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Thread: Waterheater/snow melt

  1. #1

    Default Waterheater/snow melt

    Under pavement snow melter. I am thinking about using an electric water heater and running a line to a pump and having that connected to a manifold that will run 25 to 30 lines of funny pipe installed underneath a paver drive way. I will then run the lines back to another manifold and back into the waterheater. While running it should pump the warm liquid under the pavers and melt the snow and keep it clear year round. Is it possible to use antifreeze instead of water and heat it to the minimum? (vacation mode) (don't know how hot that is?) Just didn't know if anyone has ever had antifreeze in a water heater before, or if I should use a boiler. Any one have any thoughts on the this?

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I would suggest you purchase a pavement snow melting system and install it according to the MFG. directions and use whatever liquid it should have. If you don't you run the risk of a very expensive tear up fixing what ever problems you run into and having the cost to operate it skyrocket over what it should be which won't be cheap to begin with.
    Last edited by Cass; 11-14-2006 at 04:23 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Under pavement snow melter. I am thinking about using an electric water heater and running a line to a pump and having that connected to a manifold that will run 25 to 30 lines of funny pipe installed underneath a paver drive way. I will then run the lines back to another manifold and back into the waterheater. While running it should pump the warm liquid under the pavers and melt the snow and keep it clear year round. Is it possible to use antifreeze instead of water and heat it to the minimum? (vacation mode) (don't know how hot that is?) Just didn't know if anyone has ever had antifreeze in a water heater before, or if I should use a boiler. Any one have any thoughts on the this

    Anyone who has thought of doing it this way probably changed their mind after about a half hour of real consideration.
    1. "Funny pipe" will not handle warm water.
    2. An electric, or any domestic, water heater will not have the bTU capacity to melt an entire driveway.
    3. Unless you use antifreeze you will be repairing broken lines continually.
    4. The operating costs will be astronomical to run the heater 24 hours a day, which is what would be required when it snows, even though it would not do a very good job of melting.
    5. Putting it under pavers, on top of the ground means that you would have to heat the bricks first, while at the same time most of the heat would be escaping into the ground and trying to thaw the dirt.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You'd need to add insulation and water membrane under the driveway and figure somewhere around 8-15 BTU/hour per square foot, depending on how fast you want the thing to melt snow. A typical HW tank produces maybe 30K BTU/hour, but when you run it with antifreeze, you loose 20% of the heat transfer capability, so it would be equivalent to 24K. not a very big area that could be heated sufficiently, plus, it's not designed for it. Much better to get a boiler designed for continuous operations and engineer it right.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I'm thinking snow blower. Even if you can devise a system and make it work to melt the snow, you will have to continue to apply heat until the surface is dry or you'll have a skating rink! A single stage snow blower such as the Toro, will easily clear this area. It has rubber blades and will not mess up the pavers.

  6. #6

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    Hire a neighborhood kid to shovel your drive. It'll save on your back, reduce global warming, give the kid some self-worth, and save you money in the long run.

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