Are you tired yet of having to scrape snow and ice from your windshield? How about having to start your car 20 minutes before leaving for work in the morning so the engine heats up and the defrosters start to melt last night’s frigid accumulation?
Maybe you should consider a set of ThermalBlades, windshield wipers with a built-in heating element.
No surprise: The inventor lived in Manitoba, Canada, where every winter is like the oh-so-frigid, oh-so-snowy ones that reeked havoc across America this year. The inventor patented his system, went to Asia to have 35,000 blades produced and got back boxes of blades that had to be scrapped, said Harry Kleinsasser, ThermalBlades chief executive.
The inventor started talking with North American manufacturers and met Kleinsasser’s brother, George, who introduced him to Harry.
“I have a lot of experience in manufacturing,” Harry said, noting, however, that ThermalBlades are his first automotive product.
“We took his design and ran it for a while — that was Generation 1 — but it needed some pretty major help. We came up with our own ideas and patents,” and thus the current generation, Gen-2, of ThermalBlades, based on both the original and the updated patents. Kleinsasser said a Gen-3 blade is going through the patent process and, he hopes, will be in production by the end of this year.
Gen-2 ThermalBlades are available in lengths from 12 inches to 28 inches. They’re priced at $59.99 on www.thethermalblade.com.
They mount just as any other blade on the wiper arm, but have a wire that you (or your friendly mechanic) need to run down and clip to the arm and then under the hood, where you use an Add-A-Circuit device to connect it to a fuse that turns on and off with the ignition switch (an instructional video is on the website, and instructions come with the blades).
Kleinsasser said each blade draws only 3 amps of power. A thermostat triggers the blades to heat when the ambient temperature is around 35 degrees. The blade heats to between 70 and 90 degrees where it contacts the windshield, he added, thus melting away snow and ice — and also preventing snow and ice from building up on the blade while you drive through inclement weather.
The blades are made from silicone, Kleinsassser said, explaining that rubber blades could deform at the temperatures produced by the heating element.
The company also makes non-heated replacement blades, which he said are very effective for people who live in hot climates where sun and heat can shorten the life span of rubber blades.