Snow days may be great for kids, but they are a headache for property managers.
Driveways, walkways and stairways need to be cleared of snow and ice, often several times during a storm. The plowing service is late, or just never shows up. Someone needs to be on site to do the hand shoveling and salting.
When it is all over, the foyer of the building is covered in salt, sand and slush, and someone will need to clean up that mess too.
Even when it is not snowing a property manager has trouble staying ahead of those recurring ice patches in places where water accumulates. These ice patches can catch tenants and customers unawares and are a major source of slip and fall injuries.
Snowmelt systems – The 24/7 snow clearing solution
Clearing the snow, applying salt and cleaning the building afterwards is all labor intensive work. Nights and weekend snow clearing can mean paying overtime – If people will even come in. This is why more and more public and commercial buildings are installing heated stairways, walkways and driveways. Heated pavement stays clear of snow and ice 24 hours a day, automatically and without getting people out of bed to shovel.
Building managers who are tired of the snow have two technology choices for snow melting systems, electric resistance heating and hydronic heating.
Electric resistance heating is often selected for small installations, but it is limited by both the sheer amount of power needed from the building’s electrical system, and by the cost of electric heating. Just like it is expensive to heat a building with electrical resistance heating rather than with a gas or oil fired boiler, it is expensive to heat a driveway electrically. That is why many commercial installations with large outdoor areas to keep clear choose boiler fed hydronic pavement heating. A hydronic system can scale to almost any size, and can be heated either with a dedicated boiler, or from the main building boiler or boilers.
Snow melting doesn’t have to be an energy hog with a Heat®-Timer Snow Melt Controller
Heat-Timer, the most experienced manufacturer of boiler control solutions, applies that same energy saving experience to hydronic snow melt systems. The Heat-Timer Snow Melt controller (SMC) is designed specifically to control driveway heating with the same sophistication that Heat-Timer applies to interior boiler controls.
The SMC uses multiple sensors to keep the pavement snow and ice free with the minimum amount of energy. The most important of these sensors is the embedded slab sensor. This robust sensor is embedded directly into the pavement and is tough enough for vehicle traffic. The sensor measures the pavement temperature to within 1° F and can detect the slightest precipitation or water on the slab. When the sensor detects precipitation and the temperature is below 38°F The controller ramps up the temperatures of the circulating fluid to keep the pavement at 38 °F so that the snow melts as soon as it hits the pavement. This prevents “bridging” where the snow melt system melts the snow near the pavement, leaving a “bridge of snow or ice above it. When the pavement is dry the system resets to the idle temperature of 34°F, just above freezing.
For retrofit installations the system is capable of functioning without the slab sensor, instead using an outdoor temperature sensor. This configuration uses slightly more power since it can’t ramp down the pavement temperature once it is dry.
The SMC control algorithm will shut down circulation pump and the boiler when the pavement is too warm for ice to form, and the controller will also shut down the system when the outside temperature falls below a minimum temperature setpoint. This is to save energy when it is so cold outside that no amount of heat from the boiler will be able to keep the slab above freezing. In this case the controller continues to circulate fluid in the slab every few minutes to prevent the fluid from freezing.
Heat-Timer protects your investment too
The SMC not only protects your tenants by from falls from ice and snow, it also protects both the pavement and the boiler, by monitoring inlet and outlet temperatures of the heating loop to ensure that neither the slab or the boiler experience damaging thermal shock.
Like all Heat-Timer controllers , the SMC comes with basic alarms, and with the BACnet option, the SMC can be interfaced to a Building Management System, so that the property manager can monitor the pavement at the facility being cleared automatically from the comfort of their home.
Tired of the snow? Don’t move to Florida, install a hydronic snowmelt system, and let Heat-Timer take care of clearing the snow.