costs. That still gives power cheaper than delivered power in every state in the US.

            Amortizing the cost of a system to displace utility power and virtually all residential power consumers in the country have a cashflow positive (annualized) investment.

            There are no technical or economic barriers to solar energy. They are institutional and regulatory.

          2. >”you can buy 100% equipment (inverter, panels, conductors, racking) on the internet for $1.00/Wp from wholesalers. ”

            1 Watt-peak worth of a solar system will only make over 1 kWh of electricity in a year if you’re living in southern California. But le’ts assume so. That makes it a dollar per kWh divided by how many years you use it.

            >”There are no technical or economic barriers to solar energy. They are institutional and regulatory.”

            There is still the requirement for batteries, which is a massive technological, economic, and resource supply issue. Otherwise you get the “duckbill” problem, because everybody’s making more power than they need in the middle of the day and nobody’s buying it off the grid. Then after the solar peak passes, everybody’s buying and nobody’s producing.

            In the current regime, utilities are forced to buy the power off of you at retail rate because of net metering laws. You give them power for free, and they give you power for free, and they have to figure out what to do with it and who to sell it to. That doesn’t solve the problem – it just hides it until enough people have solar panels that the grids can’t handle it anymore.

          3. You’d think that the supply/demand problem is solved because hey, everyone’s pushing power so it becomes very cheap, so you can buy it and pump water up a hill or make shoes with it.

            But the price is cheap only because the electricity is already paid for through subsidies. It’s not actually cheap because you’re still paying for it – or rather, everyone’s paying for it through a massive wealth-redistribution scheme from the many to the few. It’s a reverse-robin-hood tax that benefits the big investors in solar energy.

            If the solar power producers were exposed directly to the free market, they’d outcompete themselves out of it exactly because everyone’s always producing at the same time and nobody has any control over it. Hence why it only works through government subsidies, which break the whole system and the grid along with it.

            So if you want to figure out how much solar energy would cost you – factor in the taxes and wealth re-distribution you pay for the use of the “virtual battery” on the grid. Otherwise, factor in the cost of buying real batteries, so you can heat your driveway in the winter with solar energy you made in the summer.

            Not so cheap then, is it?

          4. There are several homes in my area (Montreal, Quebec) with solar hot water systems installed on the roofs and snow accumulation is not a major issue. Both the angle of the collector and the fact that it’s facing south mean that it’s naturally kept clean

          5. Annie says:
            January 25, 2016 at 8:02 am
            “Simple! Use heaters to melt the snow.”
            Haaa ok, I understand now, I need to heat the driveway AND the roof to get some economy with solar since it’s free energy.
            >facepalm<

            Ah, really? You responded seriously to my comment? A facepalm to show how ridiculous my comment was? It was a joke, made obvious (to most) by "Turtles all the way down" because it would be a series of identical solutions repeatedly and ineffectively solving the same problem. The newest solar panel would collect snow, so set up another panel to collect solar energy to heat the last panel…

          6. There sure seems to be a lot of hate for this guy who spent a lot of time and money to save himself a lot of physical work. That seems like a worthwhile hack to me, I commend him for that. The only things I’d do differently when building my own house would be to have it heated via Ground Source Heat Pump. GSHPs are usually very expensive, but these guys have done it a lot cheaper and it’s working pretty well, especially if you take the time to read the entire thread in the forum. One guy in the forum went from $800/month fuel oil cost down to a few hundred to heat the same space.
            http://ecorenovator.org/diy-ground-source-heat-pump/
            Ideally I’d like to have the GSHP be powered from solar PV (yes, I’d have it fill a battery bank) and the hot water from the GSHP would be supplemented by solar hot water (occasionally cleaning snow off PV panels tilted at an angle is a lot easier than shoveling snow). I understand his desire for simplicity, but I’d probably have a little more automation, such as an electric valve to control flow. So I wouldn’t crack the concrete, I’d set it to run for 3 hours at 1 gallon per minute, then very very slowly increase the flow according to the charts he mentions, all while taking the ambient temp, and concrete temp into account.

            My system would be different from most since I’m looking at a place that’s far enough from the grid that solar is a viable option compared to paying the exorbitant fees the local utility would want to run power back to my preferred site. I only have grid power less than 12hrs a day now anyway, so very little lifestyle change would be needed. My system would also heat the entire house, just as the guys in the thread are doing. Note that I say that they are actually currently doing this well, this is not the stuff of dreamers. Also, the thread is not welcoming for talkers, if you have ideas, you’d better be showing how you’re testing / implementing them.

      1. In this icy conditions probably nobody would run barefoot and you can put up warning signs too. :-) Just apply sufficient voltage to get this ordinary moist concrete to heat up. :-) Though you may need a step up transformer from the quite low American mains voltage.

        1. Probably, if you’re trying to pass a significant current through plain moist concrete. The resistance is in the kilo-ohms, so your heating power will be only a few Watts. Concrete has a very low resistance of 1 Ohm-meters before it sets, because it’s very alkaline, but once it’s been curing for a few years the resistance climbs up.

          The problem becomes when the moisture evaporates, because unless the concrete is completely soaked through, it doesn’t conduct much. Suppose you have a 5 inch slab that’s only wet at the top half an inch – the resistance goes up by a factor of 10.

        2. Isn’t the normal household mains voltage in USA only 120V and “240V” only at a few special outlets?

          OK, it was 20 years ago, but when I have been to the states I have seen even room A/C units connected to a 120V socket – with a quite warm cable although it was thick enough to have at least 2,5mm² conductors.
          Here we have 230V standard and if you need higher power you use 3 phase 400V.

  2. A condo I had many years ago had electric coils to keep things clear – bit of a steep drive – nothing fancy just an on/off switch – – worked fine until someone switched it on in the spring – took a couple of three months before one of the board members noticed the high electric bill. We put a lock on the switch after that. I guess today it could be made fancier with some sort of snow detector and computer control

    1. Neat idea, but the snow reflects 90% of the energy.

      solar thermal application is good for this. Circulate water through a black solar thermal collector heat water and PEX in the slab. Even a ratty DIY solar thermal collector could achieve very high efficiency due to the low outlet temperatures needed to melt snow.

  3. 65 years ago my mother’s friend was married to a doctor in the Pittsburgh, PA area, whose house was on top of a hill. He installed a similar ‘heated driveway’ because as a doctor he frequently had to leave to tend to medical emergencies (we called these ‘house calls’) – the heated driveway was an elegant solution to keep his driveway clean.

    >

    1. Agreed, honestly, whats wrong with these people. I guess its a different story if theres half a meter of snow every morning (if it is, dont go live there and complain about snow you turd) but i estimate that isnt the case for most people here/mentioned.

      The only vaguely ‘okay’ case is the doctor somebody mentioned, hes kinda excused for wasting energy because we really need people like that to be able to respond quickly, but everybody else, just pick up a shovel or pay a neighbor kid 5 bucks to do it for you, jeez.

      Dont get me wrong, i dont hug trees or anything, but by god, anyone with an IQ over 5 can see this is a huge energy waste.

      1. I totally agree. This looks so Murica to me. Why not paying someone to do the shovelling for you, it must be cheaper than the system cost and the energy cost and its also environmentally friendly. What is wrong with this guy? Energy is still way to cheap if this is an affordable solution. I’m not a radical environment saver, but think about our children and grandchildren, maybe they want to live on this planet too.

        1. No, Energy is not “too cheap” it has its cost, and luckily the cost are not higher.

          If we would have stayed with manual labor for everything we would probably be “environmentally friendly” but have stayed at or little above the stone age.

      2. You really do like to talk out your ass, don’t you. This is an elegant solution, the operating cost is relatively low, it’s available 24/7 without reliance on a neighbourhood kid or snow removal company, and it’s a pretty neat hack. It’s easy to criticize, which is why there are so many people spouting the same idiotic nonsense “hurr durr just pay the neighbour kid $5” instead of appreciating the thinking and design that went into this.

        You’re a twitt.

  4. Many of the 100+ year old streets in Duluth MN use this same concept. They use steam however. Much easier to keep the many steep grade (some 30%+) snow and ice free than trying to keep it up with a snow plow. Much of the sidewalks around Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN do this as well.

          1. Global warming also creates worse winters, it’s adding energy to weather systems so making storms worse, rain heavier, etc. etc. not just making it sunnier everywhere.

    1. The rock salt we use on the roads here in Holland is not fit for human consumption. It’s also mixed with grit to maximize the effect. But whatever you do, don’t eat the yellow snow.

      1. That depends, as long as you remove most of the snow salt+bare ground can help a lot we had no problem with keeping asphalt ice free during a week of -18ºC. But that requires you to sweap the snow with brushes instead of only plowing it, also we didn’t have any major snowfall during that -18ºC sting.

        Sopsaltning:

        1. Yea, that wouldn’t work here in Canada where, during the winter time, temperatures hover around -20ºC to -25ºC much of the time and can reach as low as -35ºC fairly regularly… We do use salt, but it’s often times ineffective, so we use sand (or a mixture of both)…

          At -1ºC, a pound of salt can melt up to 46 pounds of snow/ice.
          At -4ºC, a pound of salt can melt up to 14 pounds of snow/ice. (see how quickly it starts dropping off?)
          At -7ºC, a pound of salt can melt up to 9 pounds of snow/ice.
          At -10ºC, a pound of salt can melt up to 6 pounds of snow/ice.
          At -12ºC, a pound of salt can melt up to 5 pounds of snow/ice.
          At -18ºC, a pound of salt can melt up to 4 pounds of snow/ice.
          At -21ºC, a pound of salt can melt up to 3 pounds of snow/ice.

          Any colder than that, and salt is ineffective, after -18ºC, it’s not worth salting roads because all that will happen is the salt will effective enough to melt the snow, but not effective enough to keep it melted and so it will become ice, which is FAR more dangerous for drivers than just snow…

          1. Nice table! Yeah this is mostly used for on and off weather were snow melts just enough to get really bad ice, or have foot traffic that compacts what little snow there is to and uneven icey surface. But snowfighting is an art it’s funny how people get surprised by it every year here down south.

            I prefer the more constant -20º up north.

        2. I agree that it can be effective if you can keep the ground bare… they do a good job around here, but sometimes you just can’t keep up (look at the US east coast storms this weekend… more than a meter of snow in some cities). Also, we recently went through about a week of closer to -30C here in the upper midwest.
          They use different blends of solid and liquid ice melt solutions depending on the temperature and forecast, but sometimes mother nature still wins.

  5. completely ridiculous use the energy of 3 or 4 house to melt the snow !!!! who this guy coming from !!!! If he want avoid hard attack a good starting is to do some exercises like shovel the snow and he can ask to his doctor what is good for for is health.

    1. Who YOU coming from!? I’m sure his doctor was clear about the back surgery he could look forward to if he had to keep shoveling. Strenuous exercise while injured? Get off your high horse.

    1. My (Dutch) town is connected to a regional central heating system. It serves many 100.000’s of people really well and it’s an efficient and relatively clean way to generate heat.

    2. We use district heating extensively here in Finland. It’s a very efficient and cheap way of heating a large number of buildings, especially since a lot of factories, recycling-centers and the likes can help supply the heat for the system since they generate a whole lot of heat anyways. District heating is an ecologically responsible method of heating.

      However, it is used for heating actual homes, not for heating people’s driveways…

    3. District heating of roads is used in conjunction with older less efficient CHP plants which do not recirculate the water but dump it back in a river/lake/sea after being used once.

      The water comes into the heating network pressurized at 110-120 C and then cools down along the way at each building. As it cools down, the heat exchangers become less and less effective until they can no longer provide the mandated 55+ C temperature.

      At this point the water begins the return journey, but it’s still considerably hot, or maybe the power output was more than needed and the water at the last building is still 70-80 C. They have to dissapate the heat somehow to have a permit to dump it – otherwise the fish would boil – so they waste the excess heat along the way by having sections of non-insulated pipes under roads. It’s a win-win because the heat is a loss anyways and the uninsulated return pipe is cheaper.

      In newer types of CHP or plain heating plants the residual heat is returned back to the plant where it lowers the amount of power necessary to keep the temperature up, and also acts as a kind of heat reservoir where the plant can dump excess power in response to demand shifts.

  6. As impresive as it is, the waste of energy, really doesn’t seems to be worth it.
    Why not installing a salt dispenser, or salt water sprinkler?
    Seems it would have been way more efficient ans easier to install…

  7. How much does it cost (or how many kWh) to melt the snow?
    How large is his driveway?

    You have to heat the concrete and the snow AND ensure the water runs off and doesn’t form an ice slide.

      1. Doesn’t have to be converted to steam. Or even be above freezing. “Heat” a slab of ice to higher temperature than ambient (even if both are still below the temperature for water freezing) and the ice will sublimate.

      2. Triple point of water is 0c, water starts to evaporate at any temperature above freezing. Hence why puddles disappear even though the pavement isn’t boiling. 100C is just the highest temperature you can have liquid water (at 1atm etc).

  8. I’ve been thinking about this for a while although I live in a place where it never snows. What about a double sided Archimedes screw, from side to side of the driveway, mounted on rails at each side so that it can move down the driveway? The Archimedes screw would move the snow to the sides as it proceeds, when the thing has finished it could slide down a compartment below the concrete floor. If that’s not enough, a spinning steel brush could be added to break ice sheets that might’ve formed. It would require far less work to install and far less energy to run.

    1. Yeah… that just seems like a lot of hassle once you factor in infrastructure and maintenance. Gonna have to break the existing concrete, trench the compartment, form and repour the compartment walls then install and deal with the tracks year round… plus a yearly service call by your local integrated snow removal system technician every fall right before the weather turns… etc.

  9. All of the whining in here over the environmental garbage is pretty sad. He pays for the energy, let him do with it as he pleases. I’m sure none of us in here have ever wasted energy on pointless projects that we never even finished.

    Nothing to add about the story really, except that up north a lot of homes are built on slabs to use just such a heating system, and it works very well. This system is normally connected to a wood burner though, and it is cheap to operate.

    The only problem I see with what this guy is doing is that all the water has to go somewhere, and if your drive is on a grade, you end up with a skating rink out in the street.

    1. The key is to melt the snow as it falls. I know a parking lot that has rather poorly insulated heat pipeline under it and the snow melts right away and then evaporates. (as it’s unintentional therefore low heat output – only to -5 degrees or so.) No ponds anywhere.

      1. That’s been my observation too in places where this is used to stop snow from accumulating, and this is here in Montreal, Quebec where we get a significant amount of snow.

        As for the energy costs – consider that plowing, the removal to snow dumps, the mining and transporting of salt and then spreading it, all have energy costs and I suspect, once you calculate those, along with transits for a given stretch of road, local heating may not ‘waste’ as much energy as everyone might think.

        1. I’ve never heard of a snow dump. Don’t they just pile it up at the side of the road? He can do the same, pile it on his garden or to one side of the drive or wherever. Then the sun comes out and it all evaporates. You don’t need to destroy the snow, just move it.

          1. We have 11 of them on the island of Montreal and they are quite common in urban areas up here. The snow that is shoveled out of driveways also is generally piled at the roadside and it too is removed to the dumps during cleanup. As for the sun coming out to evaporate it – that doesn’t happen here until April. Your remarks seem to indicate you don’t really understand what living in a high snow area is about.

          2. Back in the Sixties, before they started going nuts with salt, a couple of communities on the West Island used to make toboggan hills with the dumped snow. I recall one in Pierrefonds in particular being quite magnificent (to my young eyes) one year.

            There was also some plan being bandied about in the early Eighties that would use these dumps as heat sinks for some sort of distributed chilled water system to supply A/C to large buildings in the Summer, but apparently nothing much came of it

          3. Greenaum – Easier said then done. My experience here in USA, the huge snow plows just compact the snow to the curbs in high piles. Since the snow is white it just reflects the sun’s rays. And the compaction makes it even more resilient to melting. The dirt contamination doesn’t seem to help either. I’ve seen some really “rad” devices here in the Northeast that dump trucks carry the snow to a massive propane fueled heat-melter and turns it into water for the storm drains to the river. Otherwise the snow dumps grow to mountains. Early in 2015 it was outrageous here. This year is much more milder for New England, BUT not for NYC south to DC.It was massive again.

            I would think if you break up a bag of charcoal into a powder, one could make the snow dumps much more heat responsive to solar energy. Your driveway would be a black mess for awhile. Also if there was a way to focus the sun’s rays on the black mess while the solar rays naturally moved from west to east (as the sun moved east to west). I wish there was a way to capture the sun’s rays for aiming like in the James Bond movie:

    2. >”. He pays for the energy, let him do with it as he pleases.”

      He’s paying to waste energy, which increases the cost of energy for the rest because there’s a marginal cost of production effect in all energy production: the more you have to make the more it costs to make more.

      Especially in the snowy season, because usually when its cold enough to snow the people turn on their heating systems, so he’s adding to the problem of meeting peak demand.

      1. Besides that, the consumer price of energy doesn’t take into account things that are “free”, like clean air and not having the climate wrecked over the next few decades. Because, at least partly, energy companies are gigantic and influence governments.

        Sure I might waste a few joules soldering up a project, but this is pumping millions of them into thin air, just so the lazy sod doesn’t have to clear his drive.

        If he’d used ingenuity and effort, to create some sort of mechanical snow-removing system, I’d be impressed. But this is just dumping heat into snow. Outdoor heating seemed a good idea in the 1950s when we were masters of the world and didn’t know any better, when we really thought we’d have infinite supplies of energy. Now, we know better. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s wise. Just because he pays for it doesn’t mean he’s meeting his responsibilities.

        Perhaps the poor sods, formerly of Tuvalu, whose country has pretty much disappeared under water, can come live in his spare bedroom? Then I’d accept he’s “paying” for what he uses.

        1. Jesus… he’s using an instant hot water supply that is pretty damn efficient.

          Sometimes I’m amazed ya’all can ride your high-horses around the way you do with those sticks up your asses.

          Be happy… he’s old and found a way to reduce his risk of heart attack at a high risk time when emergency services are at just as much of a disadvantage as any other motorist.

          I’d like to do a similar geothermally powered system but fear the hate I’d get for the needless waste of plastic tubing or how unhappy it makes the planet to have holes drilled into it.

          1. There is no ‘large amount of fossil fuels’ used here… you’ve just stated that the point you take issue with is the method used to generate the hot water- fact of the matter is that more energy was used in the production of the PEX than will ever actually be used by the unit itself over the course of it’s functional life. I have one of those hot water heaters and yeah- they work and they’re cheap. I’m assuming that it’s a closed loop system so once it gets to temp it only has to provide maintenance heat lowering the energy use even future.

            Even geothermal is going to require external input even if just to run the pump (winter so solar won’t work) and thats likely on par with the energy consumption of the tankless hot water heater. On top of that geothermal water will be less heated than the tankless, reducing efficiency and increasing energy expense.

  10. One of the few good uses of a Thankless water heater. Shovel? Most snow sweeps away with the least of effort. Get a kitchen broom made of plastic, unless it’s wet or heavy.

  11. I admire the engineering that went into this project – but the cost and energy to run! I mean, if he paid a neighborhood kid whatever the going rate is to clear the driveway, I’ll bet he would get a lifetime of cleared snow for the cost of running this just a handful of times.

  12. I pondered this when I built my house in the early 80s. (It’s orientation was optimized for solar hot water/heating in back, so the front yard/driveway was, alas, maximally shadowed) I decided it would be cheaper/more efficient in the long run just to build a covered driveway — like a covered bridge. I decided against doing this in my specific situation, but I’m surprised others don’t do it.

  13. I could see him in my mind’s eye:
    He sits back in his chair and drinks a coke to the ordered chicken wings. He is watching the snow melting and after a cigaret he thinks: “Finally I cheated the death!”.

    I wish I could astonished about the engineering part. Couldn’t he use a renewable energy source?

    A proposal for the next Hackaday Prize:
    “Build a unhealthy maschine that wastes a lot of energy.”

    1. Even burning wood would be good. That’s renewable. If he lives near some woods he could go for a walk, pick himself up some fuel. My great-grandmother used to go stick collecting in her 70s, she could walk a lot farther than I could as a kid. That’ll do his heart more good that sitting on his central-heated arse.

        1. For unfit people, regular, gentle exercise, is much better than irregular heavy exercise. Shovelling snow might actually kill him if he’s that unfit.

          But the answer to that, is go do a bit of walking, the lazy old fucker. Walk instead of driving, so he won’t need his car. Or pay a neighbourhood kid to do it for him, probably even be cheaper.

          1. Yeah but the problem is, the planet is a little bit fucked, so we kind of have to do our best not to make things worse. While I’m stuck living here, what someone dumps into the atmosphere is my business, and everyone else’s.

  14. He hates oil and the environment so much he drives his Ford Expedition – after idling for 20 minutes after using his remote car starter to melt all the ice off the windows – on his heated, almost level, driveway from the garage to his mail box to get the mail every morning. And he drives his Ford Expedition to check his mail box after lunch for flyers.

    1. As others have said, most of the water evaporates as the system is run during the snowfall, not after when there is accumulation. This being the case I also expect the actual energy cost per event is not as large as some here assume. Furthermore the energy is being used to do useful work and therefore cannot be deemed ‘wasted’ per se.

      1. “Furthermore the energy is being used to do useful work and therefore cannot be deemed ‘wasted’ per se.”
        Yeah OK.. useful,.. as if the guy is going to walk on the area all day.

        It’s in fact a ridiculous waste of energy if it’s not a runway or some other heavily used thing that services many.

        1. And just think of the energy wasted to run your computer or smartphone so you can post “useful” comments. Why bother allowing anyone to have any utility hookups at all? It’s not like a house is a hotel or other heavily used thing that services many.

          1. Because people need houses to live in. Nobody needs a heated driveway. As far as computers go, beside their important place in social and economic activity, they use a tiny fraction of the energy that heating up someone’s drive does.

          2. Apart from what Greenaum so nicely pointed out I have to say that I use 100% so named ‘green’ power.

            As for this guy, who knows, but I would not be surprised if he uses coal-based power..
            However, if you are up north in the US or in canada you might use 100% water-generated power, in which case of course all my criticism will melt like snow..

            And on a related note, I saw a thing coming by about conductive concrete just now.. makes you wonder what the possibilities are with that in relation to snow (if you have clean power – and the money to pay for it).

  15. So, some people have mentioned using electric wire rather than circulating water. What’s more efficient and cost effective? I’m guessing that wire is more efficient if your only option is an electric water heater, but water is probably better if you can use a gas heater?

  16. Brilliant. Looks like a very efficient solution to a recurring problem.

    Why do people here like salt so much? Groundwater runoff from all that can’t be good for the animals. Get off your high horses. Hi Annie.

  17. Is there a way to harness the power of the microwave oven transmitter at 12 cm and use it as a remote snow melter? 12 cm will heat water to evaporation and snow is made of water. Of course the wave-guide would need to be aimed down, all personnel and pets need to be evacuated, and the operator would need to wear protective clothing and eye wear. If it could be operated via a iRobot type device in a animal and human-free area then maybe it might work safely. However, it sounds too dangerous and fraught with personal i=eye-injury lawsuits lining up. Just brainstorming. I’ve heard of our US military using similar devices called DEW. Not sure how they protect personnel from the collateral rays.

      1. You’d have to have a shielded door with an electrical interlock to prevent your eyes from cooking like eggs. With all of the snow coming down the chute and the water coming out the bottom, I’d think you’d just make your hot cocoa inside the house. I predict my invention should not be used under 32° F (0° C) as the melted snow would turn to ice and you would slip and fall.

      1. I thought of that as I do have 2 Toros. However, the ATV is about 3-4-1/2 feet across the front and the Toros only are about 1-1/2 foot across. Would probably need 3-Toros to clear a path for the ATV. Look at the YouTube I posted next that shows a RoboPlow. That’s what I’d like to emulate. However mine would have no lift for the blade.

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