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Snowmelt Systems

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Heat Exchangers for Snowmelt Systems

Tired of hurting your back shoveling snow off your driveway, slipping and falling on the hard ice and dragging all that salt and sand into your house? It’s no secret that snowmelt systems are one of the best ways to reduce the costs of a long hard winter. But these systems are even more effective when they use a brazed heat exchanger  to supply the system with hot glycol. Our brazed heat exchangers allow you to lower your boiler temperature because they don’t require as great a temperature differential as a shell and tube heat exchanger, saving you a considerable amount of energy and money. These heat exchangers are not only surprisingly more efficient than the shell and tube alternative, their compact size is perfect for those situations where space is restricted and hard to access.


What are snowmelt systems?

A snow and ice melt system is a heating system that circulates hot glycol through a network of pipes located outside under everything from driveways and sidewalks to patios and parking lots keeping them free of snow and ice. These heated driveways or patios consist of thermoplastic piping embedded in concrete which carry the hot glycol supplied by a central heating boiler and pump. At the heart of a snowmelt system is the heat exchanger which allows you to heat the glycol indirectly from a central heating boiler. The heat from the heat exchanger radiates up from the piping to the surface of your driveway. When the falling snow hits the pavement, it immediately melts and is drained away from the driveway. This whole process is regulated by manual or automated on/off controls, giving you total control over energy consumption.


Is a snowmelt system worth it?

Well, it is if you think about how much it costs compared to shoveling, ploughing, blowing, salting, sand and other snow removal methods. It can eliminate slipping and falling on the ice saving you from potentially fatal injuries and costly lawsuits. It can eliminate the use of salt and ice melting chemicals preventing salt from ruining your clothes, footwear and the environment.


Selecting the right type of heat exchanger

When you are trying to choose a heat exchanger for your snowmelt system, make sure that the contractor is aware of your expectations. It is a common mistake with snowmelt applications to under or oversize the heat exchanger. This is due mostly to inadequate information about what the customer expects from the system. Matching the heat exchanger with your expectations requires some investigation. Too many contractors ignore the expectations of the customer and take the risk of installing a heat exchanger that doesn’t meet performance expectations. Figuring out what you expect has considerable influence on the load calculation and size of heat exchanger. Do you expect the snow to melt within a couple of hours after a heavy snow fall? Do you expect a dry surface every time the system is exposed to maximum load conditions or would you be happy with an occasional reduction in performance in exchange for lower capital investment and operating expense? Facilities like a hospital may not accept anything less than a clear dry surface immediately after a mild snow storm, while a homeowner won’t mind the odd slippery surface as long as it doesn’t last more than an hour. Once the contractor knows what you expect, the contractor can move on to collect other data from snow fall rates, density, temperatures, wind speed and elevation, to the size of the area to be melted, the building and landscape characteristics that can influence drifting snow and ice formation. Only then will you be able to avoid under or over-sizing the heat exchanger and being disappointed by your snowmelt system.


Advantages of the brazed heat exchanger for snowmelt systems
  • All brazed snowmelt heaters are manufactured of Stainless Steel 316L and plate and copper brazed in a furnace to ensure a long equipment life.
  • Due to the turbulent flow pattern through the heat exchangers, it inherently is a self cleaning equipment with a high heat transfer rate.
  • Easy selection based on snowmelt surface area.
  • Units kept in stock for immediate delivery.


Who is using brazed heat exchangers?
  • Homeowners can install a snowmelt system in their driveways, sidewalks, steps, and patios – to completely eliminate the need for shoveling.
  • Businesses can use snowmelt systems in outdoor malls, parking lots, car washes, walkways, and loading ramps to eliminate the expense of snow ploughing, to prevent slip-and-fall accidents and to reduce liability costs.
  • Public facilities like hospitals or nursing homes can install a snowmelt system to improve safety and lower the cost snow and ice removal.