Radiant Heated Driveway Costs for NY NJ & CT

How do manual ice melting controls work?

Credit to David Beaulieu, About.com Guide

Question: How do manual ice melting controls work?

Answer: Manually operated controls schemes (or “on/off” systems) are the least efficient for snow removal, although they do a pretty good job of ice melting. They rely on you to say to yourself, "Gee, I heard it's going to snow; I'd better turn the snowmelt system on."

The fact that they are cold-start systems is problematic. They won't melt the snow as quickly as automated systems. If a large amount of snow has already accumulated on a cold driveway by the time you manually activate the system, only a thin layer at the bottom of the snowfall will initially get melted. The result is a dead-air space that works as an insulator. In this case, insulation is a bad thing. It will take awhile for the rest of the snow to be melted, as the dead-air space temporarily keeps the radiant heat away from the snow.

Avoid manually operated systems unless time is not an issue for you.


NOTE: The above is from About.com Guide / Landscaping. 

Though quoted widely the information from About.com is very out of date.  The information, while providing the caveat of "Avoid manually operated systems unless time is not an issue for you" is not an approved method of installation nor is it legal.  Please see our website under the inspectors tab to view the appropriate electrical code and International Energy Code adopted by all building code organizations and inspectors nationwide.  www.SnowMeltInc.com/inspectors


What is the up-front cost of a snow-melt system?

By David Beaulieu, About.com Guide

Question: What is the up-front cost of a snow-melt system?

Answer: The exact cost to purchase a snow-melt system or "heated driveway" depends on many factors, such as whether the heated driveway can be tied into your home’s heating system, or must stand on its own. Another factor is the type of control scheme you choose -- a manual or an automated system. The latter are more expensive, and the cost goes up the more sophisticated they get.

But to give you some idea of up-front cost, let's assume you'll purchase a manual system. Systems regulated by manual control schemes usually cost "$12-$17/square foot," according to John Sweaney, design engineer, for example, if the total square footage of your driveway were 1000 feet, your up-front cost to have a snowmelt system installed under the whole driveway would be $12,500 - $17,000. plus electrical if required, permits, aspahlt, etc.

NOTE: The above is from About.com Guide on Landscaping. 

Though quoted by many a web surfing potential client, the About.Com information is very much out of touch with current costs in the tri-state areas of NY, NJ and CT.

Please read below and find answers to questions you may be searching for but have not found truly honest answers to.

By Ronald Charnecky                       November 4th 2011

 Snow Melt Inc.com                      

Radiant Heated Driveways:  How Much Do They Cost to Install and Why.

Lets start with the price of asphalt.  The price of asphalt alone has climbed over 35% in the last 5-6 years and the average costs today range from $3.50 to $5.00 (even as high as $7.00 per square foot in Westchester, Long Island and other counties. As well time of the year is important, scheduling and locking in the cost early in the season is cheapest as the later in the summer or late fall is most expensive.


Let us explore why the price can have such a range:

Is your driveway flat?   This is the least expensive installation and would be priced accordingly.

Is your driveway on an incline? This is where the cost of asphalt begins to be a bit more.

Is your driveway severely inclined?   This would add a bit more.

Does your driveway have curves?                                                                                                                   Depending if combined with any inclines could add some to the cost.

Now that the above provides some insight, let us explore some other possible compound factors. 


Time of Year:

Early in the season is best. The asphalt plants are newly opened and pricing for the work required is most competitive. 

Later in the season as oil prices rise as they always do towards the summer driving time so does the price of asphalt, as oil is the main component in the pricing structure of the material.


End of Season:

Pricing of asphalt is at its highest. Some asphalt plants begin to close and prices rise.  Larger projects finish towards the end of the season and schedules are fullest. 


Where is the Project?

North Jersey / Orange and Rockland counties have many asphalt plants and some remain open later in the season.  

Perhaps the project is in Westchester? 

The cost for the same project in the Westchester and some Long Island areas can and do frequently run upwards of 20-25% more than other installation areas.


Infrastructure I:

Does your driveway have cracks, ruts, separations?  If any of those items or a combination exist, this means that the infrastructure underneath will need some extra attention, though usually only a re-compaction and addition of materials is required - it all depends on the size of the driveway.



Yes a flat one car driveway requiring a short set of tracks will cost less. 

Why? Because the electrical service will suffice, the asphalt and infrastructure are obviously less, compared to a 150, 500 to 1000 foot long driveway requiring additional electrical infrastructure, controls, base excavation and materials.



Here is the great divide, Some want a look but will invest less in infrastructure.  Example: Asphalt has a lower cost, tar and chip a bit less, brick pavers much more, granite pavers even higher.

Infrastructure II:

Drainage:  Does the project require it?   Does the project as existing already have sufficient drainage?

How do you know if you need drainage?  Aside from the obvious, does the project have unfinished sides. Example: Asphalt edge meets grass. 

Who is designing:

You may choose to have anyone design your new heated or unheated driveway but, frankly speaking, don't waste money on a third party.  You can have your engineer or architect provide plans for your project.  Estimated cost $3500-$7500 dollars. We offer an in house design for your project, average cost $575.00 -$1025.00 for an average driveway.


Who is running the project:

You can have yourself or your architect run the show which is perfectly fine with us.  Or we can provide the service in our turnkey package, meaning that from the conception of the project, all the designs, infrastructure, schedules, materials, inspections, underground work and electrical system design are done by us. 

This provides you with the knowledge that you are getting exactly what can be done within your budget and you have one phone number to call.

Understanding, base materials, electrical primary and secondary wiring designs, controls, transformer choice, code compliance, providing shop drawings and drainage review and finally the combining of all of the aforementioned requirements and more to provide you an absolutely beautiful driveway in whatever material you pick, but below the beauty of your new driveway lies a designed system just waiting for the first flakes of snow to fall from the sky.


Safety above all else:

Last but never least, safety.  Do you ride the brakes down your hill when your driveway is ice or snow covered?   Can you safely get fuel delivered?  Friends and Family?

Do you find yourself scheduling around weather for parties or get-togethers?  How about work?  Do you find yourself waiting hours and hours for the plow to show up, still leaving an ice covered driveway?  

Have people fallen and been bruised or injured on your property? 


Trucking and Recycling charges:

The old asphalt and materials must be removed (trucked) to a recycling center, plant or storage facility.     

Think of this, go to your local home improvement store and pick out a bag of gravel, add sulfur, sand small crushed gravel, then add 2 quarts of tar and pick it up.   No deal huh.... understandable. 

The bag about 5 inches high and about 1.5 feet long - result 80 pounds. That's about 40 pounds per square foot without additional base materials. 

We figure about 55 pounds per square foot when we calculate.  Now if your driveway is 100 foot long by 10 feet wide that total is 1000 square feet x 55 pounds per square foot equals 55,000 pounds. 

That is the same weight as about 10-12 small cars or over 6,600 gallons of water or over 12,500 bottles of Pepsi: either way it is a lot to truck and there are trucking fees, and receiving recycling fees. 



If you someday decide to sell your home and the buyer does not like swimming, odds are they will not buy your home because of the swimming pool. 

If your potential buyer does not like tennis, most likely you will not sell your home because of your tennis court.  But nobody wants to shovel snow, nobody wants to chip ice and who enjoys late nights or 4 am shoveling or buying chemicals and spreading them.

This is why your New Snow and Ice melt system is a 100% recoverable asset. Your home would have in any market a decided advantage over those other homes on the buyers list.


Additional Information:

If you wish to proceed, the first step is trying to provide you a budgetary range.  Please go to our website and fill out a survey, it takes less than 2 minutes, then we can make an appointment to speak with you on the phone to provide you a budget or we will need it for the site visit if required.  Site review fee is $75.00 - $125.00 depending on the time of the year.  This fee is applied to any installation work contracted within 12 months.

Should you have any questions please call us at 973-728-5745 or email us at Sales@SnowMeltInc.com Thank you for taking the time to read the above.



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