Snow and Ice Melting Systems

A guide to choosing and using snow and ice melting systems.


Snow and Ice melting systems provide an efficient, unobtrusive solution to the issues of road ice and snow cover. This can be particularly useful in colder areas of the UK throughout the harsh winter months, making travel to and from the home or workplace much less hazardous. This improves safety whilst increasing business productivity in allowing employees to reach workplaces as usual.

What is a Snow and Ice Melting System?

These systems work in much the same manner as an underfloor heating system. A network of pipes is laid out beneath a roadway, car park, or driveway, underneath the tarmac or brick surface, through which warm water is run to melt the ice and snow. Snow and ice melting systems can be provided with the required warm water by various suitable heat sources via a heat exchanger. Like underfloor heating (UFH), snow and ice melting systems require only very low temperature water of at least 35˚C to be passed through the system in order for it to operate effectively.

 Installation of Snow and Ice Melting Systems

Snow and ice melting systems are installed similarly to underfloor heating systems. The pipe network is usually laid immediately beneath the surface layers of the driving area, car park, or walkway. The pipe is fitted into place using either cable ties or a series of clamp tracks fitted to the ground. Snow and ice melting systems can not only be fitted beneath flat ground areas, but also into stairways and decked floor constructions prone to freezing. In order to prevent any breakage of the pipe beneath the surfaces and the loads to be exerted upon them, the structural needs and load bearing calculations must be professionally and accurately carried out before installation begins. It should be noted that the surface structure does not alter due to the fact that the heating system is installed beneath it. For industrial buildings, it is recommended that pre-insulated pipe is used in order to better cope with the heavy loads and great pressures likely to be exerted upon it.

 What kinds of ground coverings are suitable with Snow and Ice Melting Systems?

Snow and ice melting systems can be used with various kinds of ground coverings, such as:

  • Asphalt ground coverings
  • Stone paving ground coverings
  • Slab surface ground coverings for pavements and other walkways
  • Concrete slab structures

 The various ground types require different combinations of components. Therefore be careful to seek advice on the best system configurations for your particular project.


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