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Using hot water to melt snow rather than plow?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by classiclawncare, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. classiclawncare

    classiclawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I've always wondered is there a way to use a spray rig, either a truck or tractor to drive over a lot and spray hot water over the snow to melt it rather than having to plow it?

    I know in most cases it'd re-freeze and need to me salted, but driving over the lot one time spraying hot water on the snow seems like it would be faster than plowing a lot.

    Does anyone do this, or can it be done?

    Id assume on a lot covered with a ft of snow it may not work but 2, 4 or 6 inches it should be able to go right through it.

    I think it sounds like a good idea.

    Any imput?
  2. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    It would be cheaper and safer to plow it. Can you imagine the amount of energy it would take to heat up that much water? A snow meter is the same principal and they do have self loading ones that drive down the city streets picking up windrows. A semi tanker truck follows it.
  3. classiclawncare

    classiclawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I have a large lot that takes say 3 hours to plow with a skid steer with an 8ft pusher box, If I had the right spraying unit I would think itd be faster to drive over th lot once spraying hot water. Also itd be less wear n tear.

    There has to be a decent set-up out there that does this.
  4. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Less wear and tear, a skid with a box is about the least you'll get. You try it and report back your findings.
  5. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Could you just imagine the amount of fuel you would burn? Not to mention if the ground is cold enough for snow to stick, it's certainly cold enough to create a nice ice skating rink by the time you get to the other side of the lot. I've never seen a zamboni outside of a skating rink before.
  6. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow melter


    I dont want to burst your bubble but you would be infringing on my patent.

  7. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,891

    And there is your answer as to why not to try it!!!!
  8. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    I say try it, and please let us know the results.
  9. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

  10. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,598

    apply plenty of salt every 2" snow fall and your done too ;)
  11. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    It would cost way more money to melt the snow with hot water then it would to plow the lot. First you have to consider the equipment it would take. I am guessing a 3 hour lot is close to 3 acres. To melt 2 inches off of 3 acres would take a tremendous amount of water, so you would have to have a tanker truck of some sort. Then you would need a way to fill the truck, heat the water, keep the water hot enough to do it's job, plus drive to and from and apply the water. I 50 gallon water heater take about an hour to an hour and a half to heat the full 50 gallons, so to heat 10,000 gallons of water would have to take close to 10 hours with a burner unit that has the btu output of 20 times a water heater. So if a water heater is 60,000 btu this new super burner is going to be 1.2 million btu's. Now I am thinking 3 hours of plowing isn't such a bad idea.
  12. kashman

    kashman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    take a glass of hot water outside and throw it in the air and see what happens
  13. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    Cold water Fusion ????????????????????????:yow!:payup:
  14. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    Ohhhhh Leon, don't leave us hangin buddy! What's brewin in that technical brain of yours??:redbounce
  15. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    or you can get one of these air plane de-iceing machines
    i beleive they hold anoyut 5000 gallons of liquid and has a self contained heater.
    i used these a few times when i worked at newark airport deiceing planes.

    Attached Files:

  16. cotter

    cotter Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 182

    Get one of the blowers NASCAR uses on the tracks. Even if it does not melt the snow it will blow it away.

    Or head over to google http://www.google.com/patents?hl=en and look at some of the items there, see what is actually in production and guage from there.

  17. matts27

    matts27 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 138

    Ever been to a hockey rink? The Zamboni cuts the ice and lays down a layer of water, that water is Hot, somewhere around 90 deg. F. Reason behind that is it FREEZES quicker and also adheres well to the COLD surface, thus creating a solid sheet of ICE. Just my 2 cents, Matt
  18. Dalmatian90

    Dalmatian90 Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Takes 144 BTUs to melt a pound of ice.

    There's around 135,000 to 140,000 BTUs per gallon of diesel.

    Some we're talking in the ballpark of 1 gallon of diesel per 1,000# of snow to melt it, if you had darn near perfect efficiency which you won't.

    Let's assume it's a wet and not fluffy 4", so figure 4# of snow per square foot.

    Some one else above speculated you had 3 acres to plow, so let's go with that -- 131,000 s.f. in round numbers.

    That's 524,000 pounds of snow / 1 gallon diesel per thousand pounds = 524 gallons of diesel

    The second part of this is how much water will it take since you're not loading the snow into a hopper to melt.

    1 BTU is one pound of liquid water raised or lowered one degree (the transition points to ice and steam take a lot more). 180º water chilled to 33º is 147 BTUs, so we're talking about a 1:1 ratio of pounds of hot water to pounds of snow needing melting.

    Water weighs about 8# per gallon, so you're talking in addition to the 524 gallons of diesel, needing about 65,500 gallons of water.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  19. WingPlow

    WingPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    talk about making work for yourself...

    drive around spraying hot water and by the time your done you'd have to salt the mess
    you just made
  20. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    I use Brine/ CC Why would you use water?!!?!?!??!?!
    We use it for everything we cant plow!