Goodbye, Snow. Hello, Clear Driveway!

Winter has come and - surprise, surprise - it's brought some snow with it. No White Walkers reported yet. We all know how difficult the simple act of walking to your car and getting out of the driveway can become. If only you could melt the snow away.
Road Heating in Iceland 1 photo
Photo: Stig Nygaard
We're not talking about waiting for spring to come, although we're already very anxious about that. We're talking about systems similar to underfloor heating, only outside, underneath the asphalt or concrete. Snowmelt systems aren't exactly new, but they're becoming more wide-spread.

Public sidewalks in Reykjavik and Akureyri, Iceland, as well as Oslo, Norway, have such systems installed. There are a few towns in the United States that also employ them, while Bill Gates' house supposedly has heated driveways.

The snowmelt systems are most easily installed during construction, but they can also be retrofitted, with a bit more work involved. Long, snaking electrical cables or tubes of warm water literally melt the snow away, when activated by moisture and temperature sensors.

Since the technology is becoming more popular, snowmelt systems have become not only more advanced but also easier to set up. They can basically come pre-laid out, like mats or turf rolls. In addition to the more expensive ones which are installed underneath the asphalt or concrete, there are also systems which can be laid out on top during the colder months and removed for storage when they are no longer needed. Of course, the "invisible" ones are more desirable.

Other than not falling over and breaking your legs, an obvious major benefit of installing a snowmelt system is not having to shovel snow! Let's be honest here. Nobody likes to go out in the freezing cold and shovel for hours after a heavy snowfall so they can drive and work another eight hours. Not to mention having to do it all over again when you come back home. If there's a way to work less and save time for other activities, count us in.
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