How to Heat Up Your Driveway When It Snows?

How to Heat Up Your Driveway When It Snows?

How To
By Alex Mikayelyan February 25, 2022

Winter means many things to many people. Whether it’s the cold weather outside that incentivizes us to bundle up in our cozy homes, the winter holidays that are always a source of happiness and comfort, or that fluffy white blanket that covers the ground. Whether you love the winter or hate it, you have to admit that it is truly a magical time.

Unfortunately, regardless of how much you enjoy the winter holidays or drinking a hot beverage while looking out the window at the gorgeous white snow, there is a lot to hate about winter as well. While you may enjoy the snow and consider it to be an indivisible part of the season, you must admit that with every inch of snow that settles on your driveway you get a corresponding headache.

The last thing you want on your way to work is slipping on the driveway as you walk to your car or your car itself slipping on the frozen surface. And in the worst-case scenario, you may not even be allowed to leave your driveway at all if the snow is high enough. Luckily, there are a few ways you can heat up your driveway to prevent it from being frozen and heating mats are among the most practical gadgets for getting that done.

Why Heat the Driveway?

Why It’s Important to Keep Snow Off Your Driveway

Why It’s Important to Keep Snow Off Your Driveway

To many homeowners, heated flooring is one of the most crucial elements of interior comfort. But the question of why bother heating the driveway if it’s outside also comes up quite often. So, why bother if there’s going to be snow settling on the driveway one way or another?

Unlike interior heated floors, heated walkways and driveways are not designed to be walked barefoot or in your slippers. Heated driveways also won’t be radiant enough heat to melt several inches of snow in a matter of seconds. The point of heated driveways is to make it easier and safer to clean, walk on, and drive on the driveway after a few inches of snow have settled.

Imagine having to explain to your coworkers that you were late because there was a ton of snow in your driveway that prevented your car from leaving the garage. Having to clean out snow every morning or the day before just so your car can leave the driveway is a very tiring process, and not something many working individuals want to do early every morning. This is why there are several types of driveway heating options available for homeowners looking for something that can effectively keep the snow off the asphalt. 

What Are Radiant Heat Systems?

What Are Permanent Driveway Heating Systems?

What Are Permanent Driveway Heating Systems?

One of the most commonly used options for driveway heating is a radiant heat system. If you have heated flooring in your home then you probably know approximately how driveway heating works. Putting the nitty-gritty technical details aside, a very easy way to understand what a radiant heating system is is by imagining a line of radiators passing under the asphalt of your driveway.

By activating the heating while it snows, the radiators under the asphalt will heat up the surface of the driveway. This causes the snow that settles on top to melt away or not settle as much as it would if the heating system was absent. Keep in mind that depending on the amount of snow that there is outside, the radiant heat system doesn’t always simply melt the snow. Sure, a light flurry might not even get the chance to settle on the driveway, but melting a few inches of snow will take a little longer.

However, it will make the snow much less solid, which will allow you to easily walk or drive on the asphalt without having to worry about nasty slips. Depending on how much snow your local area sees during the winter, you can opt for a variety of radiant system setups.

A very common way to install driveway radiant heating systems is to create two lines of heated driveway pads going along the driveway approximately where the wheels are going to be — since this is the one area of the path where you want as little snow buildup as possible. When the heaters are installed, they will melt the snow in those two lines, parallel to your vehicle’s wheels. So, you can easily and safely drive through your highway.

Some homeowners also prefer to heat the entirety of their driveway by installing a radiant system that covers the driveway edge-to-edge. This is a far more costly installation, but gives you more heating overall, making the entire driveway much safer to walk on and far easier to clean. 

What Are Portable Heating Mats?

The Advantages of Portable Driveway Heating Mats

The Advantages of Portable Driveway Heating Mats

As great as a permanently installed radiant heating system may be, there are several downsides to it. First, there’s the cost; as the mats themselves are actually not too expensive, installing them can get quite pricey. You’ll have to redo the asphalt in your driveway, which means completely tearing out the superficial layers of the old asphalt and covering it with a new layer.

The next disadvantage of permanently installed radiant systems is all the hassle that comes with installing them. You’ll need to hire specialized contractors, asphalt laborers, and electricians. For portable driveway heat mats, however, no specialized labor force is required. You simply lay them out on the driveway along the lines of your vehicle’s wheels and turn them on when it snows.

The snow melting mats are made of very durable material, with the fabric coating able to handle a lot of wear and tear. Inside the fabric are powerful radiators that heat up and melt the snow off key locations on the driveway. So, while you won’t have edge-to-edge heating on your driveway, you’ll still have enough snow melted to easily drive your car over it without having to shovel before work. Additionally, heating mats are also quite energy-efficient, as they melt the snow in specific areas, without having to heat up the entire area.

Heated driveway mats are also quite easy to store. Despite their length, you can easily roll them up and store them in your garage — and take them out when the snow season arrives.

If your region doesn’t get much snowfall and you really don’t need to have permanent heating installed, the electric heat mat is a very good option. They are also quite long-lasting, which means having to purchase replacements is quite rare. You’re really getting the bang for your buck with this investment. 

And best of all: you can take the heat mats anywhere with you. So, if you happen to be visiting friends and it starts to snow, you can always just pop the mats out of the truck, heat them up, keep the driveway clear of snow, then fold it back up again when you’re ready to leave — easy as that.


Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan