Detecting snow/ice

I have a spot on my front sidewalk where melting snow causes water to drip on the front step and sidewalk, where it promptly freezes and becomes a hazard. Salt/ice melt is useless because the dripping water washes it away.

I bought some heated mats designed for melting snow/ice from sidewalks and stairs, and they’re plugged into a z-wave outlet. It’s easy enough to turn the mats on/off through HA or Google Assistant, but I’d love to take it a step further and make it fully automatic.

Looking for ideas as to how to detect water/ice, or some other condition that would be suitable for triggering an automation to turn the mats on/off.

I’ve considered using predicted or measured precipitation from a weather entity, but this icing problem can occur on a sunny day when the snow on the roof is melting, but the sidewalk is below freezing.

Temperature alone doesn’t seem like it would work, because if the air temp is cold enough, there’s no snow melt, and thus nothing dripping onto the sidewalk.


1 Like

I also need a solution for this!

Don’t know if this would work, but Here is an ESPHome project on Github that makes a non-contact IR Temperature Sensor using a $15 GY-906 sensor.


And another on Instructables using an Arduino.

If you make one, please share it here.

What I settled on is fairly simple - using a weather entity, if the air temp is below 40, turn the mats on for an hour, then off, check again in an hour. If the weather condition is snowy, snowy-rainy, rainy, or pouring (basically any precip) and the air temp is below 50, turn the mats on and check again in an hour - this keeps them on continuously until the precip stops.

This worked perfectly for me last year - kept the sidewalk clear even during an extended 18-inch snowfall.