Concrete Curing in Freezers

Curing concrete in a deep freezer is a unique experience. Walk-in freezers are crucial to any organization that handles temperature sensitive material. The ability to store mass amounts of cold product in a controlled environment allows for meat, ice cream, cadavers, liquid oxygen and more to be used nearly anywhere in the world, so long as there is a freezer to put it in.

Most often, these freezers have a concrete flooring that is specially cured to handle the frozen environment around it, while keeping the heat from nearby room temperatures out. On top of all this, concrete flooring also needs to be able to withstand everything from footsteps to forklifts in ways that mitigate as much repair as possible.

Image taken from www.garonproducts.com

When preparing and pouring cement for freezer floors, there are several steps that one should consider, especially since this isn’t your usual concrete constructing picnic:

  • Maintain the mix: Be sure that your mix of concrete doesn’t contain too much water. Not only is it likely to cause cracking due to shrinkage, but it can also lead to water freezing within the concrete if it’s not cured enough by the time the freezer begins operating.
  • Seal the deal: The United States Dairy Association has a zero-tolerance policy regarding leaks in the freezer space. Frozen food should be stored at 0°F (-18°), as “freezing to 0° F inactivates any microbes — bacteria, yeasts and molds — present in food.” Any leakage would lead to moisture invading the freezer, potentially allowing mold and other harmful bacteria to grow. Any concrete installed as part of a walk-in freezer must be properly set and sealed to prevent leaks from happening.

Restoring Concrete Freezer Floors

With that in mind, you might be wondering how to repair concrete floors in freezers. Damage to the concrete floor like cracking or chipping can happen via forklift accident, replacing glycol heating systems, or subsoil moisture freezing.

Cracking occurs naturally in concrete, and there’s virtually no way to prevent it from ever happening. The best tools for repairing concrete freezer floors are low-temperature grade epoxy seals and additional concrete.

Equally important of what to use is what not to use. Repair product manufacturers like Polycote advocate against hard repair mortar when fixing floor joints. Doing so will create an inflexible bond that will not allow for any concrete movement, increasing the chances of additional concrete cracking.

Things to Keep an Eye Out For

Our friends at Concrete Mender offer several challenges that pose a problem when repairing concrete, which include frost, working conditions, and curing:

  • Frost: Frozen moisture in the concrete will act as a barrier between the repair material and the pores of the concrete. Most repair materials will try to bond to the frost coated concrete. When the temperature increases, the frost melts and so does the bond.
  • Working conditions: Working with materials in the cold is challenging to both man and materials. Mixing epoxies or mortars in the cold is especially challenging. As the temperature decreases, the viscosity and flow rate of these materials increase making them harder to mix and much more difficult to work with. Drum heaters are an excellent solution to keeping epoxy and mortar warm while waiting to use on a freezer job.
  • Curing: With most materials, cure times in cold environments are extended significantly. A product that normally cures in an hour at room temperature may take as much as 12 hours in a cold environment. Some materials may not cure at all before actually freezing solid. Use a concrete curing blanket to help the concrete cure for maximum strength.

If You’re Gonna Do a Job, You’d Better Do It Right

Fixing a freezer is a job you only want to do once. Making crack repairs can be tedious and have to be done exactly to specifications in meeting safety requirements. After all, keeping that freezer sealed tight with a good concrete job will keep the cadavers cold and food frozen.

The best tools to help with a quick, clean concrete repair job are drum heaters and curing blankets. For more information on these items, check out Powerblanket’s concrete solutions.

All About Concrete Cracking Repair

Concrete gets old with age, just like we do. When laid correctly, concrete doesn’t really pose any problems until the cracking and wearing part of the life cycle begins. Concrete cracking happens naturally, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. 

Stock Image

Cracking is a constant in concrete. Nearly every slab of concrete ever laid will feature cracking at some point. This can lead to a series of important questions:

  • What is causing the cracking?
  • Is the structural integrity of my concrete compromised due to cracking?
  • Can cracking be repaired without replacing the concrete?
  • What can be done next time to help mitigate cracking?

Concrete Cracking Causes

The Concrete Network lists five causes of concrete cracking: excess water in concrete mix, rapid drying of concrete, improper strength concrete poured, lack of control joints, and poor ground conditions before pouring.

  1. Excess water in concrete mix: Concrete shrinks as it dries thanks to the water within the concrete mix evaporating. Though water is an important part of the concrete mixture, too much water will create a “soupy” concrete mix. When the water evaporates, the remaining concrete shrinks to maintain its strength. According to the Concrete Network, “concrete slabs can shrink as much as 1/2 inch per 100 feet. This shrinkage causes forces in the concrete which literally pull the slab apart. Cracks are the end result of these forces.”

    The best way to mitigate cracking of this type from happening is to be careful with how much water is added to your concrete mix. A low water-to-cement ratio will go a long way in preventing cracking.
  2. Rapid drying of concrete: Concrete will often not be able to achieve its maximum strength if it cures too fast. Hydration is the chemical reaction that allows the cement mixture to absorb water, changing from a liquid mixture into a solid slab. This process can take days, even weeks to become stiff enough to achieve desired strengths. Using a concrete curing blanket can allow less impact from external variables that affect concrete drying.

    Powerblanket image
  3. Improper strength of concrete poured: Not all cement mixes are created equally. Different mixes suit different purposes. You can bet that the concrete slab you poured to make the kids’ basketball court is a different strength than the Normandy bunkers stormed by the Allies on D-Day. Pouring the wrong strength of concrete can set you up for cracking. Check with your concrete provider to ensure you’re using the right strength of concrete for your project.
  4. Lack of control joints: Control joints let you choose where the cracking occurs. By allowing for spacing between concrete slabs, you can make sure cracks happen in straight lines and don’t spread due to temperature fluctuations and movement.

    Image taken from Concrete Construction Magazine

    When control joints aren’t used, cracking will happen in the most natural way possible with no direction from you. Cutting control joints must be done within 12 hours of pouring concrete, or as soon as the concrete has hardened.

  5. Poor ground conditions: Do not pour concrete on frozen ground. The poured concrete will bind to the ice inside of the frozen soil, and will become unbound once the ice melts. If you have to pour concrete in cold weather conditions, use a ground thawing blanket to get ground surfaces to the right temperature. This will ensure proper joining of ground and cement layers. The ground should also be dry, so make sure you’re not pouring concrete into a puddle or saturated soil.

Cracking Impacts Concrete

Structural integrity is what concrete is all about. Properly evaluating the impact of cracking can help you decide if your structure is sustainable, or if you need to replace that part of the project with another concrete pour. Opting to repair your concrete is feasible only once it’s been confirmed there are no structural issues.

Image taken from www.nextstartech.com

Repairing Cracks

Concrete Construction says that if you’ve noticed cracking in your concrete, you’ll want to follow several steps before taking any repair measures:

“Before repairing your next crack, perform a crack evaluation and establish the repair objectives. Decide what type of repair is needed. Choices include a structural repair using epoxy, a route and seal repair using a flexible sealant to accommodate future crack movements, and a hard or semi-rigid filler repair to support crack edges, with or without routing. Also, establish the cosmetic requirements. After choosing the repair material and procedure, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.”

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After completing the crack repair, reassess the area to see how you can blend the look of the repair back into the concrete, giving your project a smoother look.

Cracking: It’s Going to Happen

Though repairing cracking will allow for longer-lasting strength for your concrete, mitigating excessive cracking from happening in the first place is best. It can’t be stopped, but it can be controlled. Refer to the above guide next time you’re on a concrete job to make sure you have all your concrete cracking bases covered.

Check out Powerblanket’s concrete solutions here.

Stained for Good: The Art of Concrete Staining

Let’s get one thing straight: plain, gray concrete is best used in military bunkers. Other than that, it’s downright boring. What can you do to spice up the gloom into glam? There’s one solution: stain it.

Image taken from www.thatisconcrete.com.

If you’re a parent, the word “stain” probably doesn’t make you think of a beautiful, antique floor. Nonetheless, staining is a great way to turn a slab of gray into luxurious floor that looks like it predates the Civil War. Staining is a great way to turn a slab of gray into luxurious tones of brown, green, even blue. Concrete experts generally use one of two ways to stain concrete: acid and water-based stains. Each one has a specific purpose, but which one should you use?

Pick One

Staining concrete takes time and effort, but the results can be beautiful.

  • Acid stains are made up of metallic salt minerals dissolved into a water-acid mixture. The acids allow for a chemical reaction during the curing process that permanently changes the surface of the concrete in color and texture.
Acid stained porch in Colorado. Image taken from www.denverconcretecompany.net.
  • Non-acid stains treat concrete differently than an acid stain. Instead of altering the structure of the concrete, non-acid stains create a layer over the concrete surface, filling pores and leaving behind a flat, smooth finish.
Non-acid stained concrete. Image taken from www.super-krete.com.

Do Your Prepwork

According to industry experts, the best way to stain concrete is as follows:

  • Thoroughly clean and prepare concrete
  • Apply concrete stain
  • Clean up and neutralize concrete stain
  • Seal concrete for lasting protection

In order to stain concrete, the concrete must be cured to its proper strength. This can take up to 48 hours (which feels more like forever than it actually is), but with concrete curing products this time can be nearly cut in half. Powerblanket’s Concrete Curing Blanket helps keep concrete at stable temperatures above 50°F, making cure time 2.8 times faster than open air curing. This is especially helpful when staining concrete in places where temperatures are variable or close to freezing. Make sure your concrete creation cures correctly.

Once the concrete is cured, you can move on to the staining process. Begin washing down the concrete surface. You won’t want any food crumbs or shoe scuff marks to get in the way of the stain, so make sure to give it a good scrub down. Also remove any layers of glue, sealers or curing membranes that might prevent the stain from contacting the concrete. Finally, apply a concrete acid cleanser to the project surface to ensure the concrete is as porous as possible. Once it has dried, rinse the concrete with water.

Let The Staining Begin

The time has arrived to forever change the way your concrete looks. After the concrete is no longer wet from rinsing, use a brush to spread the stain across the project surface. If it’s a puddle you can splash in (don’t), it’s too thick. If it disappears right after applying it (i.e. it absorbed into the concrete), you need more.

Image taken from www.lovelyimperfection.com, a concrete DIY blog.

Once your initial layer is down, allow 24 hours of drying before doing another layer of stain, even if it’s the same color of stain.

Most stains have difficulty drying in cold temperatures. If you can’t help but do a concrete staining project in the dead of winter, a Concrete Curing Blanket can save the day, allowing the stain to dry within a controlled environment.

Protect Your Project

You’re so close to being done! After the stain has dried, use a sealer or wax to protect the stain from dirt or grime that could change the color or texture over time. You’ll need to regularly clean the project surface, but don’t use powerful chemicals like bleach, vinegar or ammonia. Such solutions can damage stained concrete. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

Image taken from www.kronion.pw.

Finally, bask in your work. Enjoy the fruit of your labors by eating a large bowl of grapes on your newly stained concrete patio, kitchen counter, table top, or garage floor.

Concrete Curing Time

concrete pouring down the chute

Waiting for the curing of concrete can easily test patience, especially when you’re ready to move on to the next step of a project. However, it’s important to remember that quality is the end goal, not quickness. Rushing ahead and not allowing enough time for concrete to properly cure before allowing foot traffic or heavy machinery to travel across your newly placed cement can seriously compromise the integrity of a concrete slab.

 

Cement Curing Factors

Several factors influence concrete slab cure time, including:

  • Mixture proportions- Increasing cement to water ratio will decrease setting time but may compromise long-term strength.
  • Type of mix used- Some fast curing concrete mixes and add-ins  are available
  • Specified strength
  • Size and shape of slab
  • Ambient weather/temperature- Higher temperatures decrease initial concrete setting time, but may decrease long-term strength.

 

Typical Concrete Setting Time

Typically, concrete is recognized to have reached full strength 28 days after placement; however, this does not mean you need to wait 28 days to walk, or even continue construction on newly placed concrete. After placement, concrete increases in strength very quickly for 3-7 days, then gradually for the next 3 weeks. This means that concrete hardening time is typically 24-48 hours, at which point it’s safe for normal foot traffic. After one week, concrete is typically cured enough to handle continued construction including heavy machinery.

concrete curing time

The “70 in 7” Rule

When in doubt, remember the “70 in 7” rule: Most concrete mixes will have reached 70% of specified compressive strength after 7 days. At this point, it’s ready for exposure to normal traffic.

concrete curing blanket on ground

Concrete Curing Blankets

Unfortunately, cold weather during winter months can seriously slow down concrete cure time and significantly hold up construction projects. The best temperature to cure concrete is above 5o°F, which can be difficult to replicate if the air is below freezing.

Luckily, solutions, such as concrete curing blankets that maintain optimum temperatures during cure time, are available. Concrete Blankets are an effective option that cure concrete 2.8 times faster than a typical insulated blanket and properly maintain moisture throughout the hydrating process. Concrete Blankets are easily transported and installed and maintain ACI compliance for cold-weather concreting. If you’re looking for a solution to maintaining optimum concrete cure time during cold winter, using a Concrete Blanket is the best method for drying and curing concrete.

How Cold is Too Cold to Pour Concrete?

 Ground heating electrical blanket for curing concrete
Experts agree that the best temperature to pour concrete is between 50-60 °F. The necessary chemical reactions that set and strengthen concrete slow significantly below 50 °F and are almost non-existent below 40 °F. Even when daytime temperatures are within the satisfactory range, winter concrete setting creates risks that could result in weak, inadequate concrete. If nighttime temperatures are below freezing, the water in the concrete will freeze and expand, causing cracks. Additionally, if temperatures reach below 40 °F (but not freezing) during set time, concrete will take much longer to reach required strength. However, if the correct measures are taken, concrete can still be successfully placed during even the coldest months of the year.

Things to Consider with Cold Weather Concreting

Before embarking on a cold weather concrete project, it’s important to determine any special strength requirements or considerations. This will help as you schedule your pouring and determine which strategies you will use to keep your surroundings and materials warm. The predominant challenge you will face during a winter concrete project is ensuring that the concrete sets before it is exposed to freezing temperatures. You might take the following suggestions into consideration as you plan your upcoming project:

  • Use heaters to thaw frozen ground, snow or ice.
  • Use hot water to mix cement.
  • Keep dry materials in a dry, warm location.
  • Use products designed to set quickly. During cold weather, these products will not set as quickly as the instructions may indicate, but will set faster than conventional materials.
  • Use additives that accelerate set time. Use caution; if additives contain calcium chloride, any rebar or metal wire mesh in concrete will rust and cause concrete to crack.
  • Use extra cement (typically 100 lb/ cubic yard) to make the reaction hotter and cause concrete to hydrate more rapidly.
  • Remember that you still need to wait for bleed water to evaporate. Incorporating the water into the surface during finishing will weaken the surface. Bleeding starts later and takes longer during cold weather; you can use squeegees or a vacuum to remove water quickly.
  • Wait until concrete has reached desired strength to remove any framework. If the framework is removed too early, the concrete will be damaged and the surface could collapse.

Maintaining Ideal Temperature

After implementing the above suggestions, It’s important to consider how you will keep concrete at the correct temperature during the curing process. Concrete must maintain a temperature above 50 °F for approximately 48 hours for the correct chemical reactions to take place. Two popular options used during cold weather concrete curing are heated enclosures and insulated blankets. If using an enclosure, ensure that the structure is both wind and waterproof. Additionally, ensure that there is proper ventilation for the space heater. Heaters cause an increase in carbon dioxide that could cause carbonation in the surface of the concrete.

Powerblanket Concrete Blankets

Powerblanket® concrete blankets are an extremely effective option for attaining and maintaining the correct temperatures for concrete pouring and setting. Powerblanket concrete blankets can be used to thaw ground before pouring concrete and again after finishing to keep concrete from freezing. Utilizing Powerblanket concrete blankets will ensure that concrete is kept at the correct temperature for the necessary reactions to happen quickly and the desired strength to be reached.

 

What Temperature is Too Cold to Pour Concrete?

What Temperature is Too Cold to Pour Concrete?
What Temperature is Too Cold to Pour Concrete?

Experts agree that the best temperature to pour concrete is between 50-60°F. The necessary chemical reactions that set and strengthen concrete slow significantly below 50°F and are almost non-existent below 40°F. Even when daytime temperatures are within the satisfactory range, winter concrete setting creates risks that could result in weak, inadequate concrete. If nighttime temperatures are below freezing, the water in the concrete will freeze and expand, causing cracks. Additionally, if temperatures reach below 40°F (but not freezing) during set time, concrete will take much longer to reach required strength. However, if the correct measures are taken, concrete can still be successfully placed during even the coldest months of the year.

Before embarking on a cold weather concrete project, it’s important to determine any special strength requirements or considerations. This will help as you schedule your pouring and determine which strategies you will use to keep your surroundings and materials warm. The predominant challenge you will face during a winter concrete project is ensuring that the concrete sets before it is exposed to freezing temperatures. You might take the following suggestions into consideration as you plan your upcoming project:

  • Use heaters to thaw frozen ground, snow or ice.
  • Use hot water to mix cement.
  • Keep dry materials in a dry, warm location.
  • Use products designed to set quickly. During cold weather, these products will not set as quickly as the instructions may indicate, but will set faster than conventional materials.
  • Use additives that accelerate set time. Use caution; if additives contain calcium chloride, any rebar or metal wire mesh in concrete will rust and cause concrete to crack.
  • Use extra cement (typically 100 lb/cubic yard) to make the reaction hotter and cause concrete to hydrate more rapidly.
  • Remember that you still need to wait for bleed water to evaporate. Incorporating the water into the surface during finishing will weaken the surface. Bleeding starts later and takes longer during cold weather; you can use squeegees or a vacuum to remove water quickly.
  • Wait until concrete has reached desired strength to remove any framework. If the framework is removed too early, the concrete will be damaged and the surface could collapse.

After implementing the above suggestions, It’s important to consider how you will keep concrete at the correct temperature during the curing process. Concrete must maintain a temperature above 50°F for approximately 48 hours for the correct chemical reactions to take place, allowing the concrete to eventually settle at 4000 psi. Two popular options used during cold weather concrete curing are heated enclosures and insulated blankets. If using an enclosure, ensure that the structure is both wind and waterproof. Additionally, ensure that there is proper ventilation for the space heater. Heaters cause an increase in carbon dioxide that could cause carbonation in the surface of the concrete, not to mention a work hazard for employees.

Powerblanket® concrete blankets are an extremely effective option for attaining and maintaining the correct temperatures for concrete pouring and setting. Powerblanket® concrete blankets can be used to thaw ground before pouring concrete and again after finishing to keep concrete from freezing. Utilizing Powerblanket concrete blankets will ensure that concrete is kept at the correct temperature for the necessary reactions to happen quickly and the desired strength to be reached. With Powerblanket, it’s almost never too cold to pour concrete!

 

Concrete Curing Temperature Makes a Difference

How Warm Does it Have To Be To Pour Concrete?

Whether the conditions are hot or freezing, the ideal concrete curing temperature should be maintained at about 55°F to achieve the optimum concrete strength.

Curing the Hoover Dam

At its completion in 1935, the Hoover Dam was the largest dam in the world and a marvel of labor and engineering.  The first pour began on June 6, 1933. Rather than being a single block of concrete, they built the dam as a series of individual columns. The trapezoidal columns rose in five foot lifts. This method allowed the tremendous heat produced by the curing concrete to dissipate. If the dam were built in a single continuous pour, the concrete would have gotten so hot that it would have taken 125 years for the concrete to cool to ambient temperatures. The resulting stresses would have caused the dam to crack and crumble away (The Story).  

The heat and dryness of Nevada posed additional complex problems with the pour and concrete curing temperature.  When the concrete was first poured, river water circulated through cooling coils of 1″ thin-walled steel pipes. Once the concrete had received a first initial cooling, chilled water from a refrigeration plant on the lower cofferdam circulated through the coils to finish the cooling (The Story).

Concrete Curing is an Art

We live in a world where faster always seems better; however, concrete that cures too quickly or under hot concrete curing conditions can actually result in weak or unstable concrete.  If concrete is cured in cooler ambient  temperatures (32°F to 50°F) with moisture continually present, strength gain will be slow but the concrete will eventually reach a high strength. Concrete should not be allowed to get hotter than 90°F or to dry out during the curing period.

Best Concrete Curing Temperature

By “best” we mean “most thoroughly,” not the fastest.  High temperatures mean faster curing, but fast curing equates to weaker strength in the end.  The following study by Paul Klieger in the Portland Cement Association Research Bulletin 103 illustrates this concept.

concrete cure time chart with concrete curing temperature

Concrete Cure Time Chart with Temperature

At an age of 1 day the 120°F concrete was strongest and the 25°F concrete was weakest. By 7 days the high-temperature cured concretes had no more strength than the 73°F concrete or even less. By the age of 28 days the high-temperature concretes were weaker than the 73°F concrete. From 28 days to 1 year the 55°F concrete was considerably stronger than the 73°F concrete. All of this suggests that, provided there is continuous curing, concrete cured at about 55°F for the first 28 days ultimately reaches the highest strength (Concrete).

Hot Weather Concrete Temperature Limits

Hot weather concreting doesn’t simply involve temperature.  High ambient temperatures, winds, and relative humidity all play a role in “hot weather.”  Under hot heather conditions, the primary curing issue is having the top of the slab of concrete dry much faster than the bottom. As concrete dries it shrinks. This means that the top will be shrinking while the bottom is not. This creates internal problems with the concrete that will result in a damaged slab. The top and the bottom of the pour need to cure at the same rate (Placing).

Concrete Curing Temperature Solutions

Is it too HOT?

Powerblanket ICE is portable cooling equipment that will keep newly poured concrete safe from heat. Portable, insulated, and efficient, Powerblanket ICE effectively regulates the temperature of concrete under both regular and hot conditions.

The Powerblanket ICE Circulation Blanket is combined with either a cooler or chiller to achieve optimum results. The Circulation Blanket draws heat to the blanket in order to cool the concrete.

  • Use Powerblanket’s patented heat-spreading technology in reverse–the cooling blanket draws heat away and lowers the temperature of the concrete.
  • Blanket cover and insulation are the same as the robust system used in Powerblanket heating products
  • Portable
  • Control the curing speed of newly poured concrete even in hot conditions

Is it too COLD?

Can you pour and cure concrete in the winter? Powerblanket concrete curing blankets provide a manageable way to cure concrete effectively and confidently in the cold weather months. Even in warm weather, Powerblanket curing blankets increase production by rapidly curing with consistent, even heat.

  •   Cure concrete 2.8 times faster than conventional, insulated blankets
  •   Produce cold weather concreting strength of up to 3,925 psi in 72 hours
  •   Maintain moisture throughout hydrating process
  •   Easily installed and removed
  •   Prevent a freeze cycle
  •   Thaw ground and frost from job site prior to pour
  •   Reduce downtime & increase profitability
  •   Maintain ACI compliance for cold weather concreting

Works Cited

“Placing Concrete in hot or cold weather”. Sakrete Blog. 16 May 2017. http://www.sakrete.com/media-center/blog-detail.cfm/bp_alias/Placing-Concrete-in-hot-or-cold-weather

“The Story of Hoover Dam – Essays”. Bureau of Reclamation. 16 May 2017. https://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/history/essays/concrete.html

Powerblanket Curing Blankets at the Statue of Liberty

Powerblanket® Goes to the Statue of Liberty

Statue of LibertyReilly Construction out of Wrightstown, NJ won a bid from the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Parks to replace the roof of The Great Hall Statue of Liberty National Monument.  The Great Hall, which now houses the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, is considered one of the most symbolically important structures in American history. The Great Hall-Ellis Island was proclaimed a part of Statue of Liberty National Monument and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Reilly needed extra heat in the form of curing blankets to make this job happen.

The project involved removal of the existing inverted roof membrane assembly (IRMA) and replacement with a new multi-ply modified bitumen roofing system over a complicated tapered insulation deck assembly, approx. 60,000 Sq. Ft. The project also included the replacement of custom fabricated copper flashings and accessories throughout and the installation of a lighting protection system. Reilly worked with the NYS Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to coordinate all the work.

Challenges Faced by Reilly

  • Cold winter weather and high winds at this waterfront facility
  • Working safely around thousands of tourists visiting this historic landmark daily
  • Implementing various overhead protection plans at this historic landmark daily
  • Mobilizing materials and equipment on a small island
  • Limited laydown and staging areas
  • Coordinating construction schedule with NPS & U.S. Park Police for VIP visits
  • Ensuring compliance with the NYS Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
  • Day & night work


Finding Powerblanket

Dan DeSantis, the Senior Project Manager for Reilly, found Powerblanket products online and left his contact information. Upon follow up, we discovered that Reilly needed a heating solution to cure the masonry block work at the proper temperature (~50°F/~10°C) during December in New York and with the added chill of the water. Reilly used five Powerblanket MD0520 concrete curing blankets for the application, and appreciated the increased temperature control.

A Cure for What Ails You

Powerblanket concrete curing blankets provide a manageable way to cure concrete effectively and confidently in the cold weather months. Even in warm weather, Powerblanket curing blankets increase production by rapidly curing with consistent, even heat.

Why Choose Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets?

  • Cure concrete 2.8 times faster than conventional, insulated blankets
  • Produce cold weather concreting strength of up to 3,925 psi in 72 hours
  • Maintain moisture throughout hydrating processPowerblanket at the Statue of Liberty
  • Easily installed and removed
  • Prevent a freeze cycle
  • Thaw ground and frost from job site prior to pour
  • Reduce downtime & increase profitability
  • Maintain ACI compliance for cold weather concreting

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.

Learn More

5 Helpful Tips for Winter Construction Efficiency

5 Tips for Winter Construction

Working outside during the cold winter months presents many obstacles; however, some jobs will not wait for better circumstances. Below are some tips and solutions to improve winter construction.

1) KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES SAFE

Train your employees in proper winter construction precautions.  Encourage everyone to wear layers of loose-fitting clothing, to stay dry, and to protect from the wind and sun with gloves, hats and sunscreen.  If conditions become too cold/dangerous, employees should have access to shelter.

On the work site, remove ice and snow regularly to prevent slips and falls.  This can be a full-time job depending on the weather.  The act of shoveling snow can also be extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). To save time, energy, and your employees health, use Summerstep heated safety mats to keep the walkways on your construction site clear.

Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

  • ,  Protect personnel from winter weather conditions and keep stairs, doorways, walkways, and ramps free from snow and ice
  •   Prevent slips and falls
  •   More convenient than shoveling snow
  •   More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces)
  •   Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
  •   40 Watts/Sq ft heated area
  •   The ONLY snow melting mat product made in the USA

 

2) MAINTAIN INTEGRITY OF CONCRETE

Winter construction cold-weather operations aren’t just about safety. While most construction tasks can be carried out in cold weather, some operations, such as concrete work, can take much longer and even fail without proper precautions.

 

If concrete is to reach necessary strength levels, it can’t be allowed to freeze for the first 24 hours after being poured or placed. Sheeting the concrete can ensure the required temperature and moisture necessary for curing, if the weather isn’t too severe.  In severe conditions, supplemental heating systems or enclosures must be brought in to maintain the integrity of the concrete.

 

Powerblanket Concrete Blankets provide a manageable way to cure concrete in the cold weather months, save you time and money, and come in various lengths and sizes. We have you covered.

 

Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets

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

 

3) DON’T LET FROZEN GROUND SLOW YOU DOWN

When it’s cold and the ground freezes, the job suffers.  Often prep for winter construction takes longer than the actual job.  Some industrial companies try heating the ground with massive coils or large heating systems, which become expensive and cumbersome. This approach requires rental fees and transporting equipment.  

Powerblanket has considered the difficulties and delays associated with winter construction and cold/freezing temperatures and has created a solution.  With Powerblanket’s patented heating technology you can prep the ground with little to no effort or supervision on your part.

Powerblanket ground thawing blankets have a higher power density and hotter temperature than our concrete curing blankets. The higher power is iideal for ground thawing applications and curing epoxy or resins.

Why Powerblanket Ground Thawing Blankets?

  •   High power density thaws frozen ground quickly
  •   Remove frost prior to concrete pour
  •   Melt snow and ice from roofs, walkways, and construction areas
  •   Easily placed and removed for repeated use in harsh winter weather
  •   Can be used to cure epoxy and resins
  •   Certified to UL and CSA standards

 

4) KEEP MATERIALS WARM

Masonry, roofing, paint, and plaster/stucco materials are all sensitive to cold weather.  Maintaining the integrity of these materials is critical for their success in winter construction.

Powerblanket Hot Boxes save you money by keeping your products from freezing without the risk of overheating. The Hot Box pallet warmer is easily assembled, taken apart. Hot boxes are ideal for cold wea
ther storage, freeze protection, transporting, job site heating, remote location use, and winter roofing. Standard Hot Boxes hold product between 100°F and 120°F (38°C and 49°C) and optional adjustable thermostatic controllers allow temperatures to be precisely controlled.

Powerblanket Hot Boxes:

  •   Quick and easy assembly
  •   Preserve temperature sensitive material
  •   Heat materials and palletized products: adhesives, shingles, paint, caulk, resins epoxies, etc.
  •   Access doors on two sides.
  •   Certified to UL and CSA standards

 

5) USING A PROPANE HEATER

Winter construction professionals often use temporary, propane-powered heating equipment on the jobsite, making it easier to finish projects on time and on budget. In addition to providing more comfortable working conditions, propane-powered heaters can also maintain the ambient temperatures necessary for common tasks like drywall installation or painting. However, like any portable heating device, propane-powered heaters must be used and maintained properly.

When temperatures get too low, the propane will not flow consistently or effectively, and you may lose your heat altogether. Propane-tank efficiency will fall substantially as the temperature drops. As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your propane tank, and the pressure in your propane tank directly affects the volume of propane you have to work with. Your extraction rate (how quickly and smoothly you can extract propane from the tank) will suffer as well. Without a heating source to assist in the pressure maintenance of your tank, you will have to keep it as full as possible in order to keep it working, even if temperatures are mildly cold.

Powerblanket Propane Tank Heater

Powerblanket has the best propane tank heating solution on the market. These heating blankets will help maintain pressure and efficiency on just about any size tank. All Powerblanket heating blankets are certified to UL and CSA safety standards

Benefits of Powerblanket Propane Tank Heaters:

  •   Increase performance and efficiency of propane tanks
  •   Eliminates unnecessary cylinder refills in cold weather
  •  Even heat distribution in the areas where it is needed most
  •   Save money by optimizing gas and material usage
  •    Certified to UL and CSA standards

 

 

Ground Thawing Blankets: Prep Frozen Ground with Powerblanket

When it’s cold and the ground is frozen, your job suffers. Thaw frozen ground and get back to work quickly with Ground Thawing Blankets from Powerblanket.

Winter is an interesting beast, especially for those who make their livelihood working outside.  Often prep takes longer than the actual job itself.  Powerblanket has considered the difficulties and delays associated with cold and freezing temperatures and has created a solution.  With Powerblanket’s patented heating technology you can prep the ground with little to no effort or supervision on your part. 

Ground Thawing for Commercial Plumbing

A south-central Utah plumber said, “I wish I had known about Powerblanket’s ground thawing blankets a couple years ago.  We had a job in Mount Pleasant that got so cold that we couldn’t dig.  We started laying out thermal blankets every night to avoid the hard freeze that happened overnight.  We had to layer the thermal blankets in order to keep the ground warm enough to work each morning.  Our progress was slow and labored, and we never knew what we would find at the job site each morning.  It would have been so much easier if we had had Powerblankets.”

Some industrial companies also try heating the ground with massive coils or large heating systems, which becomes expensive and cumbersome. This approach requires rental fees, transporting equipment, and a bit more money than the bid allows.  Your ground thawing blanket can be used over and over on any frozen job you have.

The high power density in Powerblanket Ground Thawing Blankets helps tackle the difficulty of thawing ground in harsh climates. This line of Powerblanket flat blankets has a higher power density and hotter temperature than our concrete curing blankets. The higher temperatures are ideal for ground thawing applications and curing epoxy or resins.

Why Powerblanket Ground Thawing Blankets?

  • High power density thaws frozen ground quickly
  • Remove frost prior to concrete pour
  • Melt snow and ice from roofs, walkways, and construction areas
  • Easily placed and removed
  • Can be used to cure epoxy and resins

Learn More Here

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

 

 

Precast Concrete and Throughput: How to Improve Cure Times

The business of precast concrete manufacturing is one where you often have to hurry up and wait. Once you pour a precast form, you then have to wait for the time-consuming process of allowing the form to fully cure. The importance of proper curing can’t be undermined, but what if it could be efficiently and safely sped up?

 

Cure Precast Concrete 3 Times as Fast

What if we told you that you could speed up your precast concrete curing process, without the use of any additives, by as much as 300%? If you’re first thought is: prove it, then we would love to. In fact, it may interest you to know that the inception of Powerblanket heating solutions all started with concrete curing in the first place. We’ve been in the business of increasing concrete-curing efficiency for many years, and our solutions have been proven and tested innumerable times over to increase curing efficiency without any of the common side effects related to other forms of acceleration.

Additives can dehydrate your concrete and leave you playing a game of gains and losses. But Powerblanket custom precast concrete curing solutions keep your concrete insulated and hydrated throughout the curing process. Our patented blend of technology allows for the even and consistent curing of precast forms of all shapes and sizes.

So rather than balancing the pros and cons of using additives or accelerators in your concrete forms, let us show you a solution that creates no setbacks, only progress. To learn more about our precast curing blankets, select the button below for the infographic.

Powerblanket Receives Manufacturer of the Year Award from UMA

If you haven’t seen this headline somewhere else on the web by now, we’re happy to tell you all about it here. Utah Manufacturers Association recently awarded Powerblanket something we’re pretty happy about. Read on to learn more about the UMA Manufacturer of the Year Award.

 

Brent Reddekopp  receiving UMA Award for PowerblanketUMA and Manufacturer of the Year

Utah Manufacturers Association (UMA), recently awarded Powerblanket the prestigious award  of Manufacturer of the Year. This award is given annually to the Utah-based manufacturer that proves to be the most innovative contributor to their space. There’s even more to it than this, but we’ll get to that.

UMA has been around since 1905. The organization prides itself on offering the “voice of industry” in the state of Utah, and they’ve been doing so for over 107 years now. UMA has clearly been talking Utah economy for a long time, but talking isn’t all they do. UMA is a trade association, and their goal is to enhance and improve the business climate in the state. UMA doesn’t only offer insight and expertise in the business of manufacturing, but the organization also has considerable experience in the legislative processes of state government. This is how they can do so much to vie for the interests of Utah businesses and the overall economic prosperity of the state.

UMA’s Manufacturer of the Year Award embodies the mission of UMA in multiple ways. By awarding the company that not only proves innovative in their respective markets, but also offers leadership in their industry, UMA’s award encourages and rewards the same idealism by which their organization operates. Powerblanket was chosen to receive this award for 2015, based on the embodiment of these characteristics and more. In fact, why don’t we just give it to you in their own words. According to UMA, Powerblanket received the award “for their outstanding performance in operational excellence, economic achievement, workplace safety, community outreach, and fidelity to the principles of free enterprise.”

Powerblanket is honored to receive such accolades from a high quality establishment like UMA. The credibility of UMA and the Manufacturer of the Year Award lends a great addition to our own image and ethos as a company devoted to “operational excellence, economic achievement, workplace safety, community outreach, and fidelity to the principles of free enterprise.”

So, from all of us here at Powerblanket, thank you, UMA for this great privilege.

 

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.

 

 

Powerblanket Programmable Logic Controllers

As innovative as our industrial heating blankets are on their own, how cool would it be if you could monitor them all from a central location? Well, you can. With the new Powerblanket Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) you can keep track of all your blankets and see exactly what’s going on with each.

 

Logic controllerThese PLCs are the Bee’s Knees

What makes these PLCs so great is the monitoring capability you have with them. A programmable logic controller is an industrial computer control system that continuously monitors the state of input devices and makes decisions based upon a custom program to control the state of output devices. Sounds pretty wow, right? But just in case that was a little too much tech talk for you, here it is in plainer English…

Using Powerblanket PLCs on Powerblanket products simply means that you can monitor and regulate all the temperatures in all your blankets (both the temperature inside the blanket and the temperature on the surface of the blanket). What’s more, you can make needed adjustments on various blankets or various zones of a single blanket too.

However, like all your products, these PLC systems aren’t just a one-size-fits-all solution. They’re entirely scalable. This means you could set your system to measure just one temperature zone, and set it to switch only one blanket based on that temperature. Or you could have your system set to measure 200 temperature zones for 100 different blankets. There’s no upper limit to the number of temperatures or blankets you can monitor and switch with these PLC systems.

Here’s an example of just how helpful these PLCs are. A particular blanket could be set to switch based on a specified internal temperature, so it doesn’t damage itself, while simultaneously, it can be set to maintain a certain surface temperature for curing something like an epoxy resin, for example. You could also set a group of multiple blankets to switch based on a maximum combined temperature or even the average of their temperatures.

 

Control Options

Temperature measurements aren’t the only control options these PLCs are capable of, however. Your blankets can be set to switch based on a schedule. This means you can set the temperature to ramp up to a certain level at a certain rate, then stay there for a certain amount of time, and slowly taper off or shut off completely. This allows you to set your blankets to automatically turn on at a predetermined time in order to prepare your material as needed, before workers arrive, perhaps.

In addition to schedule and temperature controls, you can also set alarms to be triggered if certain conditions are met. For example, if you have power failure, reach a temperature outside of your specified limits, experience circuit shorts, or a number of other similar dilemmas, you can set your blanket to automatically shut off, scale back on temperature, or produce an alarm.

In addition to this, all the data recorded in these protocols can be logged for record keeping or future analysis. The temperature, relay state (blanket on or off), current, voltage, etc. can all be recorded and sorted for your data needs. And all these PLCs can be set up for remote monitoring or remote control.

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.

Winter Preparation: Now’s the Time

As the temperatures around the nation rise into the hundreds, cold-weather preparation may be the furthest thing from your mind. What’s more, there are plenty of warm-weather applications that Powerblanket technology is used for. But we would be completely remiss if we didn’t say enough of proper winter preparation. After all, when it comes to preparing for winter, you don’t want to be a grasshopper…

Aesop’s Fable: The Ant and the Grasshopper

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the old fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper from Aesop. If you’re not (and even if you are) we’ve recited it here. Below follows the most popular English renditions of the story:

“In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

‘Why not come and chat with me,’ said the Grasshopper, ‘instead of toiling and moiling in that way?’

‘I am helping to lay up food for the winter,’ said the Ant, ‘and recommend you to do the same.’

‘Why bother about winter?’ said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present.’ But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

When the winter came, the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew it is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”

Of course, the implications of this story can go far deeper than the need for good winter preparation. But for the sake of comparison, the story’s plot is rather poignant for the industries we serve. When cold weather does hit, it’s best to already have the systems and products you need in place to brave the effects of winter. So if you have assets to cover come late October, now’s the best time to start getting together the protection you’ll need.

Download product catalog

Ground Thawing – What a Concept

Frozen ground can put a damper on many a project. Whether you need to lay concrete or dig to repair a pipe, a stubborn layer of frozen ground can really make for a lot of extra work.

 

 

Thawing Frozen Ground before Summer

Here are a couple scenarios to play through, and there are many more to consider too:

Let’s say you or your construction crew need to dig to repair a pipe, or you need to prep to lay concrete on frozen topsoil. In either case, dealing with frozen ground is certainly not ideal. So what do you do? Well, waiting till the ground thaws in the late spring or early summer probably isn’t an option, and heating the ground with massive coils or large heating systems becomes expensive and cumbersome. Besides all this, this sort of approach takes rental fees, transporting the equipment, and a bit more money than you probably want to dish out.

But what if there was a solution that could prep the ground for you, with little to no effort or supervision on your part. And it’s a solution you can purchase and use every time you need it, since it’s so affordable. Well, Powerblanket has the answer in our patented heating technology.

 

Powerblanket’s Ground Thawing Blankets

With our ground-thawing technology, you can cover the area you need to thaw with a vinyl-encased blanket and leave the rest of it to the patented workings inside. Powerblankets disperse and deliver an even distribution of heat throughout the surface area. That’s why they can be used in applications such as ground thawing.

 

 

-Some Standout Features-

  • High watt density thaws frozen ground fast
  • Quickly remove frost prior to concrete pour
  • Melt snow and ice from roofs, walkways, and construction areas
  • Easily installed and removed
  • Can be used to cure epoxy and resins

See all the details of the Powerblanket® ground thawing blanket by downloading the free product spec sheet!

 

 

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   

 

Cold Weather Concreting – Protection Is Essential

A Concrete Curing Solution 2When pouring concrete in cold weather, protection is critical. Hopefully it’s part of your plan.  You don’t have to take our word for, there’s plenty of documentation substantiating the need for precautionary measures. While some options have proven to be better than others, a few of the more common are as follows:

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

Concrete producers use several methods to help contractors. The three most common methods used my concrete producers are as follows:

  • Cold-weather concrete mix design
  • Chemicals added at the plant
  • Chemicals added on-site

In some situations there is the luxury of project postponement in favor of better climate temperatures.  However, in most cases, schedules and deadlines make it necessary to place concrete in less than favorable conditions. Penalties and fines for not meeting defined schedules can be the difference between a profitable or unprofitable job. In these cases, all factors need to be taken into consideration.  Insuring proper concrete curing while sustaining concrete strength and durability is critical.  Providing a concrete curing solution that enhances the process may be just as important.

As mentioned earlier, there are new methods that make cold-weather concreting less stressful than it’s been in the past.  These methods have improved over time due in large part to improvements in technology.

New technological advancements help in the following ways:

  • Prevent damage as a result of freezing at an early stage of cure
  • The development of sufficient, specified strengths in a timely fashion
  • Insure durability and long-term structural integrity
  • Keeps projects on schedules

Don’t wait till the last minute to choose a proper heating solution. The parameters and objectives of each project should drive your decision for a cold-weather concreting solution.  Each solution in turn should be evaluated on the merits of the benefits they provide.  The selection of a proper solution can enhance the placement and curing process.

Learn More

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 Does Construction Benefit from Heating Solutions in Cold Weather?

Regulations on Diesel Affect Mining, Construction, and Agriculture 2Cold climate and winter conditions often pose challenges for construction projects of all kinds. Precautions should be taken in an effort to prepare and plan for such conditions. Think about the heating solutions that can combat the cold. Here are some benefits from addressing these issues during the planning stages of any project:

  • Eliminate or reduce costly down time
  • Keep the project on schedule
  • Reduce labor charges
  • Eliminate the need to employ non-budgeted services to provide necessary relief
  • Avoid fines / penalties associated with non-compliance to schedules and completion dates
  • Provides a safe work environment
  • Protect temperature-sensitive materials

Cold-climate conditions have an effect on applications across multiple industry segments. A few of these would include:

  • General Construction
  • Concrete Construction
  • Oil & Gas Production & Services
  • Railroad
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Food Processing

In order to emphasize this point let’s take a look at just a few examples.

Concrete Construction: The issue of placing concrete in winter has standards and regulations that address the specific need for providing a heating solution. The American Concrete Institute specifically addresses the issue of Cold Weather Concreting in its Committee 306. While it does not go to the extent of describing the type of winterization process be utilized it does address this critical need. There are several common methods and processes, each with its own benefits. Among these are:

  • Glycol / Hydronic Systems
  • Forced Air Heaters
  • Chemical Additives
  • Poly Cover
  • Standard Insulating Blankets
  • Electrically-Powered Curing Blankets

Among the benefits derived from winterization process in this concrete construction example:

  • Ability to continue to place/pour concrete in cold weather
  • Achieve acceptable PSI levels within specified time frame
  • Meet critical deadlines / schedules
  • Maintain structural integrity of concrete
  • Meet or exceed specification requirements

Oil & Gas Production and Services: There are plenty of examples to go around here. The importance of continued production is of paramount importance to the producers and service providers alike. Downtime and lack of production can cost tens of thousands of dollars on a daily basis. The additional costs associated with outside service providers to get a project back on line can also be prohibitive. These issues can impact the process at any level: drilling, pumping, pipeline product transfer/flow, hydraulic fracturing, back flow, completion, etc. Those costs can ultimately end up being passed on to the consumer of the respective commodity.

Some of the alternative sources of heating solution and freeze protection are:

  • Conventional Heat Trace & Insulation
  • Steam / SteamTruck
  • Hot Oilers
  • Glycol
  • Propane
  • Insulation of tanks/vessels
  • Electrically-Powered Heating Blankets

Among the benefits associated with heating and freeze protecting processes associated with Oil & Gas:

  • Maintain acceptable production rates
  • Sustain pipeline flow
  • Prevent costly downtimes
  • Protect tank contents

Freeze protect water, fluids, chemicals stored in tanks

Finally, address the cold climate and harsh environmental conditions early in the pre-construction phase. There are options and alternatives available for the right heating solution for each situation. Perform the due diligence and make your determination based on that which provides the optimum result for your given project.

How Does Heat Help Cure Precast Concrete?

precast concrete manhole baseThe precast concrete industry, much of which focuses on custom projects and applications, adheres to a strict standard of quality controls for production purposes. These quality controls include paying close attention to the raw materials such as sand, cement, aggregates, chemicals (if needed) and water used in the process and development of the proper mix design. All of the quality control measures taken and all the attention paid to the details and standards set forth by National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) would be rendered somewhat meaningless if proper curing procedures and techniques were not followed closely.

There is a growing pattern and demand for higher compressive strengths and being able to realize those PSI ratings in a shorter curing cycle time. While these issues can challenge production at any time it is particularly challenging during periods of the year when cold weather becomes a factor. Common problems encountered during the cold-climate times of the year can include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Potential freezing in the early stages of placement
  • Inability to achieve required compressive strengths within a specified period of time
  • Improper curing procedures
  • Frequent and /or rapid temperature change

One of the more critical elements in the curing process is moisture retention. The evaporation rate of this moisture needs to be controlled as well as possible and cold weather is an unacceptable excuse or reason for delaying production.  Cycle time can obviously take longer during periods of cold weather and we all know that time is money. In situations where the ambient temperature slows both the evaporation rate and thus the curing time utilizing heat in conjunction with moisture curing has proven to be a successful solution to the problem. I can site an example where the use of electrically powered heating blankets which provided an even distribution of heat also critical to the successful accomplishment of proper cure and compressive strength reduced the cycle time by as much 33 percent.

Two of the most common and conventional means of providing heat in a precast operation during initial cure are steam and hot air. While effective during the “initial” curing stage, neither method is recommended once the concrete slab has attained its “initial” set. The use of an electrically powered heating solution can provide several benefits:

  • Freeze protection
  • Sustainability of acceptable temperatures to enhance cure
  • Accelerate the achievement of specified compressive strength levels while preventing rapid temperature fluctuations during the curing cycle

I encourage you to understanding the factors that impact precast concrete production and general concrete construction in cold-weather and the standards to which you are looking and needing to adhere to.

Can Industrial Heating Blankets Thaw Frozen Ground?

Yes. Industrial heating blankets can be used for various purposes. Many industries utilize electric heating blankets for different purposes and solutions.  

When working under a time constraint and having hard, dense soil, it can be cumbersome trying to dig and make any sort of progress. By adding an industrial heating blanket to the surface of the frozen soil, it slowly, but surely, begins to thaw and soften the ground beneath it. The longer you let this process continue, the more drastic the results and the ground will become more workable.

Can Electrically Heated Concrete Blankets be Used for Other Purposes?

Powerblanket Concrete Curing BlanketYes. Electrically heated concrete blankets serve more than one purpose, especially in flatwork / concrete and general construction. Examples include:

  • curing concrete
  • thawing ground to protecting temperature-sensitive materials
  • preheating surfaces prior to concrete, coating, epoxy, sealer, or material placement
  • pre-heating and curing on the same project
  • pre-heating a deck prior to concrete placement
  • protecting sub-grades and surfaces from frost prior to pour
  • Accelerating cure times and PSI levels critical to reducing downtime and meeting scheduled deadlines

It may be more appropriate to refer to these types of products as “heating solutions” instead of “blankets” to not confuse them with the common insulating blankets. These do not generate any heat themselves and rely on other sources of heat to make them a viable option.

3 things to look for in an electrically heated concrete blanket that can be used for other purposes:

  1. A product that generates heat but also distributes the heat evenly and efficiently
  2. A product that provides the right insulation so the heat generated is not lost
  3. A solution provider that supplies custom electrically heated blankets so your problem is solved

Tags: concrete blankets, electric concrete blankets

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.

Keeping You in Business

Powerblanket® solves your heating problems. Our patented GreenHeat technology eliminates worry and saves time by allowing you to adjust and maintain the ideal temperature for your product.

Our products are excellent for curing concrete, thawing frozen pipes, and keeping what you need at the temperature you need it.  Need custom work? Powerblanket can make a product specifically for your heating needs in as little as 14 business days.

Business owners and homeowners alike have benefitted from using Powerblanket products in a wide variety of conditions for numerous purposes.

Erik Kramer, CEO of Kramer & Son Roofing and Sheet Metal used Powerblanket products to make his business more profitable:

We rely on the Powerblanket products to keep our company and men working…Before using them we had no choice but to shut the jobs down for months. As you can image, this affects all aspects of our business. The Powerblanket flat blankets allow us to keep our operation up and running year round….

Don’t let your productivity or convenience be limited by seasonal weather. Let Powerblanket help you control your surroundings.

 

 

14-Day Turnaround for Custom Freeze Protection

Custom Heated Blankets14-Day Turnaround for Custom Freeze Protection and Heat Maintenance Solutions

SALT LAKE CITY — Powerblanket® engineers and manufactures custom products in as little as 14 days to protect products from freezing and to maintain a constant temperature.

“Our patented technology allows us to turnaround custom projects in as little as 14 days,” said Ryan Mecham, Chief Operating Officer. “The benefits of customizing a solution really helps our customers.”

Powerblanket® Custom blankets carry a safety certification for hazardous locations (CID2 T4) and UL/CSA/CE. These safety certifications enable Powerblanket® to handle almost every heating need.

“This specialized certification allows us to serve our customers even better now that we have custom-built blankets with this hazardous location CID2 T4 certification,” said Joel Fillion, Vice President of Engineering. “We strive to create products that will exceed our customers’ needs, and I think we’ve done that with these customizable blankets.”

GreenHeat® Technology is a revolutionary heat spreading system that is designed to provide a highly efficient and uniform distribution of heat while only consuming low levels of energy.

For more information about custom heating solutions, visit powerblanket.com/custom.

Powerblanket® engineers provide superior freeze protection and heat maintenance solutions for a multitude of applications, including industrial and manufacturing temperature control, ground thawing, concrete curing, oil-field services and many more. For more information, contact Powerblanket®, call 877.398.7407 in the U.S. or 403.262.5770 in Canada, send an e-mail to
[email protected], or visit the company’s website at powerblanket.com.

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How Powerblanket Technology Works

How Powerblanket Technology WorksPowerblanket® uses heated blankets to keep keep industrial materials within spec, help concrete cure in less time, thaw frozen ground quickly, and much more. Most heating solutions are riddled with hot and cold spots that waste energy and can put your project at risk. What makes us different is that we use our patented GreenHeat® technology to spread heat evenly throughout the surface of the heating products. This eliminates hot and cold spots, conserving energy and ensuring your temperature specific product is kept to spec. To help show why our heating products work so much better than our competitors, we broke everything down to a simple graphic.