PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



The Sidewalks On Campus Aren’t Actually Heated

If you’ve ever heard the widespread rumor that the sidewalks on campus are heated, you’ve probably wondered why there was still snow lining the streets the past couple of days. Contrary to popular belief, the sidewalks on campus aren’t actually heated.

OPP Manager of Marketing and Communications Alex Novak said the sidewalks were not intentionally built so snow and ice would melt off them.

“It is 100 percent not an effort to heat the sidewalks. [Any melting] is a result of where the steam lines are,” he said.

In a few locations around campus, the underground steam pipes come close to the ground’s surface and cause small amounts of snow and ice to melt. The rumors began when people started to notice this phenomenon. Long story short, anywhere the steam pipes’ heat causes snow to melt off the sidewalk is pure coincidence.

Though some of the pipes give off extra heat to the sidewalks on campus, they aren’t leaking any steam. The pipes themselves are heavily insulated to ensure they lose the least amount of heat possible. The melting simply happens because the steam running through the pipes is extremely hot, since these pipes are how the university heats all of its buildings and provides hot water.

While the heat from the steam pipes can help melt some “superficial” amounts of snow, Novak said they don’t help too much in OPP’s snow removal process. When preparing for a snow or ice storm, they treat all of the sidewalks the same way, regardless of a particular walkway’s proximity to the pipe lines.

In order for the heat to actually help with the snow removal process, the sidewalks would need to get much hotter.

“That would be just a horrendous waste of energy to be heating those sidewalks,” he said.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Mindy Szkaradnik

Mindy is a senior majoring in Print Journalism, Spanish, and Global and International Studies. She is the 12th member of her family to attend Penn State, she loves Bruce Springsteen, and her friends are always making fun of her for talking too much about study abroad. She can be reached on Twitter (@mszkarad) or via email ([email protected]).


Other posts by Mindy

Thanks, Mom And Dad: Mindy Szkaradnik’s Senior Column

The band finished its set at the Phyrst last semester and “Build Me Up Buttercup” came on over the speakers. Most people continued with their conversations as usual, but I turned and glanced at at the dance floor. There were my parents, dancing in each other’s arms to the song that they used to dance to years ago at the Gaff.

The Most Creative 2015 Bar Tour Themes

Tell Us About Your Bar Tour Theme

Penn State, FBI Investigating Threats To University Park

Penn State issued an alert Thursday afternoon that warned of potential threats to buildings at University Park, urging the community to remain vigilant.

PSU Brew Club To Reactivate This Spring

After disbanding in 2014, the PSU Brew Club has finally been given the green light to reactivate next semester.

Send this to a friend