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Thread: Heated driveway

  1. #1
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    Default Heated driveway

    Hawk,

    I saw your comments on the heated driveway controls pictures. There is one picture of the whole setup.



    From the right side of the window to the left is all new this year. We added a second zone. The Tekmar controller is a 664 model - which supports 2 zones. The way it is set now is very different from before. When everything is melted and the system is "in balance" and at temperature, everything gets shut down. The system goes into a kind of standby mode. No power is used and the furnace is off. When it needs to it wakes up - brings the temp back up and then sleeps again. The old controller ran the driveway pumps all the time.

    What i "need" is the ability to read all the settings and status remotely with a device that is available through a browser and is sitting on the home network. So far we have not found one to work with the Tekmar controls.

    If my son's thermostats in his house all have IP addresses and can be accessed with a browser, one would think Tekmar would have an option for such an expensive controller.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  2. #2
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    Default

    In a past life that is now in a dim memory, I worked a bit with PLC's (programable logic controllers), mostly David Bradley. Anyway, it seems as though you could utilize them to run the controls and then just use an IP controlled relay to turn the whole mess on and off. I know that this is a breadboard sort of solution, but until the market comes out with your needs, they can be a powerful tool to get what you want.

  3. #3
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    Default

    For turning the system on and off I use an X-10 switch. That way I can get at it remotely. What I want is the ability to look at the slab, supply, boiler, return temps, etc. for each zone.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  4. #4
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    Default

    Heated driveway? You must be joking.

  5. #5
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    Default Driveway

    He's working on a system for the Auto Road.

    KDT

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Acrophobe
    Heated driveway? You must be joking.
    They're more common than you think. Especially in places that get lots of snow. And in places like Aspen and Vail.

    Over the long run I wonder if you ever make your money back compared to paying for a plow service.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  7. #7
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    Default

    He's working on a system for the Auto Road.
    Suppose that's easier then shoveling it off.


    And you say you really do have one? That's funny - I've never heard of such a system, despite living in New Hampshire. How well does it work?

  8. #8
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    Default

    I'm curious as to a) what is the initial cost of the system; b) annual costs for operating the system, and; c) expected life of the system.
    When you're chewing on life's gristle
    Don't grumble, give a whistle
    And this'll help things turn out for the best. And always look on the bright side of life.

  9. #9
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    Default heated driveway

    I've worked my whole life for an electrical supply business and underdriveway heating systems are quite common in high end homes. We sell electrically heated units. The electrical draw for even a moderately long driveway (100-150') can easily be hundreds of amps. Those that can afford them don't worry about the cost of electricity like most of us.
    Tim

    ps a previous poster mentioned working with plc's by David Bradley - did you mean Allen Bradley?
    Last edited by climbabout; 11-27-2007 at 06:46 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Good questions.

    1. Yes, we do have a heated driveway. It was gravel and several times a summer we were raking it back in place after washing out. Paving it would have been fine - but any moisture in the winter and the driveway would have been unusable due to the steep slope. So, we heated it.

    2. The system is just like floor radiant heat - PEX tubing in loops running hot water/antifreeze mixture. There is a control unit in the garage. Senses moisture going up - temp is down - turns the system on to bring the slab up to melt temp of 39 degrees. Once the snow has stopped - supply & return water temps are the same (melting is done) - then it goes back to idle temp we have set at 29 degrees.

    3. With the driveway slope going down to the garage - front yard and plantings along the driveway - and a rock wall along the other side of the driveway - there is no place for a plow to push the snow some place. So, the other alternative is to snowblow the driveway by hand.

    4. We priced out the cost per snow storm to be roughly $50 a storm for electricity and oil for the system. The price of oil has gone up - not quite double since we did the math. And the system now is a lot more efficient. So, maybe less than $100 a storm. Part of the value is knowing we can get in or out no matter what the weather is. My wife is there by herself a lot in the winter. I do not have to worry about her being stranded. Get up at 6Am after an all night storm and drive out for coffee. The driveway would be wet, but clear.

    4. Does it work? Here is a picture with the snow still coming down. You can see how much snow is on top of the car. This was listed as a 17" storm.



    5. Initial cost depends on whether you can tap into the existing furnace. In our case we added a second furnace just for the driveway. The total cost was about $18K including the paving of the driveway, which we were going to do anyway.

    6. It is quite common to see these systems now. When we did this over 10 years ago there were not many around in the US. Now in the Rockies and around Boston they are quite common. There are associations in Colorado where they are required if the driveway is greater than a certain slope.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

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