Building for snow

bpathomeFebruary 5, 2014

My next house will A) have 6 foot eaves over the garage and doors or B) be in Tucson,

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LawPaw

Your eaves are helpless against my wind.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:41AM
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nostalgicfarm

Don't forget a heated driveway with drainage on the side to get all that snow melted off :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:32AM
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worthy

And deep pockets to pay the cost.

According to one snow melt installer, "the average operational cost is approximately $.28 per 100-square feet per hour. This is based on a 35-watts per square foot snow melting system, with a kilowatt hour rate of $0.08 per hour."

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:43AM
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autumn.4

ohhh - ahhhh - yes to heated driveway to melt off. That would be AWESOME! Our plumber said it would cost about $500 a year...gulp. We passed on it but this year would have been awesome to have it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:04PM
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bpathome

A house in the neighborhood installed a heated driveway two winters ago, and we had two mild winters. When it did snow an inch or 3, it looked tempting. Then they moved (probably to Tucson). I haven't noticed the new owners using the feature, maybe the cost is why!

This year I think $500 would be a bargain! Let's see, gas for snowblower, plow service, chiropractor, yeah, it's worth it lol

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:05PM
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ILoveRed

We've had so much snow, my dh is trying to talk me into letting him trade his Kubota in for one with a cab, heater, and a blade. Says it will pay for itself, ha. Right!!

Just had our drive plowed for the umpteenth time this winter.

New England getting it even worse than the Midwest.

We will all be complaining this summer about the heat.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:32PM
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bpathome

Ah, the heat. My house in Tucson would have to have the big eaves, too, I suppose, for the summer sun. We spent a summer in Phoenix and have to say, it was like winter in the Midwest. You can't go outside to play. The difference is, in the snow you can add layers. In the desert, you can only strip down so far before you get arrested.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 3:06PM
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chicagoans

Greetings from Chiberia!

There are two houses on my typical dog walk route that have heated driveways. They're probably feeling like the smartest guys in town right now... there's not a speck on either driveway and both are perfectly dry. (Says the gal who just cleared my driveway for the 3rd time today after taking the dog for a 2.5 mile walk on many an un-shoveled sidewalk. Oh yeah, and I fractured my tailbone in Dec. when I fell on black ice while walking the dog. And I have an 8 mile race coming up in a few weeks! Arrgg) Yes, I have driveway envy.

The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article about heated sidewalks (some in Oak Park, IL; and apparently most of the sidewalks in Holland MI are heated) and heated driveways. Here are some excerpts for those interested. (I think you have to subscribe to read the whole article but I'll link it below anyway.)

From the article:

About 150 miles northeast of Chicago, in Holland, Mich., almost all the city's downtown sidewalks are kept unfrozen by heated water flowing in tubes under the surface. Waste heat from the local power plant is channeled through the snow-melt system before being discharged into Lake Michigan, according to the Holland Board of Public Works. [This use of 'waste heat' sounds like a good idea to me.]

... The proverbial pothole in these designer walkways is the expense. ...But some developers will no longer build million-dollar homes without the systems in place...

...setting up piping in a front stoop alone can run up to $7,000. For a large driveway? Up to $200,000. In some cases, the systems can be hooked up to an existing boiler, potentially reducing the cost, Vasquez said.
Then there's the cost of operating the systems. For a typical residential unit, customers may pay about $50 to $100 more per month for natural gas, said Rick Witt, co-owner of R.H. Witt, a heating and cooling company based in Glenview that installs six to 12 of the systems at homes every year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heated sidewalks

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 5:56PM
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LawPaw

I wonder what the operational cost would be for a .7 mile driveway?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 6:21PM
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bpathome

Hi, Chiberian, I'm up in the 'burb of Antarc-ditka :)

I think I remember reading about Holland when they put the sidewalks in, part of a downtown revitalization, making it easier and more attractive for people to come into town. I hope it works! I wonder if it works in Oak Park?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:00PM
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autumn.4

Yes - the sidewalks in Holland are heated and it is awesome if you are downtown during the winter. A lot of runners run loops down there for that reason.

My dh would LOVE a kubota. I hear frequently how badly we NEED a tractor. Hahahaha.

chicagoans-good luck with your run. I am another all season walker/runner so I get what you are saying. The other day on my walk it felt more like hiking with the heavy slimy snow we got. Ugh! I have a pinched nerve in my back right now so only walking but I actually prefer cold weather running to summer time any day.

This has been the longest winter ever and it's only early February. :(

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:28PM
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chicagoans

Autumn are you from the Holland area? I've been going to camp in Saugatuck since I was a kid. I love that coast of Michigan - so pretty! My DD is looking at colleges and loved her visit to Hope (she's a junior in High School.) Thanks for the well wishes on the run. Happily it's on St John in the Virgin Islands, so no ice on that route!

Since my fall I've been wearing Yak Trax when I walk. They're great and I highly recommend them for safer winter walking.

Stay warm everyone!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:52PM
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bpathome

Chicagoans, is that the Presbyterian Camp in Saugatuck? I hear it's going to a developer :( . Take me with you to VI?

All you intrepid cyclists out there, do be careful. DH was driving in a line of cars, very slowly, and a cyclist was to the side and slipped in the slush. Fortunately DH was going slow enough that he could, what's a slow word for swerve, and miss him.

Love my Yak Trax! My snowshoes, too, tons of fun!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:07PM
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Jules

Ditto Autumn's comments about Holland's sidewalks -- heavenly! Holland is such a great city all around. Chicagoans, I can't imagine your daughter not absolutely loving Hope and the surrounding area. You must run lots of hills on St John, yes? Good luck. We're headed there Saturday but I'll be sticking to walks and water!

We live north of Holland and were quoted about $20k for a heated driveway because we'd need an additional boiler, separate from the boiler being used for our radiant in-floor heat. We debated quite a bit but finally decided against it since our hope is to spend more time in the south during the winters within a couple years. Sure would be a nice luxury, but it's hard to justify the expense, especially if we won't be around much. H did insist on a heated garage though.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:16PM
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autumn.4

chicagoans-yes and no. I was born and raised in the middle of the state but went to Grand Valley State and have settled in the Holland area now. I have been over here about 20 years now....half my life already. Wow! Anyhow-yes yaktrax are a must and I go through more than a pair a season. Boo! I am about 10 or so miles from Saugatuck in a small rural town. :)

Now that will be stunning scenery to run in! YES! Mackinac Island has 3 different runs and I have done the 8 miler twice and it was also stunning running along the lake with the bridge as a backdrop. Not the same as the Virgin Islands but it was pretty amazing.

Hope is highly regarded and it is a nice area - I prefer it and love raising my kiddos here. ;)

This post was edited by Autumn.4 on Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 7:02

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 7:00AM
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Jules

Correction: my husband reminded me that our quote for the heated driveway was just over $30k because the boiler is so much larger than what's needed for interior heating. Yowza.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 7:58AM
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chicagoans

bpa: yes, it's the Presbyterian Camps. We're actually still working to save the camps; big meeting on Saturday with the Presbytery. (The developer is asking for some concessions; and the group I'm working with has partnered with the Oval Beach Preservation group to make a very good offer. Hoping and praying that the camp is saved!)

jujubean: You're going to STJ Saturday?! That's my favorite place. We'll just miss you; we're leaving Sunday the 16th. Yes, lots of hills - the race (8 Tuff Miles) runs along Centerline from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay. (Do you read the virgin-islands-on-line forum?)

Autumn: you live in a beautiful area! I love that part of MI.

Sorry to hijack the thread with talk about camp, runs and islands. :) Now back to our regularly scheduled shoveling.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:46AM
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live_wire_oak

You can only talk about islands if you share pictures of islands. ;-) And I'd rather deal with snow than ice. Lots of folks without power around here right now. :-(

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:01AM
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nostalgicfarm

LawPaw....HaHa you should definitely get a heated driveway! Funny I threw the idea out of there as sort of a joke :). We need a tractor to clear our snow. Didn't realize that heated driveways and sidewalks were becoming so popular....such a sheltered life I live out here in the country :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 8:19PM
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nostalgicfarm

LawPaw....HaHa you should definitely get a heated driveway! Funny I threw the idea out of there as sort of a joke :). We need a tractor to clear our snow. Didn't realize that heated driveways and sidewalks were becoming so popular....such a sheltered life I live out here in the country :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:05PM
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bpathome

Look what I saw on This Old House! Instead of pulling the snow off the roof with a roof rake, you run this UP the roof, the tarp unrolls under the snow, and the snow slides right off.

Here is a link that might be useful: But the snow still lands on your head

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:10PM
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jane__ny

Why do you need a boiler? Can't you run electric wires under the driveway?

Jane

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 1:00AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

The green in me just shudders at the thought of heated driveways. Yikes! Only if you install solar panels to power them, please.

When I worked, I was at the headquarters of a very large corp. and they did put electric heat under a small swath of the drive as it came out of the parking garage to keep it clear but that was all they did. If it's too expensive for a major corporation, it's definitely too expensive for me!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Actually for building for snow and other reasons, the back side of our house has no gutters so no ice damming and no cleaning gutters that high up. It works well as the "avalanches" come off the roof, clearing the snow off the solar panels quickly after a storm.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 7:58AM
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DreamingoftheUP

Time to shovel the roof - Keweenaw County, Michigan.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 2:15PM
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LawPaw

nostalgicfarm, I'm tempted to suggest it to my builder to see his reaction. Just getting electricity out to my place cost more than my 20 acre lot.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 3:05PM
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Jules

jane, I have no clue. My husband simply requested a quote from our mechanical sub, but we didn't look into all available options.

Dreaming, that is quite a photo. Good luck with that! Our daughter is in her first year at Michigan Tech and is loving it in the Keweenaw, especially this week during Winter Carnival. I joked recently that she can't really be my daughter because we took her to visit a college in warm, sunny Florida but instead she chose the #1 snowiest college in the US. She told me last week "it's so warm out ... I'm not wearing a coat" when it was 10 degrees, a relative heat wave after the previous week's -48 wind chills. My husband is also a Tech grad, so I guess she gets her love for winter from him.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 3:13PM
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ice1

Hi you all. I'm in Iceland and we have geothermo heating in all our homes. All the newer houses have underflooring heating and most all use the leftover water ( the water comes into the house 80 degree hot celcius and on its way out it is run thru the driveway ) my heating and electric bill together is around 300$ always the same every month.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 4:56PM
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LawPaw

I suppose it's easier to keep the ice off when there's a volcano under your driveway.

Where do you get the water to cool your house in the summer, or is that not geothermal?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:24PM
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ice1

Lol. Here we dont get warmer than 60 70 farenheit in the summer so if we are warm we open up a window.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:38PM
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