The Effects of Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

concrete pouring temperature graphic
First, let’s define cold weather with respect to pouring concrete. Any time you have three consecutive days where the average daily temperature is less than 40°F, or if the temperature is lower than 50°F for less than half of any of the three days–that is undesirably cold for concrete. Pouring concrete in cold weather will have a detrimental affect on concrete curing for several reasons.

How Does Concrete Cure?

Concrete transforms from a liquid to a solid material through a chemical reaction. The speed of the reaction depends upon the temperature of the concrete. When the weather is warm, the reaction proceeds quickly. When it’s cold and the ground hasn’t been thawed, the reaction slows down. That’s the problem: the concrete needs to harden as rapidly as possible to resist pressures caused by water freezing within the concrete.

Slower Chemical Reactions

If the temperature is too cold, the concrete may not have reached a minimum strength of 500 psi soon enough to resist the effects of freezing temperatures. If your concrete isn’t protected with concrete curing blankets after it’s poured, it may cool too rapidly, slowing the chemical reaction.

Poor finishing techniques can also doom your slabs. Freshly poured concrete often bleeds. The water in the mix floats to the top, since it’s the lightest ingredient. Floating or troweling this water into the concrete weakens the top layer. Troweling the concrete too early can seal this bleed water just below the surface as well. If your slab is then exposed to freezing temperatures several days later, this water can freeze and fracture the top layer. Using a concrete curing blanket can eliminate the potential of freezing.

Read how Powerblanket solved concrete issues at the Statue of Liberty.

Concrete Can Be Successfully Poured in Cold Weatherpouring a concrete foundation at a jobsite

How to avoid a bad concrete pour:

  • Never pour concrete on frozen ground, snow, or ice. 
  • Be sure to order air-entrained concrete. Request a heated mix or order 100 lbs of extra cement for each cubic yard of concrete. This extra cement helps develop early strength.
  • Be sure the concrete is ordered with a low slump (drier mix). This minimizes bleed water.
  • After the final finish is completed, cover the concrete with a concrete curing blanket. The heated concrete blanket will prevent freezing and keep the concrete at an optimal curing temperature.
  • After about three days, remove heated concrete blankets to allow the concrete to air dry.

Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets

If you use Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets to pour in cold weather, your cement will cure 2.8 times faster than with conventional insulated blankets. Time and convenience are critical factors when planning out a project in the winter, and Powerblanket has you covered.  Our goal is to provide solutions to problems, and give you total temperature control over every process and aspect of your business.

We Solve Problems

From drum and barrel heaters to pipe wraps and snow melting mats, Powerblanket is dedicated to helping your business grow, saving jobs, and improving your bottom line.   Whether you need to extend the pouring season, or you are trying to survive an early winter, know that you have total temperature control with Powerblanket.

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Grave Digging and Ground Thawing

We’re gradually approaching warmer weather now, but it’ll still be some time before the ground thaws and makes digging a lot less difficult. That’s why we’d like to introduce you to our Ground Thawing Blankets. For those in concrete, grave digging, utility maintenance, or any other digging / ground-prep-related project, Powerblanket® Ground Thawing Blankets can be a really big help.

image-ground-thawing-blanketsFrom Grave Digging to Concrete Prep

Whether you’re laying concrete or preparing a funeral plot, our ground thawing blankets can make the process a whole lot easier. Powerblanket Ground Thawing blankets help to thaw frozen ground prior to digging. And in the case of preparing ground for a funeral in the winter or early spring, ground-thawing assistance can make the process run a lot smoother. Here are some words from a satisfied customer who used our ground thawing blankets for their business:

“Your blankets are absolutely excellent. Thanks to Powerblanket, we were able to quickly thaw the ground and complete our job. In fact, we estimate a savings of 10 hours per site, equaling a savings of $5,000 already. Calculating this into our thousands of sites, the savings are huge! We are excited about the time and money Powerblanket has saved us and look forward to future savings.”

Our patented blend of technology and our use of durable materials enable us to deliver high watt density throughout the entire area of application, making ground thawing through electrical heat transfer safe and highly efficient. So when it comes to preparing a plot for burial, use our ground thawing blankets to make the task much easier.

Why Powerblanket® Ground Thawing Blankets?

  • High watt density thaws frozen ground fast
  • Quickly remove frost prior to digging
  • Melt snow and ice from ground prior to digging
  • Easily installed and removed
  • Easily transportable
  • Safe and certified to national safety standards

Some Things to Remember

Remember that thawing ground goes a lot faster if you first manually remove as much snow and ice as you can.  If you have a foot of snow, remove it all, then apply the blankets.  A foot of snow can add a day to the process if not removed first.

Secondly, thawing frozen ground through a layer of grass can be problematic.  The grass tends to hold the blanket up and away from the frozen ground, making the thawing process much longer than it would be with bare ground.  If a Powerblanket ground thawing blanket is left in place too long, it WILL kill the turf. So if keeping the turf healthy and intact is the goal, then don’t use a ground thawing blanket. However, if you’re trying to thaw the ground for digging purposes, then remove the grass first.

Concrete Blankets From Powerblanket®

Cement Curing Blankets

Cement curing has always been a challenge in cold weather. Historically, experts have employed many different methods in order to aid in and speed up the curing process. Some methods are better than others. The best, in our opinion, is using concrete curing blankets from Powerblanket. Here’s why:

Concrete Curing Blankets

 

Why Electric Curing Blankets?

When placing concrete in cold weather, protecting the asset (the concrete) is not optional. For years now, experts have used insulated blankets to both protect the concrete and speed the curing process at the same time. Concrete cures due to a chemical reaction that generates heat as a byproduct. So insulating the concrete allows that heat to be trapped and used to aid in the curing process. Concrete cures fastest in very warm conditions, so this makes the use of an insulated blanket a practical and theoretically sound practice.

Of course, the use of traditional concrete curing blankets isn’t the only method employed among professionals. Other common curing interventions include:

  • Chemical additives
  • Hydronic heating systems
  • Electrically-powered concrete curing blankets
  • Poly/tarp cover with forced air heat applied

Sometimes the circumstance will allow for the luxury of a postponed pour, in order to take advantage of an expected temperature change.  But more often than not, schedules and deadlines make it imperative to institute curing assistance to get through less-than-favorable weather.

This is where Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets come in. As much as traditional curing blankets aid in protecting and accelerating the curing process, Powerblanket curing blankets provide both insulation and heat, protecting and accelerating all the more. Our patented blend of technology delivers an even distribution of electrical heat to the surface area of the blanket, trapping the heat of the chemical reaction in the concrete and adding the additional heat needed to accelerate the process even further.

Since Powerblanket Cement Curing Blankets insulate and heat, they effectively accommodate the hydration of the concrete as well. How well do they really work? Take a look at our case study to see an example of curing nearly three times as fast with our blankets.

The technology behind Powerblanket curing blankets serves to achieve several primary objectives, including:

  1. Preventing damage as a result of freezing in the early stage of curing
  2. Producing sufficient, specified strengths in a timely manner
  3. Insuring durability and long-term structural integrity
  4. Keeping projects on schedule, regardless of weather

So before you’re faced with a project that must go on despite inclement temperatures, make sure you have a plan on how to protect your concrete and keep your deadlines met. When considering the options you have before you, we’re confident you’ll find our solution to be the best answer out there.

 

Read the Case Study for Evidence that Powerblanket Cement Curing Blankets:

  • Cured concrete 2.8 times faster than conventional insulated blankets
  • Cured concrete 1.7 times faster without adding additional heat (un-powered)
  • Produced cold weather concreting strength of 3,925 psi in 72 hours

 

Additional Features:

  • Maintain moisture throughout hydrating process
  • Maintain ACI compliance for cold-weather concreting

 

 

Just Heat It: The Vulnerability of Drums and Barrels in Cold Weather

Drums, barrels, canisters, and storage units are as versatile as Tupperware® in terms of what you can store in them. However, they are pretty vulnerable when it comes to cold weather. Best option for temperature maintenance? Use drum and barrel heaters to ward off the cold and protect your products.

Barrels, Drums, and Cold Weather, Oh My!

man wrapping powerblanket barrel heater around a barrelDrums and barrels take up a lot of space. You don’t see them sitting around your office; you usually find them in drafty warehouses or outside. The products inside are often left to the mercies of their surroundings, which can be a real problem if those surroundings are cold. They run the risk of thickening or freezing completely. This is especially true for metal drums or barrels.

BEWARE: Barrel Band Heaters

There has been a bandaid for this problem for a long time called the band heater. You just strap it around your barrel and: presto! You have a completely unregulated, half-scorched, half-frozen barrel of liquid. Let’s be frank, this hasn’t solved your problem at all; it only creates a new one. Unfortunately, band heaters don’t provide temperature control, they only heat up some of your product. So if band heaters are not the solution, what is?

Powerblanket® Drum and Barrel Heaters

Drums and Barrels Electric Blanket Heater and Temperature Controller PowerblanketYou could move your drums and barrels into your toasty office, but you probably don’t have space. You could even risk using a spotty band heater. But how do you keep your products from spoiling without the risk? Powerblanket’s drum and barrel heaters can save your products from ruining or freezing in the cold.

  • Our barrel heaters work with both steel and poly containers
  • Full wrap-around design provides complete insulation and ensures excellent heat distribution
  • Drum warmers deliver safe heat to expensive materials without overheating or burning
  • Drum heater design decreases and prevents product waste among temperature-sensitive materials by maintaining consistent storage temperatures without significant fluctuations
  • Highly energy-efficient technology and design lowers energy-related expenses and overall project and equipment costs

Learn More About Drum and Barrel Heaters

Precast Concrete and Powerblanket: A 300% Increase in Efficiency

If you’re in the business of precast concrete, then you know how frustrating it is to have to pour once a day. When it comes to precast production, the curing time for concrete simply isn’t very conducive to a good production turnaround. But what if you could increase your cure rate by 300%? Well, read on, because you can.

 

Precast concrete manholeConcrete and Powerblanket

The inception of Powerblanket over one decade ago actually spawned from the use of certain technologies (our innovative approach to heating solutions) in order to cure concrete faster and more efficiently. The idea for accelerated concrete curing was no new idea. Chemical admixtures were used to increase the cure time of concrete before Powerblanket came along to change the game. But the problem with chemical additives is that they dehydrate the concrete as they speed up the curing process. And as any concrete expert knows, that’s a big problem.

The Powerblanket solution, on the other hand, keeps the moisture in the concrete while producing insulation, protection, and heat—all of which increase the curing efficiency by 300%. That’s right, and in the case of pouring concrete into forms, well, such an increase makes a real difference. Adding customized Powerblanket heating solutions to your precast concrete business means that you can increase your throughput substantially. If you’re pouring only once a day, adding a Powerblanket solution to your process means you’ll be able to pour three times a day.

And the beauty of Powerblanket heating solutions is that they’re easy to install, remove, transport, and store. So when a form of concrete is cured, you can remove the blanket quicker than the form itself. Additionally, Powerblanket heating solutions can be customized to fit just about anything. So if you use unique precast forms, there’s no need to fret. To put it simply: if you can build it, produce it, or store it, Powerblanket can cover it.

 

 

Concrete Curing: Not Just a Wintertime Problem

If you’re in the business of concrete, then you know that winter poses the most complications when it comes to proper concrete curing. However, you’ll be equally aware of the fact that summertime also has its challenges.

 

Finishing concrete sidewalk

Summertime Concreting

Sure, winter is a far more difficult time to deal with when pouring concrete. Proper curing involves ideal temperatures, and winter imposes on these ranges more than any other season. That’s why when it comes to pouring concrete in winter, you need the assistance of a good concrete curing blanket. But what can be done to counter the challenges of summer, and what are those primary challenges?

In the summer months, you don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures. Instead, you need to watch for levels of relative humidity, temperature fluctuations between night and day hours, and an increase in the water demand for concrete curing. With these factors to consider, careful monitoring of the concrete is still an important element of the job. Hotter temperature and low humidity can increase the need for additional water, and large fluctuations between the daytime and evening temperature can pose significant problems too.

If there is the risk of a rapid drop in temperature, then there is the risk that your concrete could crack. Even though the temperature may be ideal for curing during the day, that doesn’t mean it will be at night. Certain regions can experience significant temperature variances between daytime and evening hours, and these variances should be considered potentially problematic while your concrete cures.

 

Using a Concrete Curing Blanket in the Summer?

It may seem a bit of a stretch to suggest the use of a curing blanket during the summer months, but the reality of the situation is that it can be a very reasonable call. Think about the potential scenario of dropping temperatures at night. If your concrete is curing well during the heat of the day, and then experiences a drastic drop in temperature at night, then it’s going to affect the cure and even cause potential cracking.

Using a concrete curing blanket at night would allow you to regulate the temperature range even if it’s dropping. This would produce a more uniform cure and would also speed up the process significantly. The blanket likely wouldn’t be needed during the day, but applying it at night could greatly decrease the fail rate of an expensive and time consuming project.

A Report From The World of Concrete

You may recall the article we posted about our recent involvement at the 2015 World of Concrete. If not, you can read all about it here. But if you’re wondering what the latest is in the world of concrete, just read on.

 

A Report From The World of Concrete

Good News For the Concrete Industry

The 2015 edition of the World of Concrete (WOC) was apparently the largest and most celebrated in six years. More than 55,000 attendees were present with access to 1,459 exhibitors. Among those exhibitors was Powerblanket and our concrete curing sample. Helping to cure concrete faster and more efficiently is one of our proudest contributions to the construction industry. And to speak of the construction industry as a whole, this year’s WOC was a great illustration of the growth and recovery the industry has experienced lately.

Concrete projects are on the rise for the same reason that so many other projects are. The construction industry has been experiencing a real rebound lately, and when both single-family housing and commercial construction are on the rise, it’s always good news for the concrete industry. The WOC this year brought hundreds of opportunities for industry leaders to network and present cutting-edge technologies fit for a sector experiencing considerable growth and increased opportunity.

The Powerblanket exhibit was a chance for us to collaborate with Structural Service Inc. to showcase the amazing curing capabilities of our concrete curing blankets. A 600 square-foot concrete slab was poured for use in a concrete polishing and repair workshop for the event, but before that slab could be used for such, it had to be fully cured. This is where we had our chance to shine. Under traditional circumstances, concrete cures for a minimum of ten days before it’s ready for polishing. But for the sake of the showcase, Structural Services needed the slab to reach minimal strength requirements within 24 hours. To make a not-so-long story even shorter, Powerblanket concrete curing blankets made it all possible.

Download the Spec Sheet

The Construction Industry: An Outlook On The Labor Force

If you read our article on the upswing in the construction industry (see Construction Industry Experiences a Turnaround In 2014), you’ll know that the future looks bright. The economy has started to rebound and construction projects are increasing again. But after a general increase in business, construction companies now face a new challenge: a shortage of skilled workers.

Construction Gear

Skilled Labor Lacking for the Construction Industry?

Since the upturn in the economy, the construction industry has begun picking up again. This has been the case with many other sectors too, but not all of them are experiencing the same dilemma that construction is.

When the economy started to decline and building projects began to wane, many people were left without the steady employment they needed. Construction looked like a dead end for some, and frankly, companies couldn’t afford to keep their skilled workers employed for jobs they didn’t have. Sadly, many construction workers lost their jobs or left to find employment elsewhere.

Now, some are saying that this large migration has caused a shortage in skilled labor for the industry, and that the increase in business has created a void that needs to be filled. Others, however, suppose that those laborers are still out there, that there are likely many still unemployed or looking for work, and that the claim of a shortage is just another way of saying that the upturn in business is slower than many had hoped. Perhaps it’s a combination of both.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain. Interest in the industry is something that leaders of companies are really focused on improving. The word in the news is that many schools are actively participating in the education process regarding jobs in the construction sector. With business on the rise, interest is on the rise, and where there’s a will, there’s a way for companies to find, recruit, or educate the skilled laborers they need.

Learn More

Powerblanket at the World of Concrete—A Demo in Concrete Curing

Earlier this month, Powerblanket attended the 2015 edition of the World of Concrete at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year’s exhibition attracted 55,779 registered professionals. In addition, the event drew in 1,459 companies exhibiting their products and services. For Powerblanket and its concrete curing demo, the event proved to be a great way to engage with those in need of the company’s products.

 

 

Powerblanket and the World of Concrete

For Powerblanket, this year’s World of Concrete was an exciting investment of company time and resources. Powerblanket ran a concrete curing demo to demonstrate the effectiveness of Powerblanket® curing blankets on the set times and structural integrity of concrete pours. Those who were present were able to witness for themselves how much efficiency the curing blankets added to the curing process. Not only were the blankets able to cure the concrete nearly three times as fast, but they were also able to increase the strength of the concrete by 50%.

The slab used for the demonstration was 8” thick with a mix design that was formulated to provide a minimal PSI of 4,000 in only two days.  The slab was poured two days prior to the demonstration, and for the purposes of the demonstration, one portion remained unheated while the other section was covered in an MD series Powerblanket® curing blanket. At the beginning of the demonstration, the unheated portion of the concrete measured close to the 4,000 PSI that was required for the minimal target. Then the Powerblanket was added, and the portion of the slab that was heated by the Powerblanket MD Series concrete curing blanket measured a consistent 6,000 PSI after only 16 hours in place. That’s a PSI strength increase of 50% over the unheated portion of the concrete slab.

Powerblanket® curing blankets allow for such efficiency through the company’s patented technological approach to concrete curing and many other heating solutions. Not only do Powerblanket® curing blankets insulate the chemical reactions responsible for concrete heat exchange, but they also add heat to the equation—making them far more efficient than the common curing blanket.  Through the Powerblanket design, electrical heat is evenly distributed through the entire application, allowing for quicker set times and stronger concrete.

“Seeing people’s reactions to the demonstration was exciting,” said Ryan Jensen, Marketing Director for Powerblanket. “It was clear that everyone was impressed with the outcome.”

As a result, Powerblanket has engaged with more customers in an industry they already heavily serve.

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Storing Concrete Admixtures in Cold Weather

Concreting business thrives during the warm months. And to concrete specialists, it’s clear as to why. Concrete takes higher temperatures to cure quickly and properly, but the other side of the equation has to do with the admixtures that are necessary for concrete construction. Chemical admixtures don’t do well in cold temperatures either, and if you face the winter months with a surplus of admixtures, you’ll need to know how to store them properly.

Pouring a foundation in the winterStorage and Application of Admixtures

When it comes to storing admixtures for the winter months, keeping the materials at warmer temperatures may or may not be a problem for your business. Perhaps you have a heated warehouse where you can keep them in drums and barrels. However, when and if your admixtures end up outside, you’re going to need to safe-guard them against the cold.

Some admixtures can be applied at the plant before the cement truck leaves, but others are added onsite, immediately before application. In this second scenario, protecting your admixtures becomes increasingly crucial, especially during cold weather concreting operations. Along with all the cold-weather practices you need to following during and after the pouring of concrete, you also need to keep your admixtures at the proper temperature to ensure they react properly.

Keeping your chemicals stored in barrels or drums can be convenient, but it can also be problematic if you don’t insulate those barrels and drums against the cold. Having a solution that can be easily installed and used in order to protect your chemicals from the cold is ideal. Thankfully, such solutions exist, and Powerblanket works to provide the best type possible.

Drum/Barrel Heaters for Admixtures

Storing your concrete admixtures at optimal temperatures becomes nearly impossible if you’re taking them onsite without protection. Easy-to-use, durable drum and barrel heaters can protect chemicals from the cold.

 Features of Drum and Barrel Heaters

  • Heaters work with both steel and poly containers
  • Full wrap-around design provides complete insulation and ensures equal heat distribution
  • Delivers safe, uniform heat to expensive materials without overheating or burning
  • Heaters design decreases and prevents product waste among temp-sensitive materials by maintaining consistent storage temperatures without significant fluctuations
  • Highly energy-efficient GreenHeat Technology™ and design lowers energy-related expenses and overall project and equipment costs

Heating Mortar Ingredients for Cold Weather Masonry

If you’re a mason, or you run a construction company employing masons, then you know how much the cold retards masonry work. With today’s technologies and old-school techniques for cold weather masonry, many companies continue their work well into the winter months. Heating mortar ingredients is one way to keep working when it’s cold, but if you’re doing so through traditional means, let us show you a better way.

Heating Mortar Ingredients for Cold Weather Masonry

Keep It Hot

Every mason knows that when the water in your mix is exposed to near freezing and subfreezing conditions, it drastically retards the curing time of your work. In addition to this, it also compromises the strength of your project. When the temperature drops, the setting time for mortar increases almost tenfold. Because of this, the amount of water left in the mortar is also affected. An extended set time means that the water has more time to evaporate or make its way into the masonry units. After this occurs, you have less water to react with the mortar, and thanks to the cold temperatures, it’s really not reacting much anyway.

These are the dilemmas posed by cold weather masonry, but the solution to the problem is pretty straight forward. Masonry work can be continued in cold weather if two precautions are adhered to. The first precaution is to heat your mortar ingredients, especially the water. Heating the water before mixing will allow it to stay at the ideal temperature for much longer.

The second precaution to take is to keep the masonry unit above freezing after it’s all been laid. There are different techniques masons employ to accomplish this, but one of the more effective and economical approaches is the use of curing blankets. A curing blanket that both heats and insulates is the ideal choice. This will allow the units to remain at the ideal temperature for the duration of the cure. In fact, a good blanket will actually speed up the curing process significantly, ensuring a fast and strong cure.

barrel heater

Powerblanket® Can Help

As far as both precautions are concerned, Powerblanket can help. When it comes to preheating the water for your mortar mixture, Powerblanket®Barrel, Bucket, and Tote Heaters can heat any of your ingredients to whatever temperature is needed. And for the curing process, consider Powerblanet® Concrete Curing Blankets.

Powerblanket® Barrel/Drum Heater Features:

  • Works with both steel and poly containers
  • Full wrap-around design provides complete insulation and ensures equal heat distribution
  • Drum warmers deliver safe, uniform heat to expensive materials without overheating or burning
  • Drum heaters design decreases and prevents product waste among temp-sensitive materials by maintaining consistent storage temperatures without significant fluctuations
  • Highly energy-efficient GreenHeat Technology™ and design lowers energy-related expenses and overall project and equipment costs

heated blanket for concrete or mortar

Features of Powerblanket® Curing Blankets

  • Cure concrete 2.8 times faster than conventional insulated blankets
  • Produce cold weather concreting strength of 3,925 in 72 hours
  • Maintain moisture throughout the hydrating process
  • Easily installed and removed
  • Maintain ACI compliance for cold-weather concreting

 

Construction Industry Experiences a Turnaround in 2014

Not too long ago, the news for the construction industry was less than favorable. However, after a period of recessed business, the industry is on the rebound in the western states and across the nation. Now the challenge is finding enough skilled workers.

Construction workers working on cement forms

From Homes to Commercial Buildings

The steady increase in new single-family homes has been one factor to contribute to more construction projects over the last year. But some companies have also reported nearly doubling their efforts in commercial construction.

After the recession took a toll on the amount of money people and companies had for building, the construction industry has been in decline itself in all areas, including commercial projects. But with the tides turning, leaders and managers of construction companies now face a new and growing challenge.

A Workforce for the Future

In today’s world of technology and computer-aged professions, it seems fewer young people are expressing interest in construction jobs, and this waning interest has many leaders in the industry concerned about its future. With construction projects now on the climb again, an increasing workforce is needed as much as it has ever been.

foremen discussing on job siteHowever, despite the demand for professions in the construction industry, there isn’t widespread interest to match it. In fact, some experts suggest that by the year 2020, as many as 2 million construction jobs will be available nationwide. And yet, the inevitable truth is that there won’t likely be 2 million skilled workers ready to fill the void.

When the industry took a hit years ago, like so many others did, skilled construction workers were forced to reconsider their future careers. Many left construction for other pursuits, and few have returned. With this reality as an ever-present challenge for leaders and managers of construction businesses, they are taking initiative to help fuel the interest in the youth of the nation. Seminars at colleges and in schools are helping to spark interest in the minds of many. So while the construction industry has this particular challenge on the horizon, there is hope for a supporting generation of new construction-minded individuals who will work to build America’s future.

 

A Concrete Curing Solution

If you live in the North American Mountain West, or any region where it gets cold during the winter months, chances are you’ve seen chipping concrete. Have you ever stopped to think what causes concrete to chip? Improper curing is what causes it, but with a good concrete curing blanket, this problem can be completely avoided.

 

Freshly finished concrete sidewalk

Not All Concrete Curing Blankets Are The Same

If you’ve ever seen chipped concrete before, it’s likely due to cold weather. But we’re not talking about cold weather after the pour. No, chipping concrete often results from it being poured when it was too cold. This means the concrete never fully cured. Thus, it became brittle and flaky. The simple solution to this dilemma is either to wait until its warm enough outside, or else apply a concrete curing blanket.

If you did a search on Google for concrete curing blankets, you’re likely to find a myriad of options. But not all these options are the same. A good majority of the curing blankets out there are merely insulation blankets. Now insulation is a good thing to have in a curing solution, but it’s only half of the equation. The problem with simply insulating the concrete is twofold.

If you have a concrete blanket that only acts as an insulator then it’s not likely to help in the extreme weather. This is the first problem with an insulation blanket. The second is this: with only insulation on your side, you’re not going to be speeding up the curing process at all. When concrete cures, a chemical reaction occurs. This reaction causes the concrete to put off heat. With this in mind, placing an insulated blanket over the concrete will help to keep some of this heat in, but the amount of heat it will trap isn’t substantial enough to help cure concrete in really cold weather, or to speed up the curing process much either.

 

Heated blankets to cure concrete

The Real Solution is Electric

This is why you need an electric curing blanket, or a heated curing blanket, to get the job done right. Electric curing blankets will both insulate and heat the concrete to an ideal temperature for curing. With the characteristics of a heated blanket at play, you can properly cure concrete in very cold temperatures. What’s more, even if the weather isn’t that bad, you can apply such a solution to speed up the curing process by leaps and bounds.

When it comes to picking the best electric curing blanket, there are a few major aspects to be concerned with. Number one, you want to make sure you get a blanket that will evenly distribute the heat throughout the entire application area. If the blanket is hotter in some places than others, you’re not going to get an even cure. Number two, you want to make sure you get a product that is properly certified for safety and efficiency. And number three, you want to make certain you purchase a blanket that can regulate its own heat. A blanket with a thermostatic controller will enable you to apply the heat and walk away without worrying whether it will keep consistent heat for the whole time you’re curing.

 

 

The Wonders of Concrete: From Creativity to Concrete Curing

When most people think about concrete, their minds quickly turn to the common, grey, lifeless slabs that we walk and drive on. You can’t fault anyone for envisioning concrete in this way, but is it really a fair representation of such a versatile and varied construction material? We don’t think so. From creativity to curing, concrete is a truly amazing product.

 

The Wonders of Concrete- From Creativity to Concrete Curing 1

Concrete’s Real Potential

If you’re one of the individuals whose thoughts turn to sidewalks, interstates, overpasses, and patios when you hear the word concrete, well, it’s really to be expected. These forms of concrete application are certainly the most common. But there are also many other common uses that the typical person may not been clued in to.

Instead of settling on the usual image of concrete, take a chance to expand your horizon. Have you ever stopped to think about the many different types of pavement that exist? The fact of the matter is that much of the pavement you’ve seen, both indoor and outdoor, is some form of concrete. You see, concrete has possibilities for design that many people never even stop to consider.

 

The Wonders of Concrete- From Creativity to Concrete Curing 2

Decorative Concrete

For those in the know, concrete that falls outside of the stereotypical application and image is known as decorative concrete. And what some people have been able to do with decorative concrete is simply amazing.

Take for example the patterns that skilled concrete layers have been able to weave into what would otherwise be a very boring driveway. Perhaps you’ve seen the same techniques employed in outdoor walkways in and around historic downtown districts, malls, or river walks. Think of the innumerable possibilities that exist with such a method. Think of this, and you’ve only scratched the surface, though.

Even with as many outdoor uses concrete has, there are just as many indoor application methods. In fact, these types are the most stunning. Take a look at the picture below the driveway. Looks like tile; doesn’t it? Nope, it’s concrete, decorative concrete that has been designed to look like a very impressive tile pattern. Now take a look at the image below that. Looks like laminate wood flooring; doesn’t it? Actually, it’s concrete too.

This sort of thing is quite the surprise; isn’t it? For those who first venture into the realm of decorative concrete, the possibilities at first seem almost unbelievable. Oh, but they’re a very real and valuable way to make expanded use of one of the world’s most common construction products. To find more great examples of concrete usage, just type into Google: “decorative concrete” (under an images search).

 

Powerblanket and Concrete

If you’re in the concrete business, then you know how much freezing temperatures are an enemy to concrete curing. Well, whether you’re pouring concrete to create the usual, grey slab of strong and reliable stuff or your working concrete into a work of art, Powerblanket has you covered.

With Powerblanket® Concrete Curing Blankets, you can ensure the proper and ideal curing of concrete even in freezing conditions. You’ve never pour concrete in the cold? Well, how would you like your curing process to go nearly three times faster? In either occasion, Powerblanket can help.

Download Concrete Curing Test

5 Ways To Improve Your Construction Productivity

Any given construction job could benefit from increased productivity. Apart from equipment costs and the expense of labor, inefficiency in the execution of a project can eat into your profit margins like nothing else. But the solutions to increase and maintain productive work can be relatively simple to employ too.

 

Framed building

#1 Spend Enough Time Planning

It’s an easy thing to start into a project without much planning to go ahead of it. This is especially true as your experience grows in certain project types. But regardless of your experience, a well-thought-out plan can help you limit your costs and improve your construction productivity. There are enumerable examples that could be cited to support this case, but here’s a simple one to think about.

Suppose you’re pouring concrete for a sidewalk outside of a private community college in your hometown. You have plenty of space to bring the trucks in close enough for the pour, but what you didn’t anticipate, until you started, was the rain clouds gathering overhead.  Perhaps this is an overly simplistic scenario, but it can help you think about what sort of matters can throw a wrench into productivity. Taking a few moments to check into the weather forecast could save you a lot of time and headache in such a case as this.

 

Jobsite foremen

#2 Train Staff on the Project

The ideal situation would be to have a crew that is directly experienced in every job you undertake. This may not always be the case, however. So you should keep in mind the need for training and planning with your crews regarding the tasks that need to be accomplished and the most efficient way to go about accomplishing those tasks. A little bit of game planning with your team can go a long way in preventing the need for reworking misunderstood initiatives or subpar results.

 

#3 Use Good Equipment

Another way to ensure that you limit your losses when executing your construction projects it to keep the necessary equipment on hand, and not only the necessities per se, but equipment that is high in quality too. It goes without saying in most cases, but it’s worth mentioning here that lower-quality equipment can end up costing you a lot more money in the long run should it fail.

Hammer and nail gun

Not only does quality play a main role in making use of productive equipment, but efficiency is equally important. Obviously, if you’re still framing with hammers, then you’re missing out on the massive increase in efficiency offered by a pneumatic nail gun. Along with apparent examples like this one, there are other tools that you may not be using that could help you with your planning and execution. Consider the many communication tools that help keep your crew on the same tight schedule, which can inform them of changes to a plan at a moment’s notice. Think also of the many options in management software that can help you with your supply, inventory, and assignment protocols.

 

#4 Use Good Vendors

When it comes to supplying your crew with the building materials needed, having vendors and manufacturers you can count on is an essential element to the equation of productivity. If you’re constantly having to deal with slow turnaround times, backorders, or costly delivery charges, it’s going to eat into your profit margin really fast.

Just because one particular supplier has the cheapest price for a certain material doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best value. If they can’t provide timely and consistent deliver of supplies, then they’ll be costing you money in downtime, and downtime adds up a lot faster than product prices that are slightly higher.

 

#5 Communicate Goals

And finally, perhaps the most important step to take in increasing productivity on the job site is to communicate the goals and expectations to everyone involved. Getting everyone on the same page is paramount when it comes to maintaining a productive workflow. This concept should be first applied in the planning and training phases of the process, but should also be reaffirmed many times throughout the project.

Help everyone understand that completing the project in a timely and efficient manner creates positive results for everyone. Incentivize good work and prompt completion of tasks from your crew. Keep your people a closely knit team and success will certainly follow.

 

 

How to Compete With Rising Construction Costs: 4 Things to Remember

With construction costs up by as much as 15% over the last half year or so, it’s becoming difficult for the construction industry to bounce back. With this in mind, managing your construction costs in a way that limits waste and excessive expenditures is extremely important for your profitability. Read on for 4 things to remember to compete with increasing construction costs.

SLOW business sign

Dollars and Cents Construction

When the cost of doing business increases, it tacks additional costs onto the price of services. This is a very simple summary of the economic dilemma the construction industry is facing right now, but it brings up the needed point: if the cost of construction increases, and thus increases the cost of services offered by a construction company, then it’s going to effect business in a negative way.

While this all sounds rather gloomy, there are steps that you can take to limit the effect rising costs will have on your construction business. Consider the following steps to ensure that you not only weather the storm, but also profit during it:

1. Manage Your Inventory Wisely

This is something that should be done regularly, during the prosperous times and the recessive times. Whatever the case, making sure you aren’t maintaining a surplus in your supplies is one very effective and simple way to nip over-spending in the bud.

2. Focus on What Makes the Most Profit

When business gets tight, it makes sense to focus your efforts at what you do best and where you are likely to make the highest profit margin.

3. Continue to Market Your Business

Sometimes we’re inclined to think that marketing is something we do when we can afford it. But a recession is no time to bring your marketing efforts to a halt. In fact, it’s a time to double your efforts.

4. Protect Your Assets and Capital

One surefire way to go out of business is to be clumsy and careless with the material and devices that enable you to make your living. If you’re in the business of concrete, for example, then you need to do everything you can to make certain your precious concrete isn’t wasted or ruined.

Powerblanket® Can Help

Thankfully, Powerblanket® has ways to help you manage your assets during the good times and the bad. Simply put, we help to protect your assets against the costly ravages of cold weather. So whether you’re laying concrete, running equipment off propane, using DEF for your diesel fleet, storing large amounts of paint or chemicals, managing spray-foam application, or storing materials onsite in frac tanks, Powerblanket® can ensure that your precious profit-enabling materials are safe from the effects of winter months.

 

How to Make Construction Season Last Year Round

It’s apparent to anyone who works in the construction industry that the summer months are the prime time to get things done. When winter rolls around, however, construction projects often move to a slow crawl or a screeching halt. But what if you could remedy that fact?

 

Shoveling snow illustration

Year Round Construction

How great would it be to possess the ability to work your construction projects year round? Any construction company would love to be able to continue temperature-sensitive tasks into the winter. But in a lot of cases, it just doesn’t work. Thanks to the effects cold weather has on curing, storage, and application of common construction material, construction season doesn’t do too well outside of the warm months. There just isn’t any real way to cure concrete in the cold, apply spray foam in below-freezing temperatures, or thaw topsoil for digging preparations…or is there?

 

concrete curing blanket on a jobsite

The Answer to the Conundrum of the Cold

Thankfully, there is a way to ensure that certain construction projects remain operable in the cold-weather months. Of course, there’s no way for us to change the weather patterns, but we can lessen the effects freezing temperatures have on material usage and application. For example, concrete doesn’t cure in cold temperatures nearly as well as in warm weather, but if one could add a curing blanket to speed up the process and make it even faster than a natural cure in 90°, well, that would be phenomenal. This is even more apparent in epoxy applications, where the necessary temperature range for curing is even higher.

And what about spray foam? How can you keep the proper consistency for application when cold weather compromises its characteristics? Wouldn’t it be great if you could apply a heating element that enabled an evenly-distributed amount of heat to warm the mixture to the ideal temperature and keep it there?


Heated blanket thawing ground for new cement

Frozen topsoil is another project dampener. Whether you need to dig to repair a pipe or simply need to get past that frozen topsoil, Powerblanket® Ground Thawing blankets got it covered. From concrete curing to spray foam storage and prep, Powerblanket products can enable cold-weather construction and help keep your business going year round.

Find out how Powerblanket has helped other companies like yours by downloading these free case studies!

 

 

The Cure for the Common Cold Concrete

If you’ve ever had to lay concrete in the cold, then you can attest to the fact that it doesn’t set up as fast as it aught too. Actually, inclement weather can delay the curing of concrete considerably.

 

Heated concrete blanket

The Cure

When it comes to curing concrete, the optimal temperature is easy to obtain most of the time…if it’s summer. But what about all the other months of the year? What do you do when winter rolls around? More often than not, winter will put a screeching halt on the progress of temperature-sensitive construction projects, and concrete is one such example.

When concrete is subjected to cold weather, the time is takes to adequately cure increases significantly. According to the Portland Cement Association (PCA), “compression strength of concrete cured at 50 degrees Fahrenheit is expected is expected to gain strength half as quickly as concrete cured at 73 degrees Fahrenheit,” (PCA). So how do you speed up the process?

 

Insulation or Heat Application

A long standing-tradition for protecting concrete against the cold is to apply insulation to the concrete after it is hard enough to maintain its form under the weight of an insulation blanket. While this helps to keep the concrete from dropping in temperature drastically, it does nothing to bring the cement to an ideal temperature. However, there is an option that does this very thing.

Along with insulation blankets, there are concrete curing blankets.Concrete curing blankets not only help to insulate concrete against the cold, but they also help to raise its temperature and that of the ambient air around it. Done right, concrete curing blankets can be dialed in to a certain temperature and left to do the job without monitoring.

 

PCA

http://www.cement.org/for-concrete-books-learning/concrete-technology/concrete-construction/curing-in-construction   

 

How To Keep Your Liquids From Freezing With Drum Heaters

If you’re storing product in a barrel or drum, there’s a lot of it. With high quantities of liquid or material, the stakes are higher if you accidentally ruin your product. If one barrel goes bad, you have a considerable amount of product to pay for. Don’t let lack of temperature control lead to major losses in your business.

Heated barrel wrapIdeal Temperature

If you store your liquids in places that are already heated for operational reasons, temperature regulations might not be a problem for you. However, most companies that store liquids in barrels don’t keep them next to the cubicles or front desk: hence warehouse storage. Most liquids require that a certain temperature is maintained which be difficult in chilly warehouses. If this is the case with your liquid containers, finding a solution for temperature regulation is important for maintaining your products.

When the winter months roll around and you have to start heating the rooms in your facilities, the warehouse isn’t going to take high priority, if it gets heated at all. In many cases warehouses are left without any temperature regulation for the cold months. If your company does have a heated warehouse, it’s likely costing you a fortune to keep a certain temperature maintained. Nonetheless, if the product you store in your warehouse needs to be at a particular temperature, you don’t have a choice…do you?

Beware Barrel Band Heaters

There has been a bandaid for this problem for a long time called band heaters. You just strap then around your barrel and: presto! You have a completely unregulated, half heated, half frozen barrel of liquid. Let’s be frank, this hasn’t solved your problem at all; it only creates a new one. Unfortunately, band heaters don’t provide temperature control, they only heat up some of your product. So if band heaters are not the solution, what is?

Drums heater blanket

Powerblanket® Barrel and Drum Heaters

Unlike band heaters, Powerblanket barrel and drum heaters apply an even distribution of heat: it can be set to peak at whatever temperature is needed, thus providing temperature regulation and not just heating your product to a boiling point.

Additionally, Powerblanket barrel and drum heaters also provide savings—whether we’re talking about the alternative of heating your warehouse or the cost of using band heaters. Powerblanket’s patented design allows for an economic and efficient distribution of heat within an insulated vinyl shell. This means less energy is needed to maintain the same temperature level. So take a sigh of relief at your storage conundrum and give use a call.

 

 

 

 

 

Repair Wind Blades With Even Heat Distribution?

Wind blade on the groundThere are many ways you can fix or repair damaged wind blades in the field.  An effective and efficient method is to use blanket heaters to cure epoxy patches over the damaged parts of the blade.  Heating blankets with patented GreenHeat Technology™, are a critical component of the epoxy curing process. Blanket style heaters use even heat distribution to cure the epoxy patch work quickly and easily and help to eliminate the huge financial burden of replacing an entire wind blade.

There are several different wind blade servicing companies that offer epoxy patch repair work.  After locking the blades in place, there are two ways to perform the repair. Options one requires the repairman to repel from the windmill while performing the repair. The second option is to use a piece of equipment that they stand on to help support them during the repair process.

Work like this has been done for several years now, and more recently, these companies have discovered that the epoxy patches cure stronger if heating is applied evenly across the blade with heating blankets.  Through trial and error, they have also discovered that the patched sections of epoxy are stronger when heat blankets are applied during the curing process.

Through the use of heating blanket that utilize even heat distribution, the epoxy cures rapidly, enabling the servicing companies’ technicians to work quicker, and finish the job in a timely manner.  This benefits service companies because they will be able to repair the wind blades quicker.  It also benefits the wind blade owners, because the sooner the blade is repaired, the sooner the windmill can be put back in use, generating and providing power.

All in all, wind servicing companies prefer the use of blanket heaters when repairing wind blades. The benefits of even heat distribution is becoming more and more important in the epoxy curing process.

Goodbye Band Heaters

Powerblanket drum heaters vs. traditional band heatersDon’t Get Burned By Band Heaters

Let’s face it, nobody likes band heaters. Nobody! When it comes to solving heating problems, band heaters are not the answer. In fact, they’re part of the problem. Band heaters are designed to provide a lot of heat in one, centralized location. This concentrated heating approach requires an extremely high watt density, which can overheat and burn whatever is stored in the drum.

 

Problems with band heaters include:

  • Inefficient, non-uniform heat
  • Inaccurate and unreliable thermostats
  • Wasted money by scorching or burning material
  • Leaving much of the drum unheated
  • The high wattage uses a lot of electricity

 

Some businesses store spray foam or other expensive chemicals in drums and buckets. These businesses can’t afford to have their products and materials scorched and burned. Until recently, band heaters have been the only option available to businesses that need to apply heat to their materials.

 

It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Band Heaters

The flawed approach of band heaters has left many business owners frustrated and looking for other solutions to their heating problems. So if band heaters are dangerous and ruin your materials, what alternatives are there? The answer is surprisingly simple: blanket-style drum heaters.

Blanket drum heaters offer businesses a better heating solution because they spread heat evenly across the entire blanket. No product is ruined or wasted because heating blankets eliminate hot and cold spots.

 

Benefits of blanket drum heaters:

  • Deliver safe, uniform heat to temperature-sensitive products and materials
  • Prevent product waste by maintaining consistent temperatures
  • Use energy efficient technology that saves time and money
  • Peace of mind with accurate and reliable thermostats

 

So if your business has been stuck using ineffective and outdated heating solutions like band heaters, it’s time to make a change. Do some research and switch to an economical and efficient heating blanket for bucket and drum heaters.

Heat Curing Epoxy

Is it necessary to have evenly distributed heat for curing epoxy resins?  The simple answer is, yes.   If you are using heat to cure something, having even heat distribution will cure or heat the product evenly.  If heat isn’t distributed evenly, only part of the product will cure while other parts will remain uncured.  Curing epoxy in this manner is doable, however, it is not recommended.

Let’s consider a common heat method for a minute, heat trace (localized heat).  Heat trace is strung out along the material and only heats what it rests upon.  Will it get the object hot?  Sure.  Will it heat the entire surface to the same temperature, regardless of the placement of the heater? No.  It will have hot and cold spots.

Now let’s consider an alternative heating method, GreenHeat Technology™. If you were to place a heated blanket with GreenHeat Technology over the top of an object, it will heat evenly across the entire blanket. The difference is that unlike heat trace , the blanket disburses the same amount of heat simultaneously across the surface of the blanket. This heating method drives the same amount of heat into the substance being heated.

 

Example Above-  Greenheat Technology (left) vs. Common Heat Source (Right)
Let’s take a cookie for an example. If you placed heat trace on cookie dough and turned it on for a few minutes, you would have a partial cookie surrounded by dough on both sides.  If you kept the heat trace on, in an effort to cook the entire cookie, you would eventually cook the entire cookie however, you would have blackened and burnt sections where the heat trace tape was laid.  If you took the same amount of dough and placed the previously mentioned heating blanket on top of it, it would cook the cookie evenly.  There would be no burned spots and doughy spots. Epoxy needs to cure in a similar manner, with evenly distributed heat.

How To Cure Wind Blades With Heating Blankets

Is heat critical to the manufacturing and repair process of wind blades?  The short answer is yes. Epoxy needs heat to cure properly. For example, when a wind blade needs to be repaired most systems use wet epoxy or polyester resin that needs to cure at temperatures above 53º F for at least 24 hours. If you don’t have an effective heating solution your epoxy may not cure properly.
If you use a uniform heat spreading blanket, it will help the epoxy and impregnated fiberglass seal and cure evenly across the surface of the blade. The picture below is a thermal image showing the difference between efficient heat distribution using heating blankets (left) and inefficient heat distribution using the conventional method (right).

For wind blade manufacturing and repair, there are a variety of heating technologies to choose from. Not all methods work very well. It’s critical to choose a solution that can heat to a manageable temperature and spreads the heat evenly across the surface of the blade.  The picture on the left shows the ideal method for curing wind blades using heating blankets.

The conventional heating method, shown on the right, is not ideal for the curing process.  The picture illustrates that while the conventional method does get hot, the heat is isolated to specific areas.  There are hot and cold spots all over the surface of the blade, which can interfere with the integrity of the cure.

I work with many wind blade manufacturers and field repair companies that swear by the efficiency and effectiveness of custom designed heating blankets for curing wind blades. If you’re looking for an effective heating solution for your wind blade operation, I recommend a solution that emits even, consistent heat.

 

What is “Smart Technology?”

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Powerblanket Heated barrel wrapEvery now and then, I’ll have a customer call in inquiring about our new “Smart Technology” and wondering what it is and how it is different than our technology used in other products.

Our patented technology offers an even distribution of heat across the plain or surface of our blankets. The blanket surface is the same temperature, meaning that there are no hot and cold spots. Through the use of this efficient and effective technology, we offer industries and companies solutions to their problems while increasing productivity and profitability.

Smart technology utilizes our patented technology described above, only it separates it into zones. There are three separate zones of heat which eliminate the possibility of burning material inside of 55 gallon drums. The 3 separate zones act as one when the drum is full.  As the drum depletes, the top zone will shut off. As the drum continues to deplete, and is a quarter full, the middle zone will shut off.  

Having zonal heating technology, offers more benefits and features to our customers and enables them to have additional options and comfort in knowing that their products and materials will not be overheated or burned while in use and in storage. This is our Smart Technology.

How Good is Heat Spreading?

I get asked about every week, what the benefits are that we offer to our customers. The answer is actually quite simple. Depending on the industry, company, or corporation we are working with we offer a variety of benefits. Through the use of our unique heat spreading technology, we offer companies amazing benefits.

In fact, Kim Herman, Operations Manager from Precision Utilities Group said the following:

Your blankets are absolutely excellent. Our crews have been working on some cell tower projects in Michigan this January where it has been extremely cold. The project restricts us from being able to use power tools on the job sites so we were left to figure out how to dig without equipment. We are so glad that we found you guys! Thanks to Powerblanket Extra Hot blankets, we were able to lay them out the day before we needed to dig, and by morning the next day, the ground was thawed out and softened, making it easy to dig and get our job completed much more quickly. In fact, we estimated that your blankets have saved us approximately 10 hours on each site. On ten sites to date, we estimate we have saved approximately $5,000 already! We have already paid off the initial investment of these blankets. When we are looking at thousands of sites, and with the savings we are saving per site, this is huge! We are excited at how much time and money your blankets have saved us and will save us in future.

-Kim Herman

OSP/COEI Operations Manager

Precision Utilities Group

I have worked with Kim for some time now and she tells me often, that when she is on job sites, contractors and other companies ask her about her blankets she’s using and if they work. She lets basically tells them what you just got done reading and they ask her where to buy some for their job functions.  We offer Kim almost all the benefits she needs.

We work with other industries that require even heat distribution and rely on uniform heat which we offer to them without the fear of overheating or burning of material.

Another example is from Eric from a Colorado Energy Company:

Your blankets have been wonderful to work with. Our Totes are outside and have been kept warm and protected from the harsh conditions here in the cold Rocky Mountains. We have loved the functionality of these blankets because they are extremely easy to wrap around our totes, strap shut, plug in, and maintain desired temperature with the thermostatic controllers.

We have not had any issues with your blankets flaking, tearing, or ripping in any way, and have found it beneficial that they are water resistant as well. As the blankets have been prone to getting dirty, due to being outside, we have easily sprayed and wipe them down to help keep them clean and looking new.

We wanted to thank you for assisting us with our heating frustrations and keeping our totes and the material within, warm and protected. You have helped keep our company running efficiently and retaining profit. We love your blankets and would recommend them to anyone.

-Eric

A Colorado Energy Company

No matter what your company, corporation or industry is, we will find one or more benefits you and your company can profit from. Please give us a call. We are more than happy to talk with you and assist you and your heating needs.

How Do I Prevent Frozen Pipes?

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Powerblanket Pipe HeaterThe best and most effective method in preventing frozen pipes is to wrap them with heating blankets. There are different methods and measures that companies and homeowners can take to prevent their pipes from freezing, but most of those methods are not cost effective or convenient.

It is critical to keep pipes warm and flowing. I understand that if pipes stop flowing due to freezing, it can be financially devastating. It can cause damage to the pipe itself, as well as the locations upstream and downstream of the frozen clog(s). I also understand the frustration and time associated with locating the frozen sections of pipe.

When companies and homeowners ask about heating methods and the cost associated with preventing pipes from freezing, I remind them of how much more costly it is to let pipes freeze. They must try to make repairs and then replace the loss of production. Consider the following:

  • Frozen pipes and frozen clogs prevent flow of fluid and performance of production
  • If pipes freeze over, it is timely and cumbersome to locate the frozen clogs and even more timely to thaw the frozen section of pipe
  • Frozen pipes can expand the pipe and in some cases break the pipe causing it to need to be replaced

When looking to keep your pipes warm and flowing, I recommend to my customers that they ask themselves the following:

  • Is the installation of the heating source safe?
  • Is the installation of the heating source quick and easy?
  • Can I install it myself or do I have to hire out an electrician for the installation?
  • Will this heating source ensure flow of my pipes and production?
  • What is an energy efficient method to maintain heat?

With electrical heating blankets, installation is easy and safe. Hiring a professional or an electrician is not needed, saving you a great amount of money. It is cost effective, not only to purchase the blanket, but also with regards to the amount of energy consumed to power the blanket.

How Do Concrete Blankets Help Cure Concrete?

Powerblanket concrete curing blanketHow do Concrete Blankets help cure concrete?

Placing concrete in cold weather creates costly effects on the integrity of the concrete if precautions are not taken to provide winter protection. Both ACI 306 and the NRMCA address the need to provide a heating solution when placing concrete in “cold weather.”

Typical problems experienced in cold weather concreting include:

  1. Standard insulating blankets, regardless of “R” value, do not generate heat and have limited sustainable value when it comes to retaining the heat of hydration generated by the concrete naturally.
  2. Force air heaters and accelerators can enhance premature curing causing possible shrinkage, a condition that can result in cracking and structural damage both short-term and long-term.
  3. Freezing of the bleed water necessary during the curing process.

How would your business increase if you used heated concrete blankets?

  1. PSI ratings achieved could be achieved 2.5 times faster than conventional curing methods and accelerators.
  2. You could speed up your concrete production cycles.
  3. Because your concrete integrity and strength increased, you could move on to other jobs.

Powerblanket heated concrete blankets not only generate and evenly distribute heat but retain that heat over longer periods of time allowing the concrete to avoid detrimental freeze-thaw effects during early stages of the curing process, an event that can greatly reduce the integrity of the concrete by as much as +/–  40 percent.

3 Common Concrete Surface Defects Caused by Cold Weather

Common Concrete Surface Defects Caused by Cold Weather Concrete which has been damaged by cold weather commonly has surface defects. Read on for a few.

1. Spalling

The most common defect is spalling. Spalling is simply the peeling or loss of the top finished layer of the concrete. It usually happens because the upper surface of the concrete froze before enough crystals grew to give this layer strength of at least 500 psi.

2. Popouts

Popouts are another common surface defect. A popout is created when a piece of aggregate (rock) in the upper surface of the concrete explodes as a result of freezing. Some pieces of aggregate have a tendency to absorb water. This water freezes, expands and eventually causes a tiny explosion. Gravel companies go to great lengths to try to remove this type of rock from the gravel – but they don’t always catch every piece.

3. Salt Damage

De-icing salt damage is another common surface defect. Scaling of your concrete can occur even if everything was done correctly. Here’s what happens: As concrete is exposed to air, it gets harder. That process is called carbonation. The carbon dioxide in the air reacts with the concrete and creates limestone (calcium carbonate). This carbonation process, however, usually takes one year to produce any substantial differences in strength. So, if you use de-icing salts or they drip from the under side of your car onto your new slab, you may have a problem with de-icing salt damage.

The #1 temperature related issue is weakened & cracked concrete. 

 

The ideal temperature range for concrete curing is from 65 to 85°F for seven days. If your concrete isn’t cured within that temperature range, some of the above defects can and will occur. Simply using insulated blankets or straw to protect concrete isn’t enough, especially if temperatures dip below 40°F. (In fact, if the temperature is below 14°F, not only will it not set, but it will also freeze.)

Powerblanket® heated concrete curing blankets maintain the ideal temperature range. They’re an easy, inexpensive way to protect your investment – and just as importantly, allow your construction project to continue quickly regardless of the weather.

Massman uses Powerblanket products to cure concrete on critical portion of Kansas City bridge

Massman uses Powerblankets to cure concrete on critical portion of Kansas City bridgeKANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a new street is paved, a new highway built or a new bridge is erected, the motorists who subsequently travel those routes may very much appreciate the upgrade, but often won’t have a real idea of what went into the actual construction. In some cases, in fact, even experienced construction professionals may not realize exactly how certain aspects of a job were accomplished.

A great example took place in January 2010 during the ongoing kcICON project in Kansas City, a $245 million undertaking that includes the rehabilitation of more than four miles of Interstates 29 and 35, as well as construction of the new Christopher S. Bond Bridge, which will replace the Paseo Bridge that has spanned the Missouri River since 1954. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) estimated that building the road and bridge structures included in the project would require 7,000 tons of steel and 50,000 cubic yards of concrete.

The significant scope of the project prompted three contractors — Clarkson Construction Co., Massman Construction Co. and Kiewit Construction — to form a joint venture partnership in pursuing their bid for the job. The partnership, known as Paseo Corridor Constructors, was awarded the design-build contract in late 2007, and construction began in April 2008.

It was late 2009 when Massman Construction, a century-old company that has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the country’s most successful bridge builders, encountered a unique challenge in completing a critical portion of the new cable-stayed river bridge.

The bridge deck was to be comprised of precast concrete panels, each weighing about 60,000 pounds. The panels, which were designed to have post-tensioning bars installed, were formed in a precast yard and hauled to the bridge site. Once the panels were placed and properly positioned, Massman was left with an 18-inch wide by 12-inch deep void, or trough, that would need to be filled with poured concrete in order to connect and solidify the bridge deck. The only problem was that this task could not be delayed and, therefore, would have to be accomplished in the dead of winter.

Taking into account the cold weather concreting considerations for proper curing, we had to maintain our concrete pour at a minimum temperature of 46 degrees Fahrenheit for seven consecutive days,” said Dale Helmig, project manager for Massman. “We were on a tight schedule and looking at outdoor temperatures at or below zero, so we had to find a way to keep the concrete warm.”

Massman contemplated various ways to generate the necessary heat. Although the company felt confident that they could use portable heaters to heat the top of the fresh concrete, the support beam below the bridge — which essentially was the bottom of the trough where concrete was to be poured — was constantly exposed to the elements and difficult to heat

After some evaluation, Massman’s crew decided the only way to keep the bottom warm would be to completely enclose it. The idea was to come underneath from a barge on the river, hoist up a boxed plywood structure around the beam, and then force heated air into that enclosure. But after some number crunching, it was determined the cost of the entire setup would be excessive, particularly since it was going to be time-consuming to execute and there was no guarantee the appropriate conditions could be achieved.

Fortunately for Massman, the company connected with a local equipment dealer that had an alternative solution in the form of electric-powered concrete curing blankets from Powerblanket. Unlike the radiant heat from the furnace and blower alternatives Massman had been considering, Powerblanket delivers contact heat. These electric concrete blankets help concrete cure without cracking or defects by essentially sealing in the hydration that concrete naturally produces, as well as by providing additional heat to keep the concrete within a desired temperature range.

“We gave Powerblanket’s engineers the boundary conditions we had to keep the concrete pour within — at least 46 degrees at the bottom but no warmer than 82 degrees at the top,” said Helmig. “They performed the calculations and determined the appropriate blankets needed to get the job done.”

While standard duty blankets would have easily provided immediate heat to the top surface of the poured concrete, it was decided that they would not be adequate to heat the entire 12-inch depth due to the extreme cold affecting the bottom portion of the slab that rested on the steel support beam beneath the bridge deck. Therefore, Powerblanket recommended its Extra Hot Series EH0612 blankets instead of its standard duty model. To ensure that the blankets did not overheat the concrete, Massman requested that each of the 34 blankets they purchased be equipped with an external digital thermostat so that temperatures could be monitored constantly.

The Powerblanket concrete curing blankets used on the job had dimensions of 6 feet by 12 feet, easily exceeding the 18-inch width of the trough to be filled. The additional blanket width was utilized to preheat the precast concrete panels that formed the sides of the trough prior to the pour. The preheating process helped minimize each panel’s ability to absorb heat from the freshly poured concrete. Additionally, this would prevent the panels from experiencing too rapid of a temperature change upon placement of the new concrete, which could otherwise result in thermal cracking and compromised structural integrity

Using portable generators and junction boxes to supply power to the 120-volt electric blankets, Massman initiated the weeklong concrete cure. In addition to relying on the blankets’ external thermostats, crew members used probes to take temperature readings several times daily to ensure that the engineering specifications were being properly met and maintained for the full seven-day period — during which the outdoor air temperature hit a low of minus-five degrees.

“It was awfully cold, but the blankets did their job keeping the concrete temperatures within spec,” said Helmig. “We achieved the PSI levels we had targeted, and it turned out to be a successful operation. We didn’t have the time to wait out the winter for the temperatures to become more moderate. The Powerblanket products certainly played an important role in keeping us on schedule and not having to postpone the pour.”

Helmig has since moved on to another ongoing Massman project in St. Louis, and says he may be using the blankets again there. “We were committed to doing something to stay on track,” said Helmig. “Using Powerblanket products turned out to be the fastest, simplest means of getting the job done correctly.”

Massman and the rest of the Paseo Corridor Constructors partnership kept the strong momentum of its significant winter accomplishment going into the spring and summer. Work progressed so well that by late October 2010, the Christopher S. Bond Bridge had already opened to traffic crossing the Missouri Riv

MoDOT also announced that all Interstate 29 and 35 lanes and ramps wouldn’t be far behind, opening by the end of the year and well ahead of the July 31, 2011 deadline. Only some street work, demolition of the Paseo Bridge and other miscellaneous construction tasks on the kcICON project will remain to be completed in 2011.

To the 102,000 motorists who will again be traveling the Paseo Corridor each day, there’s little chance that challenging 18-inch stretch of concrete will ever draw their attention. Decades from now, contractors performing bridge maintenance probably won’t give it a second thought either. Only the workers who achieved the pour in frigid conditions will know that closing that little gap was no ordinary construction situation, but nonetheless one where the right solution made all the difference.

Pouring Concrete on Frozen Ground

 heated blanket versus open flame to thaw groundWhen temperatures are cold, it’s tough to schedule your jobs because you can’t control the weather. You can lose time and money… and it’s extremely hard to schedule your sub-contractors. If you wait for the weather to break… you might find yourself waiting a long time.  Powerblanket® concrete curing blankets eliminate the weather variable and keeps your downtime to a minimum.

Unlike normal insulated blankets, Powerblanket Multi-Duty curing and thawing blankets allow you to unthaw frozen ground prior to pouring. Simply place them ahead of time and when your crew is onsite the ground will be ready for pouring – and on your schedule, not the weather’s.

Once you’ve poured, the same blankets will allow you to maintain the optimal curing temperature, ensuring a strong, durable slab… within a predictable time-frame that keeps your job moving.

For RAPID THAWING – use Powerblanket Extra-Hot Thawing blankets which provide a number of advantages over other ground-thawing methods:

  • No open flames
  • Faster & more economical
  • No carbon monoxide discharge
  • No noxious fumes
  • Safe, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly

 

electric blanket thawing ground with snow on itPowerblanket frozen ground thawing & concrete curing blankets allow concrete work to continue through the winter: you can efficiently schedule your crews and equipment and maintain a steady work schedule throughout the year.  NEVER POUR FRESH CONCRETE ON FROZEN GROUND. You now have a solution for thawing frozen ground and curing concrete in any weather condition… Keep your jobs and your crews on schedule with Powerblanket.