A Heated Driveway: Is It Actually Worth It?

Have you considered a heated driveway? Radiant heating slabs have been around for decades and have been growing in popularity in residential settings for the last 15 years.

heated driveawyND700/Shutterstock

Your sore back is screaming for a break from shoveling your driveway for the 10th time in two weeks. Or, perhaps you’re tired of bundling up in all those layers and snowplowing the driveway, only to do it all over again tomorrow.

No snowblower? This is the best way to shovel your driveway.

Have you considered a heated driveway?

Radiant heating slabs have been around for decades and have been growing in popularity in residential settings for the last 15 years, especially for areas that see measurable snowfall every year.

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Two Types of Heated Driveways

There are two systems available for heating driveways: A water-based hydronic system or an electric system. Electric systems are more affordable to install since you don’t need to purchase a boiler to heat the water. However, the cost of operating an electric system is higher.

Installing a hydronic system involves putting in PEX tubing under the driveway’s surface. The tubing is filled a non-freezing water solution that circulates through the boiler which is generally placed in the garage.

Electric systems use heating mats and cables, in a grid pattern, installed under the driveway’s surface.

Neither system requires much maintenance, although if you go with a hydronic system, have the boiler inspected once a year.

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How Much Does a Heated Driveway Cost?

While heated driveways will help you save on snow removal and damage often caused by salt and ice melting products, they are pricey to install.

Expect to pay $16,000 or more to install a heating system for an average-size driveway if the existing driveway needs to be removed to install the system. If the system is installed during new construction, it will cost less.

You’ll also want to factor in that you’ll pay more in utilities because the systems use gas or electricity to operate.

However, if installed correctly, you’ll get about 20 years of use from a heated driveway before it needs replacement. That’s a lot of shoveling and snowblowing you won’t have to do!

These 10 great snow and ice removal hacks will come in handy this winter.

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Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.