Pros and Cons of a Heated Driveway

With winter coming, you may be dreading the inevitable snow shoveling that comes along with the chilly season. A heated driveway could be the answer to your problems, however, it’s not without its drawbacks. Learn about what a heated driveway is and what the pros and cons are below.

What is a heated driveway?

Heated driveways come in two options—hydronic and electric coil systems. Hydronic systems use a boiler to pump anti-freeze through a PVC tubing that is installed under the surface of your concrete. These tubes are arranged in a spiral or wave configuration to promote even heat distribution throughout the driveway. The electric coil system uses metal heating cables that are installed under your pavement. These coils are usually controlled by a control unit mounted on your garage wall.

PROS

1. No more shoveling!

The biggest sell for a heated driveway is definitely the convenience they provide. Say goodbye to early morning snow shoveling just to get your car out of the garage! With a heated driveway, you get the convenience of snow and ice being melted quickly with minimal effort. You can program your heated driveway so that it operates automatically when the temperature changes. Shoveling in snowy weather can potentially be dangerous, as you labor in freezing and slippery conditions. Put down the shovel for good and flip the switch on your heated driveway this winter. Wake up to fresh snow, and a cleaned off ice-free driveway.

2. Less salt damages.

Ice buildup usually requires that you pour rock salt on your driveway and walkways. Salt, calcium chloride, and deicer can get rid of ice and snow, but they can also be harmful to the environment and to your concrete. Salt can get trapped in concrete and cause deuteriation—to your pavement and even to the undercarriage of your car.

CONS

1. That price adds up.

Heated driveways can be very costly. First, the installation is not an inexpensive process. Once it has been properly installed, the operating costs add a pretty penny to your winter utility bills. Operating a heated driveway takes a decent amount of energy. Usage is the biggest expense. Repairs can also be costly, as reaching your heated coils under your driveway is not an easy task.

2. Installation and repairs are a pain.
If you can install your heated driveway when you are first laying down a new driveway, it isn’t much of a problem. However, if you want to install a heating element into an already existing driveway, you will have to tare up the concrete in your driveway and repave it. Repairs can also mean digging up and repaving, depending on the repair needed. It’s no easy (or cheap) task. Installation and repairs are best done when you are already redoing your driveway anyway.

3. It can damage your concrete.

With heating tubs under your driveway, concrete can be stressed. When temperatures outside and temperatures below the surface differ drastically, your driveway can be damaged or even cracked.