Lesson 2: Snow-free playgrounds

Most students in the U.S. and Canada are officially back in the classroom for the school year. But just because we’re no longer kids, doesn’t mean we can’t learn a little, too! During September, we’ll be going back to school with PEX. This week is lesson two. Lesson one was all about the science behind manufacturing PEX. Read about it here

This week’s lesson is a question and answer all about how one school used an Uponor snow melt system to keep students safe (and teachers sane) during recess.


Q1: How does a snow melt system work?

In an Uponor snow and ice melting system, PEX tubing is buried in concrete, asphalt or sand. A water/glycol solution circulates throughout the PEX tubing to heat the surface and melt ice and snow. It’s essentially a radiant floor heating system for the outdoors.


Q2: What are the benefits of having a snow melt system for your customers?

  • The system can be paired with alternative-energy sources such as solar, geothermal and waste heat to operate nearly cost-free.
  • It helps organizations comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, and it keeps individuals with disabilities safe.
  • It keeps interior floors cleaner by eliminating snow and ice that gets tracked inside throughout the winter months.
  • It eliminates the costs — and hassle — of salting, sanding, plowing and shoveling outdoor surfaces.


Q3: Why did a Colorado school choose Uponor for the snow-free playground solution?

  • For one, the system is activated from a sensor that detects falling snow and turns the boiler on. When the snow stops falling, the boiler turns off. That means the system only functions during snowfall, so there’s no wasted energy.
  • For two, the system provides peace of mind for the school district because it alleviates liability concerns associated with slips and falls on the snow and ice.
  • And not to mention, the kids love having a dry place to play during Colorado winters.


That’s it for today, class is dismissed! Meet back here next week for lesson three.