Do you live in a part of the country that experiences extreme weather all winter long? If so, you might be wondering how our snow melting mats handle subzero temperatures.
The official answer is that HeatTrak mats work very well down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit and, depending on the type of surface, could work in temperatures even lower than that. For example, you might use your mats on a sidewalk, but you can also use them on decks or elevated surfaces such as a porch.
Let’s dig a little deeper into how subzero temperatures affect your heated mats.
What happens when you use snow melting mats on concrete?
If you place a snow melting mat on a surface such as concrete (as opposed to wood) it will run more efficiently because cement holds in heat well.
The reason for this is because, when you have a mat that’s been running for several hours, heat produced by the mat will absorb into the cement.
As a result, many of our customers tell us that, when mats have been working long enough, they melt snow in the areas ringing the mats, as well. The heat they generate warms up the surrounding pavement so that, even at -5 degrees Fahrenheit, any frozen precipitation coming in contact with that portion of pavement also will melt. We’ve even seen mats that function well at -10 degrees when placed on cement!
On the other hand, if you plan to use snow melting mats on a deck or a metal-grated surface, you should know that they won’t be as effective. Keep reading to find out why.
How snow melting mats work on elevated surfaces
Let’s get into a little science here. Have you ever driven down the highway and, before you come to an overpass, seen a sign that says Bridge May Freeze Before Road Surface? Or perhaps you’ve spotted a road sign warning you that the bridge might be icy and hazardous.
There’s an explanation for this: If a lot of air is circulating underneath the bridge, the road surface of the bridge is going to be colder than the rest of the road.
If you apply this paradigm to your deck at home, there, too, air is usually circulating underneath it and so the deck surface is going to be colder. Ergo, in subzero temperatures the mats won’t function as efficiently as they would if they were resting on solid cement.
This applies to metal-grated surfaces, too. Heat is going to do whatever it can to escape, and if there’s nothing to hold onto that heat — such as concrete or cement — the mat will have to work a lot harder. That’s not to say your snow melting mats won’t work in subzero temperatures.
They generally still will work, but the mats will melt snow less efficiently.