r/mildlyinteresting Dec 01 '22 Silver 4 Helpful 3 Wholesome 5

My neighbours heated driveway melting the fresh snow

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100.1k Upvotes

5.7k comments sorted by

8.2k

u/TheAmazingDisgrace Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22 Silver

Holland, MI actually has a system of heated streets and sidewalks. The largest municipally-run system in North America:

“By using waste heat from power generation, water is heated and circulated through 120 miles of plastic tubing underneath the streets and sidewalks. The tubes are 3/4" in circumference; Holland has 600,000 square feet of tubing totaling 4.9 miles and 10.5 acres of heated streets and sidewalks. With the water heating up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the system can melt 1" of snow per hour - even at 20 degrees fahrenheit with 10 MPH winds!”

It was built and launched in the 80s to help draw people to downtown businesses and away from the trendy malls and department stores.

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u/sinkrate Dec 01 '22

Peak Midwest right there

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u/k-NE Dec 01 '22 Silver Helpful Take My Energy

Actually it's only about 663 ft above sea level.

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u/Boloar Dec 01 '22 Take My Energy

There's global peaks, and then there's local peaks.

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u/twinklestiltskin Dec 01 '22

And now I’m piqued

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u/Midwestern_Childhood Dec 01 '22

Sometimes that happens when peeking at Reddit.

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u/Act-Math-Prof Dec 01 '22

I’m a math teacher and I LOLed at this comment!

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u/hndsmngnr Dec 01 '22

Those heated sidewalks are the best thing about that city. Even in the heart of winter the downtown area still pops.

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u/TheVoicesArentTooBad Dec 01 '22

If the upkeep isn't super high, I wonder if they pay for themselves. Between increased business revenue and less people falling and getting hurt (or dying).

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u/gloku_ Dec 01 '22

Less plowing and snow removal in general probably saves a fortune. I live in northern MN and every single year they never budget enough money for snow removal and many streets are left uncleared for days after a big storm. Plows and salt trucks alone are expensive but having to pay overtime to dozens of drivers is a huge money sink. I wish we had something like this.

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u/kookyabird Dec 01 '22

You forgot what is arguably the biggest benefit of reducing snow and ice removal activities. The reduction of side effects of snow and ice removal!

  • Less salt getting dumped into the ecosystem.
  • Less wear and tear on roads.
  • Less frequent repair/replacement of those roads. (Yes I know Michigan roads are pretty shit in a lot of places. I grew up there.)
  • Less wear and tear on vehicles due to salty road spray and shitty roads.

Not to mention it means that you can have your crews cover more non-downtown areas for the same budget. Plowing suburban and rural areas is overall more efficient than city streets because you don't have many sidewalks or curbs to worry about, nor having to focus on freeing up street parking.

The list goes on quite a bit. If stuff like this could be implemented more widely it would be huge.

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u/Doomquill Dec 01 '22

Especially because they're saying they're simply using the waste heat from power generation. It's a brilliant way to recycle, since waste heat is usually just dumped into the atmosphere.

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u/[deleted] Dec 01 '22

*** brilliant way to reuse.

Which is even better because reusing is better than recycling!

There is a reason it was ordered: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. It's order of importance!

We've focused way too much on recycling. It's time to reduce and reuse!

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u/imaginaryaardvark_ Dec 01 '22

Michigan State University has heated sidewalks too. Sure made walking to some classes a lot nicer in the dead of Michigan winter

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u/ohdamnitreddit Dec 01 '22

That’s a fantastic way of utilising wasted heat! So nice to read about forward thinking from city officials.

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u/Horridone Dec 01 '22

The west side of Michigan has some interesting sites. Just north of Holland, Mi there is the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant that started construction in ‘68. It has a lookout tower with great views that go out over Lake Michigan. It also has / had the largest fish net ever installed to keep the fish away from the turbines.

The project was given the 1973 award for "Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement" by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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u/Alexandertoadie Dec 01 '22

And from the 80s!

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u/CoraxTechnica Dec 01 '22

Meaning it will never be done again

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u/BeegBeegYoshiTheBeeg Dec 01 '22

Dude they use waste heat for all sorts of applications. It’s becoming more and more common in power plants and manufacturing. Once producers realize they can save money by “recycling” the energy they’re down to invest in the infrastructure

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u/nasadowsk Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 02 '22

I know of sewer plants that use digester gas to run engines that generate electricity, or run processes blowers. They have heat exchangers on the exhaust to pull the heat for processes heat. It’s pretty neat.

Edit: bad spelling

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u/Totallystymied Dec 01 '22

It's really helpful that it was implements then, but they are still adding to the network whenever they do road construction!

Source: am a resident

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u/skeetwooly Dec 01 '22

I want my MTV and heated sidewalks please..

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u/MatureUsername69 Dec 01 '22 Gold Take My Energy hehehehe

Well, what you get is Rob Dyrdek and a bunch of potholes.

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u/Havannahanna Dec 01 '22

Wasted Heat? In Germany it‘s used to heat buildings or for hot water supply. I envy those who are connected to those networks. Much cheaper than heating with gas/electricity.

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u/ricecake Dec 01 '22

They do that in the US too, but there's only a handful of places where it makes sense.
In low density areas it stops being efficient to pipe the steam, and in high density areas people tend to prefer to use space for housing or business, not power plants.

Since land is cheap and plentiful here, people tend to build powerplants far from where people live, unless it's a really old plant.
The town I live in has large underground steam tunnels, and sells steam for industrial and residential usage, but you have to be within a few miles of the plant, which is directly downtown.
On the one hand, the distinctive smokestacks of a century old coal fired power plant has it's charm, and actually inspired the logo for the city, but it's also a massive century old coal powerplant with 187 meter smokestacks in the middle of the downtown area of a city with more than 100 thousand people.

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u/Apprehensive-Maybe91 Dec 01 '22

This was really informative and interesting, thanks!

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u/CheeseWagonWheel Dec 01 '22

3/4" in circumference is a whole lot smaller than 3/4" in diameter, which pipes are almost always measured in. Can't be 3/4" circumference. You'd get almost no flow through that.

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u/relevance_everywhere Dec 01 '22

That was my first thought as well, haha. Must be a typo.

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u/KawaiiKoshka Dec 01 '22

Reykjavik (Iceland) also pumps géothermie water under all their main streets and sidewalks and some car parks too: https://nea.is/geothermal/direct-utilization/snow-melting/

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u/Zikkan1 Dec 01 '22

I imagine him standing in his driveway in the morning while his neighbours shovels snow, laughing " haha look at these peasants "

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u/NinjaLanternShark Dec 01 '22

I'd be outside with a really really light kitchen broom, casually dusting off the last little bits of snow.

"Morning Frank! Cold one today, innit?"

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u/Professional_Eye3767 Dec 01 '22 Silver Helpful

I keep forgetting to buy a new snow brush, so everytime it snows I've been brushing of my car with the owners manual.

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u/TheFilthyBathtub Dec 01 '22

This is your reminder to go out and buy a new snow brush today.

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u/_R_A_ Dec 01 '22

Yes... But that electric bill...

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u/ashda1st Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22 Helpful

I’m surprised there aren’t a ton of stray cats just lying on the driveway

Edit: grammar police have arrested me and I’m out on probation, as long as I edit laying to lying.

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u/wintermute-- Dec 01 '22

This seems like the cat equivalent of finding an oasis in the desert

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u/belarged Dec 01 '22

I’ve seriously thought about putting a heating mat out in the backyard for the cats that patrol overnight.

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u/surnik22 Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

You can buy little heated cat huts online. Or make a little shelter yourself out of a large plastic bin with a entrance hole cut in, then fill it with straw (not hay). Normal towels and blankets can get wet and freeze

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u/ShaunLucPicard Dec 01 '22

Use straw not hay. Hay gets soggy.

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u/annies_boobs_feet Dec 01 '22

My city ass doesn't understand the difference between straw and hay. Sure, I can google it, but meh.

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u/DebrecenMolnar Dec 01 '22 Helpful

To stay in ELI5 fashion: Hay is grass grown to feed to the cows; straw is dried up plant parts leftover from the wheat harvest, and happens to make great cow bedding.

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u/rollyobx Dec 01 '22 Silver Helpful

Hay is for horses, straw is for strays

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u/Gorddammit Dec 01 '22

Just to add on to the intuitive and material difference here as well, Hay is generally blades of plant/leaves. Straw is the stem structure that, once dried, is essentially hollow tubes of woody material.

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u/CherryHaterade Dec 01 '22

.....wait did I just learn why straws are called straws?

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u/blade_torlock Dec 01 '22

Yes, yes you did. We are lucky they weren't called reeds.

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u/estabso Dec 01 '22

Hay soft. Straw hard.

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u/TheNamelessUsers Dec 01 '22

Or Hungry Hay, Sleepy Straw

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u/prototype-proton Dec 01 '22 Helpful

nah, use brick. haven't you learned from the three little pigs?

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u/myitredditacc Dec 01 '22

Your house will turn into Sleepwalkers. At least the cats won't want to kill you and their scratches won't burn.

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u/MiasMias Dec 01 '22

i dont think its warm, just more than 0 degrees.

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u/shot-by-ford Dec 01 '22

That and it’s wet as hell. Probably warmer to just sit on dry snow.

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u/armcurls Dec 01 '22

I know your joking, but it’s snowing… I never see outdoor cats around in a snow storm.

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u/prototype-proton Dec 01 '22

they fly south for the winter

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u/Tat2dDad Dec 01 '22 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote

I won't tell you I won the lottery, but there will be signs

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u/much_longer_username Dec 01 '22

I'm told that if you're doing new construction, getting this installed isn't terribly expensive - it's basically just plastic tubing you lay down over the rebar but before the concrete is poured. Running it, on the other hand, that might cost you more over time. Still, you don't need it to be hot, just above freezing - a couple hundred watt heat pump might be plenty?

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u/anonypanda Dec 01 '22

Having lived in a snowy country, these are a lot cheaper for the winter than paying for a plow service and can save you a ton of time in the morning if you need to get to work after snowfall.

The heated driveway we had cost around 200 euro a year in electricity, it was a bit smaller than this, but in Finland where power costs a lot more. It only turned on when there was snow, which practically speaking meant it ran all winter at least low power.

It couldn't deal with the very biggest snows but generally did a great job ensuring I had to only plow snow once a month, rather than nearly every morning.

Don't know what it cost to install as it was already part of the house when we bought it.

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u/PostsAnimalGifs Dec 01 '22

If nothing else it ought to ensure that the driveway isn't covered in ice and might make the snow easier to remove. Snow is fine, but ice is the worst.

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u/anonypanda Dec 01 '22

yes - lack of ice was great.

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u/echointexas Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

Did you just end up with a lot of ice outside the driveway? Snow melts… water runs off….. and then is that water just refreeezing on the grass?

And was it hot enough to dry up all the melted snow water? (Trying to make sense of how this doesn’t just turn into an ice mess!)

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u/Zexy_Contender Dec 01 '22

My city has heated sidewalks downtown and I never see water/ice collecting anywhere. It appears to all evaporate as it melts. I think you can see it in this picture as well

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u/echointexas Dec 01 '22

Interesting! What level of snow does your city get/where do you live (if you're comfortable saying). I live in Montreal, and it's hard to imagine that amount of snow evaporating at a rate that keeps up with how much sometimes dumps... but.... if they're constant hotplates...then, maybe that makes more sense!

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u/SchroedingersSphere Dec 01 '22

As someone who grew up in the mountains up north, I can tell you that in cold climates like this, you're going to be getting runoff no matter what. It's just a part of the long thawing process. Usually the snow and ice will melt and the water will be carried off into drains in the sides of the street, or will be absorbed into the grass. Anything else will evaporate with the first few days of warmer weather.

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u/shpiffeh Dec 01 '22

My snobby next door neighbor has a heated driveway and all the melted snow just flows to the end of their driveway and freezes on the sidewalk making it super difficult to navigate. They do nothing to remove the ice. Yes, I'm a bit salty about it (pun absolutely intended)

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u/Cimexus Dec 01 '22

If you’re laying a new slab anyway, the additional cost of getting this isn’t too bad. Works similarly to indoor in-floor heating.

Keep in mind it only has to keep the concrete a degree or two above freezing, and only while snow is actually falling. So running costs aren’t as much as you’d think either.

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u/nelozero Dec 01 '22

Dang I just redid my driveway. This would have been awesome to install.

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u/Moodymoo8315 Dec 01 '22

The materials to do it aren't terribly much if you can do the labor. I considered doing it to the parking lot I had to put in for my 4plex, but then I realized I'd still have to pay someone to shovel the city owned sidewalks.

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u/uncoolcentral Dec 01 '22

… Like moving away from the freezing cold so that you don’t need to think about a driveway heater?

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u/FateEntity Dec 01 '22 To The Stars

Some of us like the cold. It's the heat that's awful.

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u/NattyMcLight Dec 01 '22

Give me a cold winter day over a hot summer day. I can bundle up and feel warm outside in a blizzard, but I don't have an air-conditioned space suit for walking around in the summer.

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u/TheMachinesWin Dec 01 '22

You can always put on more, you can only take off so much.

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u/sticky-bit Dec 01 '22

The part I hate is taking on and off coats, gloves, and forgetting my knit hat somewhere.

There's also the whole "doing things requiring fine motor skills while wearing heavy gloves" thing and the "hold on, I've got it on one of a dozen pockets somewhere" annoyances.

But to be honest, I hate a cold windy rain worse than snow.

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u/infantinemovie5 Dec 01 '22

Us construction workers can tell you all about trying to shit in a portapotty when its 9*F out.

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u/ChrisAplin Dec 01 '22

There are other options between too hot and too cold.

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u/Mrchristopherrr Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

Is there anywhere that’s perfect year round?

Edit: alright, the next person who says San Francisco is getting pistol whipped.

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u/Sanjispride Dec 01 '22 Silver

Yes, but if you dare mention it on Reddit you’ll get swarmed with people telling you what a “shithole” it is.

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u/Lightning_Lemonade Dec 01 '22

Where

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u/rooplstilskin Dec 01 '22 Silver

San Diego area is one of the most temperate places in the world.

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u/tailuptaxi Dec 01 '22

I lived in Santa Barbara for a number of years. It was easy. 70 degrees always. Then the occasional flood, fire, or landslide would occur.

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u/SwoldierAtArms Dec 01 '22

Lived in the area for few years. When the "winter" nights get down into the 40s and 50s that feels freezing... One of the best climates for people that hate cold weather.

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u/BrazilianMerkin Dec 01 '22

Always thought about how my dream job would be a meteorologist in San Diego. 95% of the days are more or less the same.

One of the reasons why I thought Steve Carrell’s character Brick in Anchorman was so perfect. The dumbest person ever can succeed as a weatherman in the Whale’s Vagina.

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u/wattatime Dec 01 '22

Some of the costal parts of LA like palos verdes are dream weather. High of 85 on the hottest month. San Diego is very good as well. Further north along the coast of California is nice too but it does get a little colder just not freezing cold but still cold. Pacifica California has like 3 days a year where the temp might go over 90 and no days below freezing.

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u/itdcole Dec 01 '22

As someone who has lived in the tropics 97% of their life....

I miss cold air.

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u/nolitos Dec 01 '22

Yes. It's easy to stay warm during the winter. But it's impossible to stay cool when it's 30+ degrees outside.

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u/ThunderousOrgasm Dec 01 '22

….or moving TO the freezing cold, so we don’t have to suffer from the heat and humidity ever again.

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u/Anthony12125 Dec 01 '22

I moved to Wisconsin from Florida. Not everyone likes the heat. This would be perfect here

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u/JumpHealthy675 Dec 01 '22

Dallas to Minneapolis over here. That Texas heat messed with my moods.After 5 years I took my talents north up to good ol Minnesota.

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u/IblewupHoth Dec 01 '22

FL > MN here. The thing I always tell people is that having no seasons messed with my sense of passing time. Like, the years and years I lived in Florida are all a blur to me. It got depressing.

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u/uumopapsidn Dec 01 '22

I like having seasons. If I won, I dont think I'd change climes

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u/WorksOnContingencyNo Dec 01 '22

The cold keeps most of the meanest snakes, spiders and centipedes away too

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u/Auphor_Phaksache Dec 01 '22

You fancy huh?

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u/BurnzillabydaBay Dec 01 '22 Respect

Hair done? Nails done? Everything did.

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u/Notmjuslivin Dec 01 '22

Well aren't you a breath of fresh air

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u/Mac503 Dec 01 '22

"From all these superficial gold digging bitches in here"

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u/hangryghostcrab Dec 01 '22

They get a baller, figure they ain't got to pick a career

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u/[deleted] Dec 01 '22

It’s been a long time since I thought about this song

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u/LibertyRocks Dec 01 '22

Nah, his neighbor is though

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u/smthngwyrd Dec 01 '22

I’m curious how much electricity this takes?

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u/Mr-Hands_long Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

just looked it up

Depending onelectrical costs where you live and how much snow you get, it can cost$120 to $600 per winter season to heat a 1,000-square-foot driveway. Thenational average is $0.14 per kilowatt per hour. That translates to about $1.60 an hour per snowstorm.

edit: changed from 8 cents to 14 cents

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u/Standard_Wooden_Door Dec 01 '22

That’s actually way less than I thought

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u/10gistic Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

It really only needs to be heated to 33f or somewhere above freezing. Not nearly as expensive as heating to human livable temperatures.

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u/SpicyChickenZh Dec 01 '22 Silver

But the latent heat to melt 32F ice is the same as heating up the same amount of water from 32F to 176F

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u/Daul77 Dec 01 '22

Can you dumb that down slightly and go into a bit more detail🤣 I don’t know what latent heat means or how you came up with these numbers.
Thanks!

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u/TheBupherNinja Dec 01 '22

It takes more energy to melt ice than to heat up water.

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u/BraveTheWall Dec 01 '22

Is this why glaciers can exist in places with otherwise no snow/ice, where it's hot enough that you're wearing shorts and a t shirt?

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u/10gistic Dec 01 '22

Melting a gram of ice takes 334 joules of energy, and heating a gram of water 1C takes 4.2 joules. So they're right that melting snow takes a lot more energy than just heating up by a degree or two.

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u/Electrical-Cup-5922 Dec 01 '22

You just made it more confusing. ELI5 please.

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u/Dark_Shade_75 Dec 01 '22 Bravo!

It's harder to melt ice than it is to heat up water.

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u/10gistic Dec 01 '22

Approximately 79.5x harder.

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u/RManDelorean Dec 01 '22

Lol Jesus thank you, this was getting painful to witness

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u/7tacoguys Dec 01 '22 Gold Take My Energy

When heating or cooling things, heat can be applied in 2 forms: latent heat and sensible heat.

Latent heat is energy that contributes to changing the phase. Examples include melting (change from solid to liquid), boiling (change from liquid to vapor). When a pure substance undergoes a phase change, temperature remains constant.

Sensible heat is heating or cooling without a phase change, and as a result, just a change in temperature. Example would be heating up liquid water.

A phase change requires a lot of energy compared to small temperature change of the same substance. A relatable example of this would be to heat a pot of water on your stove. It might only take a couple minutes to heat a small pot of water from 80F straight from the tap to 212F boiling point (a 132F difference in temperature), but it would take much longer to boil the entire pot dry (change all of the liquid water to water vapor) at the same heat rate. And the entire time the water is boiling, the pot will be at a constant temperature of 212F.

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u/Rygree10 Dec 01 '22

Dude I’ve never really understood latent heat. This is excellent thanks

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u/much_longer_username Dec 01 '22

When a pure substance undergoes a phase change, temperature remains constant.

AKA why it's so cheap to calibrate my thermometers vs the other equipment I use for my aquarium.

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u/Shufflepants Dec 01 '22

Before ice can melt, it must first be raised to a temperature 0 degrees Celcius. But then, as you continue to add heat, rather than increasing the temperature, it just melts but remains the same temperature. It's only after it's melted that adding more heat continues to increase its temperature. So, it takes a separate amount of energy to melt ice that doesn't contribute to actually raising its temperature. And that extra amount of energy just to melt it is much greater than the amount of energy it takes to raise its temperature by one degree.

So, if you have some 1kg of ice that is currently at -4C that you want to melt and bring up to 1C. You have to first input 8432 Joules of heat energy just to bring the ice up to 0C, then you have to input 334000 Joules to melt the 1kg of ice at 0C into 1kg of water at 0C, then you have to input another 4187 Joules of heat energy to raise the water up 1 degree to 1C. So, in this process, you spent 346619 Joules of heat energy, but the vast majority of it, 334,000J worth, went into just transitioning it from ice to water without raising its temperature, and a mere 12,619J went into raising its temperature by 5 degrees. If you just had a kg of water that you just raised by 5 degrees, it would take far less energy than if you have to force it through a phase transition.

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u/Wyand1337 Dec 01 '22

If you heat up ice it will stop getting warmer once you hit the freezing/melting temperature, despite you keeping the heater going.

It will then slowly turn from ice to water, which requires the additional energy from the heater. After turning completely liquid, it will then resume warming up further.

The energy it takes to turn it from completely frozen to completely liquid while the temperature is "stuck" is roughly the same amount it takes to get it from room temperature to boiling.

(When boiling, the temperature is stuck again while it turns to steam bit by bit while you apply more heat)

So the original comment points out that yes, you only need to heat the parking lot by a few degrees, but melting the snow still uses up a huge chunk of energy compared to just increasing the temperature.

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u/SilverTabby Dec 01 '22

Turning water into hot water is easy. It's just water, but now with more hot.

Turning ice into water is hard. You need to breakup the structure of the ice, first, and that uses up a lot of energy on something that is not hotness.

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u/Entire_Camp_5426 Dec 01 '22

Changing phases, like melting from solid to liquid, takes a relatively large amount of energy to transition. So the amount of heat it takes to melt (32 °F ice to 32 °F fluid) is the same heat to increase temperature in a single phase (liquid) from 32 to 176

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u/NoAirBanding Dec 01 '22

Could a system like this use passive geothermal heat by pumping the loop though a somewhat deep borehole?

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u/Daloure Dec 01 '22

I think Iceland does something similar to that in places but they are very hot close to the surface of the ground compared to most locations

Edit: https://nea.is/geothermal/direct-utilization/snow-melting/

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u/ocular__patdown Dec 01 '22 Gold

The national average is $0.08 per kilowatt per hour.

Cries in SDGE

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u/Snyp3r1337 Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

In Melbourne, Aus its 34c haha.

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u/Phreakophil Dec 01 '22

Germany: HMB, it is 53ct since war in Ukraine

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u/Trainax Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 07 '22

Same in Italy. The price of electricity has been around €0.50 / kWh since the war started

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u/MrBuckstar Dec 01 '22

€0,85 in the Netherlands..

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u/PirateKrys Dec 01 '22

When I lived in the Phoenix area, my electric bill was $300 a month in the summer. So from April to October, I'd be paying about $1800. The upside was in the winter, I would average $20 a month.

This was with the M-Power box through SRP. It was pretty much a pay as you go for electric.

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u/Madd_Joeri Dec 01 '22

so jealous of those energy prices. Here 1 kWh reached almost 1€

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u/JoOngle Dec 01 '22

I was thinking the same thing, where we live that luxury would cost so much I'd have to sell my house.

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u/Boushveg- Dec 01 '22

Wait, y'all have a house?

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u/probenation Dec 01 '22

Average cost of having a heart attack is around $25,000.

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u/JKMC4 Dec 01 '22

I’d rather heat my driveway for 41 to 208 winters for that price.

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u/omygoshgamache Dec 01 '22

There’s also the cost analysis of dying. I’m no actuary though.

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u/LFA91 Dec 01 '22

Thank you

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u/n108bg Dec 01 '22

That's really not that bad compared to the alternatives.

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u/Subjektzero Dec 01 '22

Wait you only pay 8 Cent per kWh?

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u/AzDopefish Dec 01 '22

No, national average in the US is .18 kWh but average in a state like California is .27 kWh

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u/AnnyuiN Dec 01 '22

I was gonna say, that was quite wrong if it was 8 cents per kWh national average. WA state where I live has some of the cheapest power and yet only hits 11 cents per kWh iirc for PSE

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u/Resident-Doctor9369 Dec 01 '22

8 Cent per kWh

You guys live in heaven

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u/[deleted] Dec 01 '22

[deleted]

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u/BurntPizzaEnds Dec 01 '22

Yelling at your son with a shovel;

Shovel - $15

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u/Matrix17 Dec 01 '22

I'm sorry but where are you paying 8 cents lmao

Most places I've lived it's between 18 and 35

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u/bonesmackn Dec 01 '22

Is it powered or hot water? I'm a concreter in Aus and alot of in house heated flooring is water so gonna assume it can be utilised outside

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u/alphamusic1 Dec 01 '22

At least in Finland I've seen public outdoor areas heated with liquid. In the case I know of, it was a geothermal system. I haven't seen a driveway being heated like that here, but we usually get smaller quantities of snow at a time, so it's easier to clear compared to the lake effect snow that can dump a few feet / 50-100cm at a time.

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u/RogueNinja Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

Speaking as a HVAC tech, the heat is likely being produced by a boiler then transferred to the lines through a plate heat exchanger. When you're doing snowmelt you don't just use water, you need anti-freeze. Glycol is usually used. Geothermal is also good for this, but I see the boiler option a lot more in Canada.

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u/sorscode Dec 01 '22

I have this setup (Missouri) and I use a Glycol solution. It’s an amazing setup. I also did my garage floor with it as I work on cars as a hobby. I can set the floor temp to a 65-68* temp in the middle of winter and work comfortably.

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u/IAMA_Cucumber_AMA Dec 01 '22

I feel like it would be way too energy inefficient to not be hydronic.

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u/thepoorgroomsbride Dec 01 '22

for all those curious on location: Alaska

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u/LiloDinAnt Dec 01 '22

Found the answer I was looking for!

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u/somedooode Dec 01 '22

damn, some nice houses in Alaska

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u/smugmisswoodhouse Dec 01 '22

That would be incredibly useful if you had a job where it was imperative you be able to leave your home quickly regardless of inclement weather (like a surgeon or a spy or something).

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u/Jakkobyte Dec 01 '22 Silver

I love that your mind goes straight to surgeon and spy

1.0k

u/--_-Deadpool-_-- Dec 01 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome

The names Bond... Doctor Bond

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u/Snooc5 Dec 01 '22

Like the Yakuza surgeon from the Office.. he would definitely need to leave his house quickly i bet

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u/gwiggle5 Dec 01 '22

In Japan, heart surgeon, number one. Steady hand.

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u/Jacob6493 Dec 01 '22

Lots of EMS stations up north actually use this. The plow isn't always there in time!

Source: am paramedic

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u/green_jandals Dec 01 '22 Take My Energy

Most spies I know have a system like this

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u/userax Dec 01 '22

Yup. Everyone knows the first rule of spying is to always draw attention to yourself.

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u/[deleted] Dec 01 '22

[deleted]

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u/DeusExBlockina Dec 01 '22

There's a man who leads a life of danger

To every plow company he meets he stays a stranger

With every snowy flake another smirk he makes

Odds are he won't shovel snow tomorrow!

Secret Heated-driveway Man, Secret Heated-driveway Man

They've given you a number and taken away your plow

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u/Sebbo-Bebbo Dec 01 '22

You can never be sure to know them if they are spies

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u/ccc_27 Dec 01 '22

Sure it's nice, but seriously... if you're worried about getting to your next espionage job the 1 meter compacted snow wall the plow leaves at the end of the driveway is going to eat your Aston Martin for breakfast. I suppose if you have a heated driveway you also have headlight machine guns to dismantle a wall of snow...

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u/Liquorlapper Dec 01 '22

The headlight machine guns are mostly to clear fallen branches along the way. For the snow wall you really want to back up to it and hit the oil slicks. Give it a minute to soak in, then use the running board flamethrowers. Now, some of the melted snow might refreeze into an ice sheet if you let it set too long. A few caltrops will help with grip. You'll be out in 3-4 minutes max.

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u/rinn10 Dec 01 '22

I've seen my sister in law fall on ice in the driveway so many times. One of these days, she's going to fracture a wrist or tailbone, or hit her head.

She was very lazy about shoveling snow when I lived with her. If I wasn't able to do it bc of being at work, she'd let it sit and become ice.

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u/simian_fold Dec 01 '22

Its perfect... until you get off the heated bit

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u/Normal-Yogurtcloset5 Dec 01 '22

When I was a kid in the 70’s I told my father that someone should invent heated driveways and sidewalks to melt snow. He laughed at me and said it was a silly idea.

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u/CarmenxXxWaldo Dec 01 '22

Plot twist: your dad worked for a snow shovel company.

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u/Piyachi Dec 01 '22

His name? Mr Plow.

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u/UnsafeVoodoo Dec 01 '22

I feel like this would result in a ring of ice surrounding it

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u/wtfsafrush Dec 01 '22

Thats my first thought as well. So you melt the snow and the water runs down your driveway to the (unheated) street. Then what happens?

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u/juggett Dec 01 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!

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u/nba-player Dec 01 '22

A slippery slope indeed…

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u/snipersfire Dec 01 '22

Did you tell him about the Twinkie?

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u/srcorvettez06 Dec 01 '22

In my experience unless it’s snowing very heavily the water actually evaporates before it can run off and pool outside the heated area. My hometown has heated sidewalks and never had icing issues.

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u/treethecourt Dec 01 '22

Wow! What city has heated sidewalks?

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u/srcorvettez06 Dec 01 '22

Holland, Michigan in my case. We use the hot water from the power plant and pump it under all the sidewalks and the Main Street though town. Keeps them clear and dry all winter.

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u/Cardo94 Dec 01 '22

Rekjavik, in Iceland, I believe uses geothermal energy to heat their sidewalks.

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u/pm_me_your_shave_ice Dec 01 '22

Anchorage, AK also has some heated sidewalks in their downtown district.

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u/wonkey_monkey Dec 01 '22

Kingston, Jamaica. You never see any snow on them.

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u/just_an_anon72 Dec 01 '22

We have heated sidewalks at work, and I can confirm first hand, it pretty much just evaporates. The melting isn't a rapid melt and the sidewalk stays wet for 2-3 hours after it stops snowing before it dries.

It's a fantastic system, especially at work where I don't have to pay for it. But on the flip side, they don't have to pay someone to shovel it, possible liability for strains or injuries shoveling, no pedestrian slips and falls to pay for, less excess water in buildings, don't have to pay someone to sand the walks, or to then clean that sand off in the spring.

The sidewalk loops tie into the nearby building heating systems, which are all typical building natural gas powered furnaces. It is a separate loop(s) for the sidewalk runs.

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u/mooddoom Dec 01 '22

Ideally there’s a drain at the lowest point of the driveway

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u/olcrazypete Dec 01 '22

Tour guide in Reykjavík mentioned much of the town had this installed due to the ubiquitous and cheap geothermal water in the area.

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u/Sad_Struggle_8131 Dec 01 '22

The envy of the neighborhood

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u/DMMMOM Dec 01 '22

So now it's just the 26 miles to his workplace to deal with.

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u/Practical-Mix-4332 Dec 01 '22

Ah, the Jones’s house

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u/farmthis Dec 01 '22

These are almost ALWAYS done with ground source heat, pumping antifreeze through a closed loop down into the ground where it's warm(er) than outside. The only cost to this setup is install, and the electricity of the pump. It's pretty handy, and affordable.

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u/AutisticFingerBang Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

I’m a plumber in NY, and maybe where you are it’s different but that is definitely not how it’s done here. Everything you said is true about the pump and the antifreeze. But it also generally comes off a boiler to heat up. So theres that energy to take into account also and the boiler lol. Installation and material of a system like this from scratch is probably gunna run a home owner over 15k

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u/dalgeek Dec 01 '22

Yeah, unless you live in some place with permafrost then you can just dig down 6-10' and the ground will be 60-75F. Fuel tanks are buried at least 6' down so they don't have to worry about heating or cooling the gasoline because the ground temp is pretty stable throughout the year.

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u/Loadingexperience Dec 01 '22

This is what I will be installing for my house heating. My lot has high ground water level which is perfect for this system. I've already dug trenches 35m(110 feet) long and 2m(almost 7 feet) deep for the loops and at least 50cm(1,6 feet) of the trench is water.

Wanted to finish this year, but for last 3 weeks we've been sub zero here so the work kinda stopped as water froze in the trenches but once the pipes are underground even in the worst winters we get at most 30cm(1 feet) of frost in the ground.

It's also really energy efficient heating as temps underground are always more or less stable.

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u/zinszins Dec 01 '22

Those temperatures are highly dependent on how far you are from the equator. Here in southern Minnesota, ground temps average 46-48F.

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u/EmployeeRadiant Dec 01 '22

My parents have a pellet burner than runs hot water through pipes under the floor/to about knee height in the walls.

It's called radiant heating.

This.... this is called "why the fuck didn't my parents also have this?"

I know why... because they had two sons and a tractor, and that did just fine at clearing the driveway...

Shit, I had to plow the neighborhood with the Hayabusa every snowstorm

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u/[deleted] Dec 01 '22

I think it’s more interesting that you are standing on your roof in a snow storm.

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u/meansnothingever Dec 01 '22

While here in the UK we’re trying to stop our electric bills from bankrupting us and we’re being told to only heat one room and to go to bed earlier.

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u/petit_cochon Dec 01 '22

That's stupid. Y'all should get electric blankets, wrap them around you, and then drag them through the house via extension cord throughout your day.

God. I could run the British government so easily.

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u/BeepBeepScuzzi Dec 01 '22

Wow this looks way less expensive than setting a Roomba on fire and putting it on my driveway.

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u/[deleted] Dec 01 '22

I don't even have a heated house bruh people rich rich

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u/saltyswedishmeatball Dec 01 '22

In Sweden these are becoming more common. They're 100% worth the money.

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u/Pizzaboxhappy Dec 01 '22

My neighbor usually just pees on his.

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u/NO_BAD_THOUGHTS Dec 01 '22

What % of that house is a garage

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