Winter brings a significant challenge with ice, snow, and frost. From backyard pools and gardens to roofs and chimneys, everything requires cleaning. Similarly, your vehicle, if it spent the whole night out in the snowstorm, needs proper deicing to function properly.
Typically, people who constantly experience snow on their roofs, driveways, vehicles, etc. often use heating mechanisms to melt the snow. While some prefer custom heaters, others may like standard heater types, such as electrical and mechanical heaters, to eliminate the snow.
Also, anti-icing chemicals have been used commonly, but they must be used carefully to avoid hazards. However, custom heaters, heating pads, and other heaters remain most users’ primary heating sources.
This post will look at some common types of heaters commonly used for de-icing.
What is De-icing?
De-icing involves different mechanisms to melt snow and frost. Depending on the surface type and amount of snow, there can be different ways to de-ice. Some of the chemical methods ensure that they not only remove ice but also prevent its formation for some time. Moreover, it ensures less adhesiveness, making it easier to remove ice mechanically.
If you don’t have the luxury of a film heater or a silicone heater pad, you may need to scrape or push the ice to de-ice further. However, heaters are most efficient in helping to de-ice your pavements, driveways, and rooftops.
Types of Heaters for De-icing
So, if you’re looking for a solution to melt ice from your driveway, what type of heater should you go for? Do you need flexible silicone heaters or a polyimide heater element? Or do you need a custom heater to de-ice small, hard-to-reach places?
Here are some options to consider:
Silicone is derived from sand and combined with hydrocarbons. Since it comes from sand, it’s easily available almost everywhere in the world. However, silicon is still much more expensive than other natural rubbers. That’s because it’s quite expensive to convert sand into the silicone.
However, silicone heaters are among the top choices because they usually guarantee high performance.
If you’re looking for customized flexible heaters, silicone heater pads could be the ideal choice. They can fit into small places. These are commonly used in residential and commercial sectors that have space issues.
The flexibility and high-temperature range make silicone heaters a great option. They can work at low temperatures down to -60 degrees Celsius and high temperatures up to 230 degrees Celsius. Because the silicone structure does not change over such a wide temperature range, they are the most efficient de-icing agents and deliver results almost every time.
The high efficiency of these heaters can save both time and money. They can heat up to 350 degrees Celsius in a short time, melting the ice layers quickly. In addition, the thin layer makes it incredibly efficient to melt down a considerable amount of ice in no time.
Metallic Flexible Thin Film Heaters
Metallic thin film heaters use heating elements that can be bent and adjusted to any shape. These are super-thin heat-generating films, ideal for de-icing in areas with limited space.
These are best used for glass surfaces like lenses, optical sensors, side-view mirrors, etc. So, while most standard heaters are used for larger spaces, metallic thin film heaters make sure that there is no ice on small but critical surfaces.
While there may be different temperature ranges, a typical metallic thin film heater can heat up to 200 degrees Celsius. Moreover, there are custom heating elements and options to fit the desired space conveniently.
Metallic heaters use electrical power to generate heat. So, they can consume a considerable amount of energy to deliver promising results.
Popularly known as Kapton heaters, these heaters use a thin polyimide film. This film is known as Kapton, and it’s incredibly thin. That’s why it’s a great option for flexible heating. Kapton heating ensures uniform heat distribution in the smallest of spaces. So, if you want to get rid of ice from under the staircase or other tight spaces, Kapton heaters can be a great option.
Moreover, Kapton heaters work well in a variety of temperatures and can withstand extreme heat. There is a thin foil sandwiched between a polyimide film and an adhesive. Depending on the wattage and size, there are many different options. Typically, they range from 2.5 to 10 W per square inch.
The operating voltage is around 115 volts, but that depends on the region. For an electrical heater, the wattage per square inch is quite minimal, so it’s a great option for low-cost heating solutions.
Kapton heaters can go as low as -328 degrees Fahrenheit and reach a high temperature of up to 329 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can get custom temperature ranges with high-heat heaters too. These heaters are self-extinguishing, so they can save costs and are best used for de-icing applications, especially in aerospace and at extreme temperatures.
Polymer Thick Films Heaters
Polymer thick film heaters are a relatively new heating technology with a wide range of custom heating applications. These are printed polymer films that use conductive inks and substrates. Also known as PTF heaters, these heaters are self-regulating and feature a thick film and high-resistance technology.
These heaters are used in thermostats, thermal fuses, and other heating applications and can be a great option for de-icing.
Many of the PTFs are manufactured using low-shrinkage polyester. The printed design ensures that you can use energy efficiently at a low cost. It’s ideal for high-volume applications, and the flexible design allows you to fit the heaters in tight spaces.
The thick film also ensures uniform heat distribution, so if you want to heat the ice and then later remove it mechanically, it’s a good option to lay it on the ground.
These heaters can get as hot as 105 degrees Celsius, which is just right for melting a lot of ice.
There are numerous heating systems available for de-icing applications. Using electrical power, these heaters can provide better efficiency while melting snow at high temperatures, allowing the users to prevent heavy chunks of ice while also ensuring that there is no further buildup.