Heated driveways have a single advantage. You guessed it—snow removal. This solitary quality is no small matter for some homeowners. If you live in the northern United States, you may spend countless hours each winter shoveling your driveway. Just hearing the words “Nor-Easter” or “Lake Effect Snow” can make many Americans cringe. Having to shovel two, three, even four times in one day can leave northerners begging for a solution. Even if you don’t live in a region that gets hit with heavy snow, if you have limited mobility and have no neighborhood kids who want to earn a little extra cash, installing a heated driveway can allow you to endure the winter with safe passage to and from your home without ever picking up a shovel or firing up a snowblower.
How Heated Driveway Systems Work
Heated driveways are actually radiant floor heating systems, which can be installed both indoors and out. For outdoor use, radiant floor systems are quite beneficial to those who live in snowy climates. When temperatures drop, heated water and antifreeze are pumped into the tubing, melting any snow that collects on your driveway. From the comfort of your home, you can flip a switch and watch the snow melt away.
If you want a heated driveway, you don’t necessarily need to install a whole new driveway because sometimes the tubing can be run under your current one. Many factors influence whether you need to have the driveway replaced including time of year, soil compaction, trees in proximity, etc. Replacing the driveway ensures that the heated driveway system has been installed correctly. Many of the systems that are installed under existing driveways either won’t come with warranties or the warranties that they do come with won’t cover very much.
Heated Driveway Costs
Typically, the cost of a heated driveway system is between $12-$21 per square foot. Looking at our data, the average cost of a radiant heating system installation is $3,892, with a low of $1,300 and a high of $7,500 in that range. Unfortunately, our data doesn’t show the cost to remove the old driveway, but we do show the average asphalt paving cost ($4,457) and concrete driveway cost ($3,650). The range of asphalt driveway projects is much greater at $2,000-$25,000 than concrete at $650-$7,091. If your project falls right on the average, then you are looking at a cost of $8,594 to install a driveway heating system under asphalt and $7,542 under concrete.
So if these numbers put the project outside of your price range, consider two things.
- Get estimates from professionals. The numbers quoted above are just averages and don’t reflect the rise and fall of material prices or the cost of living in your particular area. So always get an accurate bid from someone who would actually do the work.
- If replacing your driveway, upgrading to a heated driveway system is a smart idea while your old one is already ripped out.
DIY Tip: If you’re capable, rent a jackhammer and a sledgehammer, bust up the old driveway, and haul it off yourself. If you need to save a little, this is the part of the process that you can do yourself. Ask your contractor to bid out the demolition part of the process so that you can see how much there is to be saved.
More Options with Heated Driveway Systems
Driveway heating systems can be installed under almost any driveway surface, including patios, sidewalks, and decks. Wherever you don’t want to have to shovel, you can install this same heating system under there, too, so you never have to worry about shoveling. Remember that it’s best to have your boiler placed as near as you can to the driveway. Most systems will have a mechanism that activates the system when snow falls. Even when you’re on vacation or away from your home, your driveway will stay clear for your return.
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Have you installed a heated driveway before? What were your process and the advantages/disadvantages of having one? Let us know in the comments!