Dec. 21, 2020 | Geoff Geddes
A heated driveway is a creative, albeit pricey, way to eliminate the need for snow shovelling once and for all
It might sound like magic, but banishing snow from your driveway without lifting a finger is a trick that's within reach for Calgarians.
"Our system uses electricity rather than water or gas," said Sob F., a sales representative with Ontario-based Heavenly Heat Inc.
"We peel off the existing driveway, lay down cables and cover them with asphalt or concrete. The cables are connected to a control box, which can be placed inside or outside the garage, and the system is completely automatic, turning on or off based on moisture and temperature levels."
Though the process of installation is straightforward, it is recommended that homeowners employ a contractor for the task. After determining how far apart the cables need to be, the contractor will lay them and include a remesh to ensure even distribution of heat. They will then test the system to confirm proper operation before pouring asphalt or concrete over it to complete the process.
Once installed, the system brings a range of benefits to homeowners. By rapidly eliminating snow, heated driveways prevent accumulation, eliminating the need for shovelling or salting and reducing "slip and fall" accidents.
Additionally, the lack of snow buildup reduces wear and tear on the foundation that could otherwise lead to costly driveway repairs.
As with many modern conveniences, the main drawback to heated driveways is cost.
"Price will depend on the system you want (automatic or manual), the size of your driveway and the electricity you have available," said Sob. "The more power you can provide, the less cable you need and thus the less it costs."
For buyers with an existing driveway that must be demolished prior to installation, a heated system ranges from about $14 to $24 per square foot. For a 500-square-foot driveway, homeowners are looking at a cost of roughly $7,500.
"Compared to water-based systems, electric heating is about a third of the cost and doesn't require regular maintenance," said Sob. "Electricity is also relatively cheap in Canada, so that's an added bonus."
While Heavenly Heat Inc. has focused primarily on Ontario since the pandemic hit, they attract 25-30 customers each year from Alberta who want to take the plunge.
Though heated driveways aren't cheap, the value of avoiding those early morning shovelling sessions could be priceless.
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