If you have lived in Colorado For at least a year, you already know it is difficult to predict the weather in advance here. As temperature fluctuations become more extreme, it becomes increasingly important to prepare our environment for potential difficulties and hazards.
Depending on your location and type of home or business, you may need a snow melting system to prevent accidents and provide convenience around your business or home. In this article, you will learn about the benefits of snowmelt systems, how they work, and why you should have them professionally designed.
What is a snowmelt system?
The biggest headache in winter is clearing slick, frozen surfaces or having snow fall from your roof when you are not expecting it. Salt and its artificial alternatives are used in many municipal applications. However, spreading anti-ice materials on the sidewalk is only a temporary solution that does not provide adequate protection against slipping during prolonged frost or snowfall. If you think about trying to salt a roof, you probably realize why it’s easier to have an electric roof snow melt system installed.
A snowmelt system provides a permanent, long-term solution against frost and snow. It consists of properly designed heating cables that, when turned on, heat the sidewalk, driveway or roof to melt the snow and keep the water from freezing. The heating cable is designed for outdoor use and is an economical and efficient means of melting snow and ice on outdoor sidewalks, roofs ,patios, stairwells, or driveways.
How to design a snowmelt system with maximum efficiency?
There are several factors we look at when helping you choose the right materials, sizing, and placement for the heating cables in the snowmelt system. To choose the most suitable design criteria for a snowmelt system, it is important to determine your use and expectations. Then we can help design the best snowmelt system, customized to your needs.
During the design phase the following aspects need to be carefully calculated:
- Snowmelting load
- Tube spacing
- Fluid supply temperature
- Number of circuits
- Flow rate
- Pressure drop
- Selecting the right capacity pump
A typical snow melting system should have a heating capacity of at least 100 Btu per hour per square foot (320 W/m2). Snowfalls of up to 1.5 inches/hour (4 cm/h) would be melted by this method. It is common to use a solution of 50% water and 50% antifreeze, but it should always be adjusted to local temperatures and system conditions.
You can see from these factors that designing the proper and effective snowmelt system takes a careful approach, for which you will need professional experience.
Installing the snowmelt system
Similar to design, installing a snow melting system requires experience and expertise. The system consists of three main elements: the heating pipes, a control unit, and an activation device. The system is automatically activated when freezing temperatures are detected and shut down when temperatures rise.
As a rule, the control units are manufactured as wall panels and equipped with a NEMA housing. Depending on the technology, there are a variety of control units that use power and load terminals, relays, activation terminals, transformers, and monitoring electronics.
At Rogers and Sons Inc. we enjoy helping our customers design snow melting systems to maximize safety around the home.
To learn more about how these systems work and which option is best for your home, visit our website and give us a call.