my dad owns a car wash and he has electric entrance and exit ramps to prevent ice forming during the winter. they work very well at doing that. some other new solutions are using glycol and running them through pipes under the concrete.
Newly built upscale homes around my area are running pipe under there concrete driveways. Now IM not too sure what exactly is running thru them, but I believe it just hot water. I think in the future we will see more of it, as the demand comes along and prices go down.
We have a customer who had the pipe system under his driveway. It doesn't work anymore and he needs a new driveway because the asphalt is shot. It seems that the pipes would make the job a little bit more difficult though, since the existing pavement needs to be removed. It is at least 20 years+ old, and some areas are settling pretty bad. I was dying to see what it looks like underneath, but because of the potential costs, we were sort of in a holding pattern. Unfortunately he passed away, and that project is on hold for a while now.
SLS, My buddy has a self serve carwash here. His system is a closed loop system, with the pipes being copper. They are about 6" apart in the concrete running like a maze. His is a 6 bay carwash and takes a 512,000 btu heater to run it. He keeps the temp at about 36 degrees, just enough to keep ice off the floor. In a cold month he would get gas bills for over a grand, and that was before the price doubled this year.
Quite a few of the newer homes out in this part of the country have driveways heated with water pipes. I can't think of a single one that doesn't also have the same system heating the floor of the house. With a heated floor you can track snow in and it will actually evaporate. Also, they virtually eliminate the need for any other source of heat in the room. Don't worry though, they don't give these things away; pretty much limited to high end new home construction.
Back in the early 60's I had a classmate whos uncle built a house for himself with hot water coils in the walls and floors. They also ran plastic piping in the driveway and had a seperate circulating pump for that zone. When I was last there a few weeks ago I wondered if the system was still working and I drove by the house. There was not sign of the snow being plowed in the driveway and it was clean as could be. I have to assume that the system is still working for the present owners. The only drawback that I remember was that they would have to paint the interior every other year because of the dirt patterns that would form on the walls. I would have stopped in, but I am almost certain that his aunt and uncle have passed on since they would be in their 90's today. I would like to believe that they are enjoying their remaining years in a better climate if they are still alive.
a condo i use to plow had electric heating under the concrete ramp that led to theparking garage. The thing stopped working one year and the condo board didn't want to fix it because of cost. That ramp is almost impossible to maintain because the snow just drifts in all the time and it is next to impossible to back blade it out between the steepness of the ramp and lousy traction. I wish the truck would fit in the garage so I could push it out from there.
I'm putting in a new driveway this year and i'm installing a flexible pvc in the concrete and flowing it into a 6'x6'x6' hole with a web of the pipe inside and pumping glycol through the system. A friend (HVAC Engineer)did this to his shop floor, the temperature stays approx. 44-50 degrees which actually keeps it toasty in the winter and cooler in the summer. I figured its cheap enough to try. And give my wife a break from shoveling........LOL (i wish)