Frozen Ground and the Frost Line: How and Why it Freezes

How Deep Does the Ground Freeze in Winter?

Ground frost occurs when the ground contains water, and the temperature of the ground goes below 0° C (32° F). More than half of all the land in the Northern Hemisphere freezes and thaws every year, and is called seasonally frozen ground. One-fourth of the land in the Northern Hemisphere has an underground layer that stays frozen all year long. If the ground remains frozen for at least 2 years in a row it is called permafrost

What causes ground frost?

When ground is frozen solid, the water between the rocks, soil, and pebbles, and even inside the rocks, has frozen and becomes pore ice. So officially, the ground freezes when the water in the ground becomes ice.

Frost Depth

Frost Depth (or the frost line) is the deepest point to which ground water will freeze. Frost depths vary depending upon the frost line in each location and can have a great impact on many construction practices. For example, any crews digging to access utility lines or preparing ground for a concrete pour will need to be aware of their local frost depth.

When ground water freezes its volume expands by 9%. For this reason, pressure sensitive structures, such as water and sewer lines, need to be buried below the frost depth to avoid ruptures. When water turns into ice, it can expand with great force and cause the ground to swell. In areas with a cold winter season ground frost can damage roads. For example, water turning to ice under roads sometime creates frost heave. The expanding ice pushes up the road and creates a hump, which later, after a thaw, will create potholes  and sunken sections in a roadway.

The frost line varies depending on the length of time the air is cold. The longer the cold period, the deeper the ground will freeze. But the depth of frozen ground is limited, because Earth is warm deep inside.

What Affects the Frost Line?

Most of Earth’s heat comes from the Sun (Figure 1). The ground stores a lot of the Sun’s heat and reflects the rest into the air. Snow and ice are light colored and reflect more heat away. Ocean water and bare ground reflect less heat, instead absorbing it. This transfer of heat between the ground and the air is called the surface energy flux.

energy balance diagram

Figure 1. This diagram shows how the Earth’s atmosphere and the ground reflects and absorbs the Sun’s energy.

Credit: NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center

Heat is also coming from the inside of the Earth. The Earth’s core is very hot, and its heat moves towards the surface. Heat from volcanoes, rivers, lakes, and other sources can also spread through the ground. This heat keeps some areas unfrozen, even though surface temperatures are low.

In general, deeper permafrost is very old. One researcher found that the deepest part of the permafrost underneath Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, is more than 500,000 years old.

The Temperature Gradient

When the temperature of the ground drops below 0° C (32° F), it freezes; however, the ground temperature can be different from the temperature of the air above it. This temperature gradient means that layers deep within the ground may be colder or warmer than layers near the surface.

The top layer of ground may respond to conditions on the surface, but the layers below may not change as quickly. On a warm summer day, the surface of the ground absorbs heat and becomes hotter than the air. But the temperature a few feet underground may be much lower than the air. It is the opposite in the winter; the surface of the ground cools, but the layer deep underground may stay warmer than the surface. The upper layer of ground stops heat from moving between the cold air and the deeper layers of the ground, insulating itself.

How does the local landscape affect ground frost?

Ground frost is affected by more than just temperature swings, seasonal changes, and location. Snow, soil, plants, and other aspects of the local landscape also affect frozen ground.

Snow

A thick layer of snow acts like a blanket so that heat does not leave the ground. Only a thin layer of ground will freeze under a thick layer of snow.

Soil type

Some soils freeze more easily than others. Light-colored soils freeze sooner and stay frozen longer than dark soils. Light-colored soils and rocks reflect sunlight, keeping the ground cooler. Loose soils like sand have more space for water and ice forms more easily. Dense soils with small particles do not have as much space for water. Clay, for example, does not freeze as easily as sand.

Peat

Peat forms when dead plants do not fully decompose. The ground under peat is usually colder than ground not covered by a peat layer.  In the winter, peat freezes and allows heat to leave the ground. Because the heat escapes, more frozen ground and permafrost form.

Plants

In the summer, plants keep the soil underneath them cooler because they block some sunlight from reaching the ground. Evergreen trees especially keep the ground cooler. Evergreen trees do not lose their leaves in the winter. This means that the trees block sunlight from warming the ground. Plus, their branches block snow from reaching the ground underneath. The bare ground loses heat more easily. Permafrost often forms under evergreen trees.

Slopes

Hillsides and mountain slopes can affect frozen ground and permafrost. If a slope gets more sunlight because of the way it faces, the ground will be warmer and will be less likely to freeze. In the Northern Hemisphere, slopes that face south, towards the Sun, get more sunlight than shady slopes that face north. The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere.

Steep slopes are likely to contain frozen ground. The steepness of the slope affects how much sunlight it gets. Steep slopes do not get as much direct sunlight, so they are colder. Steep slopes do not hold snow cover very well, so the bare ground loses more heat. Wind direction also affects whether frozen ground forms. If a slope faces into the wind, the ground will lose more heat. Plus, the wind will blow snow away making the ground even colder.

Lakes and rivers

Lakes and rivers are sources of heat in cold places. The water is warmer than the surrounding air and can keep the ground beneath it warmer in the winter. Lakes and rivers might not have frozen ground under them. Or, they might have a thicker active layer compared to nearby land.

Powerblanket Ground Frost Solutions

“Your blankets are absolutely excellent. Thanks to the Powerblankets, 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 to our thousands of sites, the savings is huge! We are excited about the time and money Powerblanket has saved us and look forward to future savings.”

— Kim Herman OSP/COEI Operations Manager Precision Utilities Group

The frost line is a reality many industrial companies must face.  The high watt density in Powerblanket ground thawing products helps tackle the difficulty of thawing ground in harsh climates.  Use a Powerblanket ground heater to save time, money, and stress.  

frozen ground being thawed

 

Insulated Band Heaters vs. Traditional Band Heaters

If you’ve dealt with traditional band heaters, then perhaps you have some reservations regarding the usefulness, efficiency, and safety of such a solution. If you’ve never heard of insulated band heaters, then you’re in for a treat. Here we compare the two to see who comes out on top.

Insulated band heatersClash of the Titans

In one corner we have the long-standing, often-used traditional band heater, and in the other corner, we have the heavy-hitting, highly efficient insulated band heater. Let’s start with comparing maximum temperatures. Traditional band heaters can heat as high as 400° F, insulated band heaters, well, they can too. Here’s what that looks like:

Traditional Band Heater Insulated Band Heater
Heats as high as 400° F Heats as high as 400° F

Traditional Band Heaters: 1 pt.

Insulated Band Heaters: 1 pt.

Next, we look at heating efficiency. Traditional band heaters use anywhere from 600-1200 watts of electricity to heat the material inside a barrel or drum. What’s more, a good portion of this is wasted as heat is lost to the air around the heater. Insulated band heaters, on the other hand, don’t lose as much energy to their surroundings. With insulated band heaters, much more heat is channeled into the product, and much less into the thin air.

Traditional Band Heater Insulated Band Heater
Wastes a lot of energy Delivers energy to the load

Traditional Band Heaters: -1 pt.

Insulated Band Heaters: 2 pt.

And finally, when it comes to that most important topic of safety, insulated band heaters win out here too. Traditional band heaters can be extremely hazardous. Since they’re heating as high as 400° F, this means their non-insulated, external temperature is about the same. Essentially, you have a belted band of silicone wrapped around your drum or barrel that is as hot as 400° on the surface. If something touches this on accident, it could mean fire or third-degree burns. Insulated band heaters are a lot safer. Since they’re insulated, the surface that is exposed to the user  is safe to touch.

Traditional Band Heater Insulated Band Heater
Hazardous (fire hazard and burn hazard) Safe to touch when installed and running

Traditional Band Heaters: -1 pt.

Insulated Band Heaters: 2 pt.

So this puts the final score of the comparison at…

Traditional Band Heater Insulated Band Heater
Heats as high as 400° F (1 pt.) Heats as high as 400° F (1 pt.)
Wastes a lot of energy (-1 pt.) Delivers energy to the load (2 pts.)
Fire and burn hazard (-1 pt.) Safe to touch when installed and running. (2 pts.)

Traditional Band Heaters: -1 pt.

Insulated Band Heaters: 5 pts.

We have a winner!

Insulated Heating Blankets viscosity maintenance heated blanket

Insulated band heaters have served the needs of businesses operating in cold environments for years. The same technology that makes insulated band heaters so effective has been duplicated and improved in Powerblanket’s insulated heating blankets. Unlike a band heater, heating blankets offer full coverage over barrels and other containers, spreading even heat throughout the coverage area.

At first appearance, band heaters and heating blankets don’t seem to be too different. Both have their similarities, such as conserving energy to prevent waste heat by delivering energy to the load. Both also are safe to the touch.

However, heating blankets are a massive upgrade from band heaters. Unlike the “one size fits all” mentality of a band heater, heating blankets come in different sizes to adequately provide protection against the elements specific to your situation. These sizing options take away the worry of scorching or burning sensitive material and maintain optimal viscosity. If the choice arises to choose between a band heater and a heating blanket, choose the heating blanket to get the best in flow control solutions.

Powerblanket provides the highest quality of insulated blanket heaters on the market. Contact us for more information at 855.972.2314 or at [email protected]

Roofing in Winter

Off Season Roofing

Late spring, summer, and early fall are the common seasons for roof construction and repairs. However some clients choose to take advantage of lower prices and embark on roofing projects during the winter. Winter roofing requires extra planning, precautions, and preventative measures to make sure the build is successful.

Roof with ice and gutter

Pros of Winter Roofing

Stop Heat Leaks

For anyone who has ever opened a shockingly huge heating bill, you know how costly heat leaks can be. Heat rises and will escape through any cracks or gaps in your roofing. Repairing these leaks will not only protect you from water damage, but also save you money during the winter.

Less Expensive

Most roofing crews assume that work will slow or stop completely during the winter. As a result, some roofers offer off season prices to keep their crews working during the winter. They also tend to have more open schedules than they do during the warm season, so booking jobs can be more straightforward.

Winter Roofing Precautions

Larger Crews

Timing construction projects during the winter can be tricky. Roofing crews need to work fast to make the most of shorter daylight hours and take advantage of any dry weather spells. Typically, this requires more hands on deck in order to churn out tasks in a matter of hours instead of days.

Ice and Snow Removal

Removing snow and ice from a roof can be a very dangerous endeavor. However sometimes emergency repairs cannot be postponed until spring time. Before any roof inspections can be conducted prior to a roofing job, snow and ice must be removed. Use a professional roof clearing service to ensure it is removed safely. Some ice melt chemicals damage roofing materials, so be sure to use ice removal products that are designed for roofs.

Warm Your Adhesives

Most roofing materials require adhesives that need warm weather (or an artificial heat source) to cure and fasten. During the warmer months, radiation from the sun would soften the adhesive, allowing it to seal the shingles together properly. Colder than 70° F and the glue stays too viscous, leading to weathering and erosion. Installing a roof in the winter, without the proper precautions, will lead it to fail quickly, if not immediately.

When solar radiation is weak, like during winter months, alternative heating sources are needed to keep adhesives warm and workable. Bulk material warmers, bucket warmers, and barrel heating jackets can be applied to adhesive containers to keep their viscosity low and your productivity high.

Powerblanket diagram showing the affect of temperature on fluid viscosity

Bundle Your Shingles

Keeping your shingles bundled and warm protects them up until they are ready to install. Under extreme cold, most materials become brittle and harder to work with. Make sure to follow the manufacturers stacking instructions so they are stored properly to avoid breakage.

Protect Your Tools

As temperatures drop, pressure controlled tools lose functionality.  Nail guns and air compressors cannot achieve the pressure needed to reach velocity.  Storing your hoses and compressors in a warm environment will increase their usability and help you work faster during dry periods. Warm storage also prevents ice from building up inside your hose lines. Switching to a lighter winter grade oil during will also help your compression tools work more efficiently during cold weather.

Watch Your Nails

Under driving nails during the winter can be a real problem. Ice buildup and frozen adhesives can impede proper nail driving. Under-performing compressors also cannot generate the force necessary for nails to penetrate. Warming your tools, shingles, and adhesives will help ensure your nails are properly driven and that the roof is secure.

Be Aware of Warranties

Some roofing materials, have strict temperature requirements when used under cold weather conditions. For example, most asphalt shingle manufacturers require that a specialized adhesive be  applied by hand to each shingle for temperatures below 40° Fahrenheit (4° Celsius). The manufacturer will void any warranty if the specialized adhesive is not used during shingle applications below 40° F. Cold climates not only effect the adhesive, but also cause the actual shingles to become less flexible and are more likely to break if dropped.winter roofing temperature guide any weather roofing

EPDM (rubber) membrane roofing is even more sensitive to its environment than asphalt shingles. Like a composition roof, EPDM requires warm temperatures to soften the adhesive needed for curing. Even at high temperatures EPDM can be difficult to work with because it is so thick. As a result, manufacturers recommend it be higher than 45° Fahrenheit (7° Celsius) to install EPDM. When external temperatures fall below this mark, warm storage areas are necessary in order to keep the adhesive pliable until it is used.

THINK INSIDE THE BOX 

Roofing materials come in a wide variety of container shapes and sizes. How do you keep stacks of shingles, and drums, or barrels of adhesive warm all at the same time? Electric pallet warmers can be a very versatile warming option for materials of all shapes and sizes.

Bulk material warmer from Powerblanket

Powerblanket Winter Roofing Solutions

Pallet Warmers

Powerblanket has a solution for your winter roofing needs. The Powerblanket Hot Box will maintain the desired temperature of your shingles and/or adhesive on site, making the winter install much easier. While roofing in winter isn’t ideal, Powerblanket makes it much easier than it has been in the past.

Powerblanket Hot Boxes save you money by keeping your products from freezing without the risk of overheating. Hot boxes are ideal for cold weather 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. The Hot Box pallet warmer can be easily assembled, taken apart, and reassembled. This is useful for contractors that need to easily move the box to different job sites.

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

Bucket and Drum Heaters

For smaller jobs, specially designed bucket and drum heaters can keep individual containers of adhesives warm. They are portable, easy to install and remove and provide direct even heating that eliminates hot and cold spots.

Powerblanket can help you with cold weather construction solutions, and keep your crews on schedule. Contact Powerblanket to find the perfect solution for your winter roofing needs 888.316.6324 or [email protected]

How to Combat Rising Construction Overhead Costs

With construction overhead 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 to learn more about how 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:

Manage Your Inventory Wisely

Regularly manage your inventory during prosperous time and recessive times. Pay close attention to the materials required for a specific project. Avoid over purchasing materials that are not returnable to the manufacturer. Making sure you aren’t maintaining a supply surplus is one very effective and simple way to nip over-spending in the bud. When you are saving and storing materials for future jobs, ensure they are stored properly especially during periods of hot and cold weather.

Take Control of Your Overhead

Overhead expenses are the accumulative business expenses that keep your construction company operating. The construction industry divides these expenses into 2 categories: General (indirect) overhead, and Job (direct) overhead.

Indirect Overhead

General or indirect overhead refers to expenses that are ongoing and not related to a specific project. It can include: office rental space, utilities, insurance, business taxes, etc. Divide and proportionally share these costs across all projects depending on their size. If you complete a project representing 25% of your yearly business, then 25% of your general overhead can be applied to that invoice.

Direct Overhead

Job or direct overhead refers to expenses that are unique and required for a specific project. These expenses can include: project specific salaries, temporary structures, equipment purchased or rented for a specific project, temporary sanitation facilities, inspection fees, etc. Apply these costs directly to that project’s invoice instead of sharing or dividing them across multiple projects.

Contractors sometimes buy or rent heating and cooling equipment needed to get a job done. These weather related expenses typically fall under the direct overhead category. For example, any snow and ice removal costs would be applied to the direct overhead costs for a specific project.

Focus on What Makes the Most Profit

When business gets tight, it makes sense to focus your efforts at what you do best. Identify  where you are likely to make the highest profit margin and re-focus your attention. Manage your employee assignments accordingly to make sure your workers are putting in the most hours where it really matters. 

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. Consider investing in marketing materials such as signage and vehicle decals to increase your visibility in the community. Offer incentives to your clients for referrals and capitalize on the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Photograph and document your work so you can build up a shareable portfolio. Network with other trusted contractors and sub-contractors for collaboration on future projects.

Protect Your Assets and Capital

One surefire way to go out of business is being careless with the materials that help you make your living. If you’re in the concrete business, for example, you need to make certain your precious concrete isn’t wasted or ruined. Look closely at your waste generation and where you can stem the flow. How often are you repairing or replacing damaged equipment? How many building materials are being thrown away after being improperly stored? Does your waste increase during times of hot or cold weather? Investing in temperature control products to protect your equipment and materials will prevent waste, save you money, and help you finish jobs on time.

Powerblanket® Can Help

Thankfully, Powerblanket® has cold weather construction solutions to help you manage your assets during the good times and the bad. We specialize in total temperature control that ensures your precious profit-enabling materials are safe from the elements. If you can build it, haul it, or store it…we can heat it. Contact us to help you find the right construction solutions for your needs 855.901.3105 or [email protected]

 

Concrete Curing Blankets

Cold Weather Concreting

Imagine arriving at the job to find a fresh layer of ice and snow on your pour site. The weather forecast shows continual sub-freezing temperatures, and you are worried about getting the concrete stage done so your crew can keep the project on schedule. Even if you manage to successfully pour your slab, what will the end result be? It will take forever to cure, or not finish curing at all. The result may be a fragile, partially cured piece of concrete, riddled with defects from thermal stress.

It’s no secret that curing concrete in cold weather is a tricky endeavor. Mother nature can catch even the best trained crew off guard during the winter, and cause costly construction delays.

Conventional Concrete Warming Products

To avoid completely shutting down work during the winter, some construction crews turn to conventional concrete warming products and practices.

Insulation

Concrete hydration is an exothermic process and does create some heat. This heat can be trapped (to some degree) with the use of insulating blankets or straw. However, when pouring concrete in cold weather, providing thermal insulation is only half the battle. Insulation alone does not create heat and will not provide enough surface contact to effectively trap heat on really cold days.

Forced Air Heaters

Some crews build temporary enclosures over their pour site and use heaters to force hot air over the slab. This radiant heating method spends more time and energy heating the air around the concrete instead of heating the concrete itself. During the winter, a lot of heat can also be lost through the bottom layer of the slab into the sub-grade. This uneven heat will cause the top layer of concrete to cure much faster than the bottom, leading to shrinkage and a weak cure.

Calcium Chloride

Using accelerators, like calcium chloride, in your concrete mix is a two edged sword. It can certainly reduce winter cure times, but it also contributes to a variety of defects. Calcium chloride can cause corrosion of steel reinforcements in your concrete. It can also increase volume shrinkage, scaling, efflorescence, and discoloration.

Electric Concrete Curing Blankets

When you combine heating power with the protection of insulation, a world of possibilities opens on your job site. Not all blankets are created equal, and Powerblanket’s concrete blankets are a cut above the rest. We specialize in total temperature control that gets you and your crew back to work.

How Powerblanket Products Work

Heat Transfer Through Conduction

Powerblanket saves you time, energy, and money by putting the heat precisely where it is needed. By simply placing down our concrete curing blankets, you are harnessing the power of conduction and heating your concrete directly. Fresh concrete must stay above 50°F for 48 hours in order to hydrate and cure to a strong finish. Direct conductive heat gives you peace of mind and takes the hassle out of curing temperature maintenance.

Powerblanket diagram on heat transfer in concrete curing blankets

More Surface Area Contact

During wet, windy, and cold winter conditions, surface contact between your heat source and your concrete is critical. Our concrete curing blankets have 10x more surface contact than other blankets. More surface contact means even and controlled heating so your concrete cures uniformly.

Weather Proof Insulation

Powerblanket diagram showing even heating in our concrete curing blankets

Simply put, thermal insulation reduces the transfer of heat between objects. Our heavy duty, weather-proof insulation provides a protective barrier from the elements and reduces heat loss. Our insulation doesn’t just trap the exothermic heat generated by the hydration process. We combine insulation with efficient heating elements to direct heat downward right into your concrete slab instead of losing it to the winter air.

Powerblanket Benefits

 

Powerblanket infographic showing the benefits of concrete curing blankets

Faster Cure

Winter conditions notoriously slow down or sometimes stop concrete from curing. Our concrete curing blankets cure 2.8x faster than conventional insulated blankets. Faster cure times allow your crew to move on to the next building stage and help your project finish on schedule.

Maintain Moisture During Hydrating Process

Moisture loss during hydration weakens the cure of your concrete. Our blankets protect your slab from the elements during the hydration process and allow the necessary chemical reactions to finish.

Easy to Install and Remove

Forget bulky heaters, finicky straw, and time consuming enclosures. Simply place our concrete blankets down and let them do the work for you. They are easy to remove and store for future needs so they can continue to save you time and money down the road.

Stronger Cure

Powerblanket ensures your concrete is durable and built to last. By using our concrete curing blankets you can produce a 3,925 psi rating in just 72 hours.

Prevent a Freeze Cycle

Freezing during the early stages of curing can greatly reduce the integrity of the concrete by as much as 40%. 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 damaging freeze-thaw cycles during curing.

Reduce Downtime and Increase Profits

Fewer tasks hold up a construction site like concrete troubles. Save yourself from expensive repairs and re-pours by having the right temperature control products on hand before disaster strikes. Curing your concrete quickly and strongly allows your crew to meet deadlines and move onto the next building stage.

Thaw Ground and Warm Sub-grade

Our concrete blankets can serve multiple purposes on your site. By placing them down before a pour, you can thaw frozen ground and heat your sub-grade. This not only protects your concrete from losing heat into the ground it also reduces thermal cracking that occurs when warm concrete is poured directly onto a frigid surface.

ACI Certified

We are dedicated to providing high quality and reliable concrete solutions and all of our concrete blankets are cold weather certified by the American Concrete Institute.

Powerblanket Guarantee

With total temperature control from Powerblanket, there is no off season. We keep your crew working and your job site productive all winter long. Contact us to find the right concrete solution for your needs at 866.945.4203 or [email protected]

Cold Weather Construction Safety

Cold Weather Safety for Construction

The construction industry is a high risk industry, regardless of the time of year. But when cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind are added to the mix, precautions must be in place to protect your workforce, equipment, materials, and the job.

Preparing and educating your employees on cold weather winter safety best practices can reduce the rate of illness, injury, and dangerous accidents. Always emphasize “safety first.”

Winter Construction Safety Tips

For trade specific guidelines on how to keep your crew and job site safe visit OSHA to start winter off on the right foot.

Know the forecast

Pay attention to changing weather conditions. Today we enjoy the benefit of real time updates on our phones and computers. Sign up for weather alert notifications so you can stay updated out in the field. When the weather outside is unsuitable for outside work, reschedule.  

Limit exposure to the elements

Wind chill can take an existing temperature from workable to downright miserable.  And when wind and low temperatures are combined, it can be hard to reduce exposure for workers. Your employees were not made to be outdoors in these elements for long periods of time. Shorten the duration of outside work and break up larger projects into smaller tasks. Educate yourself on early and late symptoms of hypothermia so you can keep a watchful eye on your crew. Keep a lookout for excessive shivering, fatigue, coordination loss, and disorientation. Have a plan in place to quickly warm and dry anyone exhibiting these symptoms. 

Establish a warm break area

Outside work is absolutely unavoidable for the construction industry, but workers need a place away from the elements to take a break. A heated trailer or a tent with portable heaters and appropriate ventilation works great. Educate supervisors and workers on proper safety procedures with heating devices.

Emphasize proper hydration

We forget that our bodies sweat, even when it is cold outside, and especially when we are wearing extra layers of clothing. Keep plenty of water on hand.  While many workers think caffeinated drinks will get them through their day, water is what the body really needs.

Require clothing that will keep workers warm and dry

Boots with non-slip soles, heavy coats, gloves, and hats are all essential for protecting the body from severe cold weather. Proper clothing is the first step in preventing hypothermia and frostbite and for cold weather protection.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia

Even when employers do everything they can to protect workers, issues can still arise. Supervisors and workers need to know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite so that if anyone shows these signs, they can receive immediate medical attention.

Remove Snow and Ice

Check the job site early each day, before the work begins, for snow and ice accumulation and for any additional hazards. Be prepared with salt or sand and remove large patches of snow and ice. Snow and ice removal, if left to the crew, will slow down the job and deplete their energy.

Winterize and prepare vehicles

Before heading into the cold season, inspected all vehicles and equipment to determine if they are prepared for cold weather construction. Top off fluids, check tire tread and air pressure, and change filters. Equip all vehicles with winter kits that contain an ice scraper, snow brush, shovel, tow chain, flashlight with extra batteries, emergency flares, a blanket, snacks and water. Also, educate workers on what to do and who to call if they are stranded in a vehicle.

Prepare and protect equipment

In addition to preparing vehicles for winter safety, smaller construction equipment also needs attention. Air compressors work best in well-ventilated areas with an ambient temperature in the compressor system’s optimal range, typically 40-95°F. If the temperature around your compressor becomes too hot or too cold, the compressor may not start or may exhibit performance issues. Moisture control also becomes a factor.  Moisture that becomes ice can accumulate and affect the way the system runs, blocking drainage and preventing efficient compression.

Protect Critical Materials

Adhesives, concrete, shingles, paint, caulk, resins, epoxies, and other construction materials need additional protection during cold weather construction. Winter safety also includes keeping these materials at proper temperatures for application. Failing to protect critical materials could result in shoddy work that affects the overall finished product.  

protect critical construction materials

Powerblanket Winter Construction Solutions

We know that shutting down for the “off season” is a financially risky proposition. With Powerblanket, there is no off season. We specialize in providing winter construction crews with the tools they need to get back to work.

bulk material warmers

Hot boxes are ideal for cold weather construction safety, 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) –optional adjustable thermostatic controllers allow precise temperature control. They are quick and easy to assemble and transport from job site to job site. Heat and protect a wide variety of container shapes and sizes. Access doors on 2 sides provide you with easy access to your materials whenever you need them. 

Powerblanket enables construction crews to take back control during the winter and get back on schedule. Protect expensive equipment, reduce wintertime waste, keep your workers safe, and keep operations running with Powerblanket. We also specialize in custom requests and quickly assess your needs and find the perfect temperature control products for you. Contact us to find winter construction solutions for your needs 855.385.8516 or [email protected]

 

Heat Trace: What You Should Know

When you think of the phrase “heat trace” or “heat tape,” what images come to your mind? Perhaps you haven’t ever heard of these terms before, but chances are it’s all around you: underfloor heating, heated driveways, soil warming, and reducing condensation on windowsills. All of these are just a few of the ways heat trace, or trace heating, is an essential part of keeping the cold out. 

When it comes to heated pipes for protection against the ruthless cold of winter, trace heating is the system by which the warmth you need for your pipes flows. Trace heating is minimally invasive and requires little maintenance, making it a good long-term solution for heating that virtually pays for itself. 

Understanding How Trace Heating Works

Trace heating does just as its name implies: an electrical surface or wiring is linked to some other surface (whether it be a pipe, flooring, etc) and traces its way along that surface’s path. This, in turn, provides and maintains heat where it’s most needed. 

Steam Heat Trace

Trace heating is sometimes accomplished by steam, where pipes containing low pressure steam run along pipes of liquid that need to be heated. The system can be burdensome, requiring the steam heat trace to be connected to a boiler that keeps up a steady supply of steam. However, steam trace heating is preferred when certain parts of a manufacturing facility are deemed unsafe for electrical use.

Insulating Heat Trace

To maintain consistent temperature levels, thermal insulation is wrapped around both the supplier of heat and the recipient of heat to ensure stable, permanent warmth. The apparatuses involved with heat trace (also known as heat tape) can vary in size and surface area, depending on the physical dimensions of the application.

What Are the Benefits of Heat Trace?

Think of the value of trace heating as twofold—accommodating functionality and increasing throughput. While its prime purpose is to protect and insulate against undesired temperature invasions from the elements (i.e. keeping substances flowing that can solidify or slow in cold temperatures), thus accommodating functionality, it can also be utilized to increase the efficiency of operations. For example, heat trace can drastically improve the throughput of gas transportation and extraction by increasing tank and pipe pressure—being that gas slows as it cools. This additional heat increases the speed that gas is transported through piping. 

There are few disadvantages of trace heating, one of which is when the environment needing to be heated is unsafe for electrical equipment. As stated above, these situations require steam trace heating. The other disadvantage is when heat trace equipment is not being properly monitored, resulting in overheating and possible fire hazards.

Trace Heating in Cold Environments

Trace heating is essential for cold climates, whether its use is in a low temperature laboratory or out on your driveway. The chance that a pipe might freeze up or a walkway ices over, resulting in disastrous circumstances that cost money and time, are too risky to overlook. For that reason, heat trace technology is found in many products that help counter low temperatures.

Control Heat Through Powerblanket

Drawing upon the fundamentals of heat trace, Powerblanket uses a patented blend of technologies as a highly efficient and less expensive means of distributing heat evenly over the surface of any application. In addition, Beacon control systems allow remote monitoring and data collection from our heat trace-sourced products. Whether you need to protect a piping system, valves, manifolds, instrumentation, gas tanks, liquid storage, or anything else from cold weather or depreciation in efficiency, Powerblanket technology can enable you to do so with greater ease and dependability.

For custom heating solutions by Powerblanket, click here.

 

 

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!

Temperature makes all the difference when pouring concrete. Check out our article on how temperature affects concrete that is still curing inside the Hoover Dam!

Process Heating Engineering: Tank Heaters

Powerblanket® Engineer Favorite #2

large storage tank
The second installment of the Powerblanket Engineer Favorites comes to us from Coastal Drilling.  Coastal Drilling is a drilling company serving the South Texas drilling market, providing both daywork and turnkey contracts along with operating inland barge rigs in the shallow waters of the Gulf Coast.

An Oily Problem

In the winter when the three phase horizontal separator used during drilling operations was not being used, or the contents weren’t constantly flowing, the dirty oil water froze, consequently plugging the pipes. This halted operations until they could melt the blockage with torches.

The Need for Custom

Previous to discovering Powerblanket, Coastal Drilling used torches as the best possible solution because nothing pre-made could resolve this frozen dilemma.  A blanket for this kind of tank required multiple cut outs in order to fit properly and to apply heat to as much surface area as possible.  Powerblanket engineers had an immediate hurdle to jump, as there were no technical drawings of the tank to help create the design.  Instead, the team scanned the tank with a 3D scanner, which allowed for the correct location of each cutout.

Powerblanket Solution

storage tank

Powerblanket provided Coastal Drilling with custom made heating blankets that wrapped the tank with the necessary cutouts. The size of the tank required two separate heating blankets. Two heating blankets allowed for an easier installation, and it allowed the designers to put more power into the blanket to ensure enough power to keep up with the cold winter temperatures.  Now, operations did not have to stall for the water to thaw, consequently saving Coastal Drilling time, money and headaches.

Custom Solutions:  Tank Heaters

Powerblanket Tank Heaters maintain temperature, heat, provide freeze protection, and/or optimize flow for viscous and temperature sensitive materials.

Why Choose Powerblanket Tank Heaters?

  • Maintain optimal temperatures for temperature sensitive materials
  • Custom designed to fit any tank and/or process heating engineering projectPowerblanket custom tank heater
  • Provide ultimate freeze protection
  • Available in 120, 208 or 240VAC
  • Enjoy the peace of mind that your valuable materials are protected

Powerblanket Curing Blankets at the Statue of Liberty

Statue of LibertyReilly Construction out of Wrightstown, NJ, won a bid from the U. S. Department of the Interior 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.

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


Powerblanket to the Rescue

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.

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.

Powerblanket at the Statue of Liberty

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 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

Freeze Protection For IBC Tote Tank

Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Which means it’s time to consider how you are going to keep your IBC tote tank warm through the winter. Powerblanket tote heaters are an ideal solution for the freeze protection of your IBC tote tank.

Rather than panic when the weather turns cold, prepare now to prevent your materials from freezing. IBCs are a valuable resource for decreasing customer costs through reduced handling, storage space, and shipping expenses. They are easy to use, transport, and recycle.

powerblanket 275 gallon tote heater

IBC Tote Uses

Your IBCs may ship and store:

  • Bulk chemicals including hazardous materials or dangerous goods
  • Commodities and raw materials used in industrial production
  • Liquid, granulated, and powdered food ingredients
  • Food syrups, such as corn syrup or molasses
  • Petrochemical products, such as solvents, detergents, or adhesives
  • Rainwater when used for rooftop rainwater collection
  • Used IBCs are the basic building blocks for many home aquaponic systems
  • For more goofy uses for IBC totes check out this Youtube video

Tote Tips

There are a few common sense strategies for keeping IBC tank totes warm: stacking them if you have multiples and keeping them indoors, if that’s possible. However, even these strategies cannot guarantee freeze protection for IBC tote tanks with temperature sensitive materials.

Benefits of Using Powerblanket to Heat Your Totes

Powerblanket® Tote Heaters maintain optimal heating conditions for temperature sensitive materials.

HERE’S HOW:

  • Distribute heat evenly around the tote, without any hot or cold spots
  • Designed to be durable and weather resistant
  • Provide easy access with a removable top
  • Include an adjustable thermostatic controller, for precise temperature control
  • Safely heat and protect a wide variety of chemicals and materials

Stacks of IBC Totes

Standard sizes  fit the IBC 250 gallon, 275 gallon (1,040 liter), 330 gallon (1,249 liter), 350 gallon (1,325 liter) 450 gallon, and 550 gallon totes. Also in 120 vac and 240 vac.

Let Powerblanket ease the stress of winter by helping you plan your IBC tote tank freeze prevention.

Learn More About Tote Heaters

 

DEF Freezing and DEF in Cold Weather

The Polar Vortex is sliding down over the country.  Have you taken precautions to prevent DEF freezing in the increasingly cold temperatures swiftly approaching?  We have tips and guidelines to help you with DEF in cold weather.

Understanding DEF and SCR

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is a non-hazardous solution, which is 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionized water. DEF is sprayed into the exhaust stream of diesel vehicles to break down dangerous NOx emissions into harmless nitrogen and water. NOx is an element in exhaust that has been blamed for acid rain, smog and raising the overall greenhouse gas levels of the planet.  DEF is not a fuel additive and never comes into contact with diesel. It is stored in a separate tank, typically with a blue filler cap. This system is called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).  SCR and DEF have been used for decades in other commercial and agricultural applications.

Storing DEF

DEF should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. The ideal storage temperature for DEF is between 15ºF and 65ºF (-9ºC and 18ºC). It should not be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time as the urea will decompose. When possible, DEF packages and bulk storage should be kept indoors in temperature-controlled environments.  Use the right container. DEF is mildly corrosive, and should be stored in containers of HDPE plastic or stainless steel. 

DEF Freeze Protection guide graphic

DEF Expires

Check the expiration. The storage life of DEF varies. The urea is vulnerable to degradation from sunlight and higher temperatures. In favorable storage conditions (proper container, away from direct sunlight, temperatures between 15 and 65°F), DEF can maintain its qualities for about 12 months. 

Be Good to DEF

Handle it like fuel. Per EPA guidelines, vehicles using DEF must include sensors to continually analyze the quality of the DEF being consumed. These sensors will trigger a fault code whenever an imbalance is detected. Most commonly, this results from a higher percentage of water as a result of foreign matter, condensation or rainwater in the DEF storage container or during transfer.  The quality and integrity of DEF must be maintained for proper machine operation. It must be protected against evaporation and temperature extremes, and kept free of contaminants. Doing so could change DEF density, impacting its performance.

At what temperature does DEF freeze?

Quote on DEF standards

DEF, because of the urea, doesn’t have the freezing point of water. The urea mixture has a much lower freezing point of 12°F/-11°C. This solution doesn’t break into just urea and just water, either. The solution freezes at the same rate, and also thaws at the same rate. This means that at no point does the DEF freezing cause the solution to become over concentrated or diluted. DEF will begin to slush and then freeze.  There is no harm to the product which means that the urea solution is still safe to use if it has been frozen.

DEF Freezing and Expansion

Though it is safe to use again once thawed, expansion from freezing could cause problems.  Since DEF is a mixture of deionized water and urea, it reacts somewhat like water in that it does expand when frozen. DEF freezing usually causes about a 7% expansion. It is important to note that DEF freezing is usually taken into account when creating the packaging and tanks that are supposed to hold DEF. DEF packaging and tanks allow for expansion. However, one must be aware of the expansion of DEF when filling.  When storing equipment overnight or longer in temperatures that could result in DEF freezing, it is important to make sure the DEF tank on the equipment is not completely full or that it has an appropriate heat source. This will allow for expansion and help prevent cracking of the storage reservoir.

How to Prevent DEF Freezing?

DEF freezing was taken into account by the OEMs prior to creating the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems. Therefore, the SCR systems are designed to provide heating for the DEF tank and supply lines; however, if the vehicle is shut down and exposed to freezing temperatures, then it is likely that the DEF will freeze. Diesel owners do not need to worry about DEF interfering with their vehicle, however. If DEF freezes when the vehicle is shutdown, startup and normal operation of the vehicle will not be inhibited. In most cases, the SCR heating system will quickly thaw the DEF in order to return it to liquid form and resume normal operation.

NEED TO PROTECT YOUR DEF FROM FREEZING? GIVE US A CALL AND TALK TO A POWERBLANKET HEATING EXPERT TODAY. 888-316-6324, OR VISIT OUR DEF STORAGE HEATER PAGE HERE.

Can Anything Be Added to Prevent DEF Freezing?

Many want to know if anti-gelling or freeze-point-improver can be added to the DEF mixture to prevent freezing. DO NOT put additives into the urea solution because DEF must remain pure. The quality of DEF is extremely important for proper performance. Adding any additives would damage its ability to perform correctly and could even result in damages to the SCR system. No additives are approved for DEF at this time.

DEF Tote Heaters from Powerblanket®

Powerblanket has a solution for DEF freeze prevention:  Powerblanket DEF Tote Heaters maintain optimal heating conditions for temperature sensitive materials.  Powerblanket DEF Tote Heaters are temperature specific for the Diesel Exhaust Fluid to protect from freezing and maintain optimal temperatures.

Model demonstrating how to use a DEF toteHere’s How

  • Distribute heat evenly around the tote
  • Fully enclose and heat the tote and pump housing unit
  • Designed to be durable and weather resistant
  • Easy access to fill with a removable top
  • Simple plug and play operation, temperature is automatically regulated
  • Safely heat and protect a wide variety of chemicals and materials
  • 330 and 275  gallon versions feature an easy to access flap to the pump
  • Heated wraps for customized DEF bulk storage tanks available upon request
  • Include a frame to easily enclose and heat pump and hose

 

Learn More Here Button-02

Sources

“DEF Freezing”. Victory Blue. 7 December 2016. govictoryblue.com/2013/10/23/def-freezing/

Discover DEF. 8 December 2016. www.discoverdef.com/def-overview/faq/#def

Heating Solutions for Roofing Material

Are you looking for heating solutions for roofing material? Whether you’re roofing in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, you need to keep your roofing material hot and ready to roll. From adhesives to mineral surfaced roll roofing, the Powerblanket® Hot Box can help you keep your roofing materials warm and ready year round with portable, easy-to-use heating solutions.

Powerblanket hot boxesHeating Solutions for Roofing Material: The Powerblanket Hot Box

Research has shown that installing roofing materials in cold weather can negatively effect the integrity of the roof. Cold temperatures lead shingle glues to have a higher viscosity. This means the glue is too hard to set the shingles together properly. The ductile-to-brittle transition seems to happen in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and is usually when manufacturers void warranties for roofing products. With a recommended temperature of 70 to 80 degrees to roof, Powerblanket Hot Boxes and temperature controllers can solve the cold weather roofing dilemma.

Ideal temp for roofing materials graphicIn addition, the Powerblanket Hot Box (also known as the Bulk Material Warmer) is a great for countless applications. You can use the economical Hot Box for tar, adhesives, laminates, mineral surfaced roll roofing, and all other roofing materials. This will not only protect your supplies from freezing in cold weather, but will protect from inefficiency. By using the transportable and easy-to-assemble Hot Box and Beacon temperature controller, you can keep your materials at the ideal temperature regardless of what the weather is like.

Moreover, the Powerblanket Hot Box is designed with great structural integrity. Every unit comes with an internal, freestanding frame and can be easily assembled, disassembled, and reassembled. This makes the Hot Box ideal both for long-term storage of palletized product and on-site heating. Additionally, the option for an adjustable thermostatic controller gives you the ability to control the temperature range in order to prevent over or under-heating your product.

hot-box-one-cord, heating solutions for roofing materialPowerblanket® Hot Boxes:

  • Preserves temperature sensitive material
  • Installs quickly and effortlessly, and is compact and portable for storage
  • Heats palletized products: tar, resins, laminate, adhesives, mineral surfaced roll roofing, etc.
  • Features top and side access doors.
  • Is certified to UL and CSA safety standards

Learn More

Sources:

Anderson, David, Laurence Lapalu, Mihai Marasteanu, Yann Hir, Jean-Pascal Planche, and Didier Martin. “Low-Temperature Thermal Cracking of Asphalt Binders as Ranked by Strength and Fracture Properties.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1766 (2001): 1-6. doi:10.3141/1766-01.

“How to Properly Stack Asphalt Shingles on a Pitched Roof – IKO.” IKO Global. Accessed October 04, 2018. https://www.iko.com/na/residential/building-professional/how-to-stack-shingles-on-a-roof/.

Powerblanket® 400 Insulated Band Heater: The Better Way

 

Traditional band heaters are a mess, and by a mess we mean a safety hazard, an inefficient tool, and an unnecessary means of heating material. While old band heaters have their many limitations and setbacks, the Powerblanket 400 Insulated Band Heater does not.

 

powerblanket400 Band heaterA New Kind of Band Heater

Our primary motivation for writing this blog isn’t to disparage traditional band heaters, but we do feel it’s important to tell people about their shortcomings.  Frankly, no one should be using traditional band heaters anymore.

Perhaps many years ago, these devices were the best means for heating metal barrels and drums (and even then, you had to balance their limited benefits with their risks and inefficiencies). But nowadays, there is far better technology available to answer the same need, and it does so in a much better and safer way.

The problem with old band heaters is this: strapping an exposed, heated, band around your storage container leaves room for fire hazard and burn potential. If anything touches that band on accident, well, it’s going to wreak havoc. Depending on what it is, it could start a fire, and if it happens to be a hand, leg, or arm…you can cringe a little when imagining the result.

 

The Better Answer – The Only Answer

After talking about the woes of traditional band heaters, let us introduce you to the Powerblanket 400 Insulated Band Heater. Our insulated band heater answers the same need for heating and warming as traditional band heaters do, only ours doesn’t come with the negative side effects. To start with, our band heaters are insulated, which means you don’t have the hazard of a really hot, exposed strap. If something were to touch our insulated band heater on accident, big deal. It won’t cause a fire, and it won’t burn…and that goes for human flesh too.

Additionally, our insulated band heaters can provide integrated temperature control for the heating process, when coupled with our auxiliary controller. You can heat from low to rather high temperatures. And get this, these insulated band heaters can be used on metal and poly containers. So imagine a band heater that is safe, efficient, and versatile, and you just imagined the Powerblanket insulated band heater. No imagining is necessary though. It’s real. See for yourself.

 

Powerblanket 400 Band Heater Features:

  • Increases your heating capacity, up to 350 ° F
  • Made with a durable and safe silicone-coated, fiberglass shell
  • Provides an insulated layer to keep heat in and offer safety
  • Provides more even heat and more precise control over the heating process (when you purchase our control system)
  • High efficiency aluminum heat-spreading technology spreads heat efficiently
  • Comes in 120 V and 240 V options

 

Freeze Protection for Chemical Injection Tanks

A Poly-Mart Chemical Injection TankAs versatile as chemical injection tanks are, they’re no match for cold weather. How do you protect your temperature-sensitive liquids from freezing?

Too Cold

The big poly storage tanks you see strewn all over oil fields and water treatment plants are truly helpful when it comes to storing and accessing the valuable liquids they hold. You may have noticed something else about them: they’re plastic. As such, they have no insulating qualities.

Too Complex

Few, if any, plastic tanks have their own individual internal heater. Self-regulating tanks are extremely expensive, and when break downs happen, you have to replace the entire tank.

Chemical Injection Tanks and Freeze Protection

Maybe you’re thinking: so what? Lack of insulation doesn’t really matter for the warm part of the year. But for the cold parts of the year, it definitely does. Come winter and frozen tanks become a huge pain. Chemical injection tanks are commonly used to maintain flow, to reduce corrosion, and to improve operations associated with the treatment of fluid sources. If your tank freezes, all of these important functions freeze too.

Get a Specialized Solution

Oil rig with red sunset in backgroundTo counteract this problem, Powerblanket offers custom heating solutions for chemical injection tanks. Whatever the size or shape of your injection tanks, Powerblanket’s custom solutions team can design a durable heating blanket for it, a tank heater that will be easy to install when you need it, and easy to remove when you don’t.

Our proprietary blend of material and technology produces a heating solution that wraps your injection tank in a durable insulating blanket that spreads electrical heat evenly and safely throughout the entire application area. So when it comes to chemical injection tanks, don’t give them the cold shoulder. Give us a call today and start on a custom solution that meets your needs at 855.548.8013 or email us at [email protected]

Get a custom quote

The Powerblanket® RR-80 Barrel Heater: Product Spotlight

Whether you need to maintain temperature for chemicals, food product, paint and other coatings, water, or any other temperature sensitive material, Powerblanket Barrel Heaters are the ideal solution. What’s more, if you need to keep a liquid or other solution just above room temperature, our RR-80 Barrel Heater is just the thing you need.

 

The Powerblanket RR-80

The Powerblanket RR-80 is the perfect heating solution for keeping your barrel storage just above room temperature. With 120 Volts and 400/800 watts, the RR-80 rapidly ramps up to a max temperature of 80° F—give or take a few degrees of normal variance. (In case you’re wondering, the fact that this blanket Rapidly Ramps up to a fixed 80° F is the reason we call it the RR-80.)

Powerblanket® Rapid Ramp technology provides an accelerated heating time that quickly raises the temperature of fluids to 80° F. This rapid ramp happens in the initial phase, while the blanket is pumping out all 800 watts of heat. Once the blanket reaches 80° F, however, it brings the power consumption down to 400 Watts (or 3.33 Amps) in order to merely maintain 80° F. You see that’s one major benefit our technology has over traditional band heaters. Most band heaters will just keep heating your product until it’s far hotter than it needs to be. And even band heaters with thermostats are less than reliable, applying heat to only a small area of a  barrel.

On the other hand, the Powerblanket® BH55RR-80 Barrel/Drum Heater allows you to safely and efficiently control the temperature of whatever you’re storing in drums or barrels. Additionally, our barrel and drum heaters work with both steel and poly containers, you can use the same unit on both types, whereas, you usually need different silicone band heaters for  different barrel types

 

Powerblanket® BH55-RR-80 Barrel Heater Benefits

  • Cinch straps ensure a tight fit
  • An ideal solution for storing polyurethane spray foam
  • Energy-efficient
  • Safe for indoor and outdoor use
  • Water-resistant
  • Works on both poly and steel containers
  • Prevents product waste by safely maintaining consistent temperatures
  • Patented heat spreading plane eliminates hot and cold spots from forming

 

 

Custom Tank Heaters: The Perfect Approach to Heating Solutions


custom tank heatersIt would be absolutely ridiculous to assume that all tanks come in the same shapes and sizes, whether they hold water, gas, chemicals, or some other matter. We all know that this simply isn’t the case. While there are certainly standard measurements for specialty gas tanks, water tanks, and others, the range of variance between size, construction, and purpose is vast enough that there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for tank protection. That’s why Powerblanket® Custom Tank Heaters are the perfect approach to the need for a heating solution.

 

Customized for Your Tanks and Needs

Regardless of the size of your tank, the purpose it serves, or its shape, Powerblanket can help you protect it against cold weather and keep it running at the ideal temperature year round. Our custom approach to providing tailored heating solutions to a myriad of industries and applications has allowed hundreds of customers to protect their precious assets from the ravages of cold weather.

In addition to freeze protection, our custom tank heaters enable increased efficiency in gas and other kinds of tanks. Anywhere flow rates and extraction rates are affected by temperature, Powerblanket custom tank heaters can ensure the flow of liquids and extraction of gas is always at its best. Take, for example, the nature of a gas such as propane.

When gases are stored in tanks, they are stored under considerable pressure. Due to this fact, they reside in the tank in both a liquid and gaseous state. Extracting a gas means you must evaporate some of the liquid and that evaporation process requires an input of heat energy. If the gas extraction rate is fast enough, it could cause the tank to frost up and the extraction to be impeded. However, with a custom Powerblanket propane tank heater you can keep the extraction flowing fast and full, without the side effect of frosting or icing.

What’s more, whether a tank holds gas or liquid, freezing temperatures pose big problems. Using a custom tank heater allows you to fully insulate and heat your tank to whatever temperature is best, regardless of the surrounding climate.

 

custom Powerblanket tank heater wrapped around a large tankGetting a custom tank heater from Powerblanket is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Contact us with the details of your application.
  2. We’ll design a custom tank heater for your application, based on your information and feedback.
  3. We’ll build your custom solution and ship it to you within two weeks. (Sometimes, we can even turn a project around in as little as one week.)

 

In the end, there’s no reason to leave your tank out in the cold. Powerblanket can cover it and keep it safe and functioning well through the most inclement weather.

 

 

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

Caring for Your Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Diesel Exhaust Fluid, known for short as DEF, is a precious commodity to anyone running diesel-powered vehicles these days. Ever since 1970, when the Clean Air Act went into effect in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken multiple measures to regulate exhaust from a myriad of vehicles. However, it wasn’t until 1990 that the EPA started mandating diesel exhaust specifically.

 

The Definitive Guide to DEFDEF: 1990 and Beyond

Since the inception of the EPA’s restrictions on diesel exhaust, DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) has become all the more important. Emission standards have become more and more restrictive over the last two decades, and today, diesel exhaust restrictions are applicable to all on-road and off-road vehicles.

With these new restrictions in place, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems are required to run diesel engines on any vehicle, whether a truck, a backhoe, or a combine. Eventually, these restrictions will also be enforced on water vessels. Essentially, with the EPA’s mandate in place, every diesel engine will eventually have to run a SCR, except for those built before the new regulations were in place.

Since SCR are a requirement of the present and future, DEF becomes nearly as essential as the fuel itself. And with DEF being as important as it is, it becomes imperative that you know how to properly store and care for it. DEF maintenance includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • How to use it
  • How to care for it
  • How to protect it
  • The challenges associate with DEF
  • Knowing the government regulations associated with it

You can learn more about all these matters and then some by downloading our free e-book through the link below.

 

Propane Tanks and How to Care for Them

Whether you’re a homeowner who relies on propane for heating, or a business leader who uses if for industrial purposes, propane is a versatile and important commodity. However, as helpful as propane is to us, we often overlook the need of caring for our propane tanks year round.

 

Propane_Tanks_GuideCaring for Your Propane: Tank and All

When it comes to caring for your propane storage, it’s imperative that you have a working knowledge of your tank and all the potential threats that could impede its proper functionality. Understanding the warning signs of a damaged or inefficient tank is important, not only for reasons of economical operation, but for the safety of all involved.

Several factors play into the safe and efficient operation of any size propane tank. These factors include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Shutting off valves when the tank is not in use
  • Keeping reserve tanks at a minimum
  • Not leaving portable propane tanks inside a vehicle
  • Securing portable tanks properly
  • Replacing weathered and/or worn canisters

Knowing how to properly manage all these aspects of propane storage and usage is very important. But there are many other factors to consider, too. Matters such as storage, setup, protection, government regulations, and the warning signs of hazardous circumstances are equally important. For more information on how to care for your propane and the tank in which you keep it. Access our free e-book below.

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.

 

The Hot Box Now Comes in 3 Options

If you know about our Bulk Material Warmer (also known as the Powerblanket Hot Box), then know how handy it can be when it comes to keeping your materials warm and protected from freezing temperatures. However, what you may not have known is that this savvy product now comes in three different performance levels.

 

Powerblanket Hot BoxGood Better Best

We recently expanded on our tried and true Hot Box heating solution in order to provide variable offerings for varying use cases. We realize not every job needs the most robust, durable, and powerful product in order to offer efficiency and economic heating capabilities. So with this in mind, we set out to create a good-better-best approach to the Powerblanket Hot Box product line.

The Powerblanket Hot Box (also referred to as a Bulk Material Warmer) is now available in three different performance levels to accommodate a wider range of heating needs. When we first introduced their Bulk Material Warmer, it was immediately implemented among our customer base as a viable and helpful solution for bulk material prep and protection.

Take Vern Fiehler, of Quick Road Repair in Alaska, for example. Vern was one such individual who benefited substantially from the Powerblanket Hot Box. Prior to the inception of the Hot Box, Vern was using a forced-air, ceramic heater to bring his Instant Road Repair (IRR) product up to working temperatures. But the use of this heating solution burned his product during a presentation in front of a group of decision makers for the Juneau Alaska International Airport. Shortly after this setback, Vern discovered our Hot Box and has used it ever since.

Whatever bulk material warming you may be in need of, you can benefit from the security, efficiency, and safety of our Hot Box heating solution, just like Vern did. Whether you need a little or a lot of heat, whether you need durability or extreme durability and regulatory heat, we have the right box for you. With our Powerblanket Lite, Powerblanket, and Powerblanket Premium options, you can get portable, storable, and reliable heating to protect your assets, whatever they are.

How to Keep Water Tanks from Freezing

If you’ve ever had a water storage tank freeze, then you know just how much of a disaster it can be. As the colder months are fast approaching, now is the time to consider what you can do to keep your tanks protected from failure.

 

water storage tanksFreeze Protection for Water Storage

When it comes to freeze protection for water storage, the water itself is only half the equation. Surely it’s obvious that your priority would be to protect your storage from freezing, but have you stopped to consider that your storage tank needs just as much protecting? If you’ve stored water before in cold temperatures, then you probably have, because you’ll be well aware of water’s unique characteristics.

Of all the pure elements on earth that we know of, H₂O is the only molecule that expands when it freezes. Everything else contracts. With this being the case, one can imagine, and most of us have experienced firsthand, the dilemma posed by water’s frozen state. As it has to do with tank storage, well, potential damage to the tank is a very real concern. Consequently, having your water storage tank freeze can create a very big problem.

Most water storage tanks are equipped with two different types of systems for churning the water within the tank. These systems only work well within the proper environments, however. One such system is known as a passive system. These are hydrodynamic mixing systems. Another type is a jet aeration system. Jet aeration systems create movement in the water only during the filling process, which means that are completely incapable of preventing ice buildup in the tank once the temperature drops.

Then there are your active systems, and there are two kinds: pulse hydraulics and solar. These types of systems are known as active because they can be programmed to respond to various needs in the tank environment. However, only the most powerful active mixers can prevent ice buildup all winter long.

So here’s the moral of the story: unless your environment is just right, simply moving the water around in your tank isn’t going to prevent freezing. Even if you have a large and powerful active mixer, you’re still gambling with Mother Nature. When ice develops in your water storage, it can damage your controls, the interior of the tank, or it can even puncture the walls of your tank. What’s more, all this can happen before you even realize you have ice buildup.

 

The Answer

So how to keep water tanks from freezing, it’s a good question. But as you can already tell, the answer section to this topic is much shorter than the problem, and that’s because the solution is simple. In order to eliminate the damage associated with freezing water, you simply have to keep your tank at the ideal temperature. To be quite frank, the traditional methods for reducing ice formation inside water tanks are expensive, difficult, and only partially effective, hence the word “reducing” instead of “eliminating”.

So when seeking a solution for preventing ice buildup inside a storage tank, the most important thing to remember is uniformed heat. In order to properly prevent ice buildup, you need to maintain the same temperature at the bottom of your water tank, as you do at the top. In order to do this, you need to have a solution in place that can keep your tank at an ideal, regulated temperature year round. And thankfully, it just so happens that we provide that very solution here at Powerblanket.

Methane Hydrates: A Dilemma for the Pipeline Industry

Sometimes the word methane carries with it a negative connotation, but if there’s a word or combination of words to trump it, it’s “methane hydrate,” at least if you’re in the piping industry that is. While methane hydrates can be found naturally occurring in the deep abys of the ocean bottom (and could serve as a good energy source) when it comes to gas lines, there’s nothing good to say about them.

 

 

What are Methane Hydrates?

In terms of simplicity, a methane hydrate is a combination of methane gas and water. When these two combine at freezing temperatures, they form a solid methane hydrate. Interestingly enough, these crystal-like rocks form naturally at the depths of the sea. And in cases of potential energy sources, well, methane hydrates could be a thing of the future. However, when it comes to the piping industry, these rocks just plain get in the way.

 

Methane Solids in Your Pipes

In the case of the piping industry, methane hydrates can put a stop on gas flow like plaque can put a halt on blood flow in our arteries. When natural gas passes through piping equipment at temperatures near or below freezing, the buildup of condensation and the contraction of gas molecules create these gnarly solids we’ve been talking about. When these hydrates buildup in pipelines, especially at transition points like valves, manifolds, and instrumentation, they can pose a substantial risk to continued operation. In fact, they can outright stop it in its tracks.

So what’s the solution? It’s a simple one. It’s heat. Adding heat to a pipeline can keep temperatures at the ideal level and will entirely prevent the formation of methane hydrates. When adding regulated and even heat distribution to your equipment in the form valve heaters, manifold heaters, and instrumentation heaters, hydrate formation is no longer a problem. Thankfully, this is one of the major areas Powerblanket assists the piping industry with. Our valve, manifold, and instrumentation heaters offer the easiest and most efficient solutions to heat maintenance on a natural gas or liquid pipeline. So if hydrate formation is a dilemma that keeps you up at night, reach out to Powerblanket today, so you can start sleeping better.

 

 

The Mansfield D1 Expo and Powerblanket® DEF Heaters

Powerblanket recently attended the 2015 Mansfield D1 Expo in Denver Colorado. There, Powerblanket was able to showcase the company’s patented DEF storage heater technology to many interested attendees. What’s more, Powerblanket was able to discuss technologies that reached beyond just DEF heaters.

Mansfield’s Expo

This year’s Mansfield D1 Expo was one of the biggest yet. Mansfield Oil is a national leader in the industries of energy supply, logistics, and services enterprise. As part of their focus on partnering with clients in order to provide innovative, technology-based solutions, Mansfield has put on this expo every year for six years now.

At this year’s sixth annual retreat for their partners, Mansfield offered plenty to capture participants’ interests, especially in regards to petroleum, ethanol, biodiesel, and DEF trends. The 2015 show had industry experts speaking about trends in the DEF and petroleum industry, it hosted showcased vendors of related products and services, and it focused on transportation & fuel additives. The show was packed with entertainment and information all.

Of all the matters addressed at is year’s show, DEF was a major focus. With Powerblanket DEF heating solutions present, participants and attendees were able to see firsthand the protective qualities of the Powerblanket solution. With DEF storage trending towards mini-bulk quantities as large as 600-4500 gallons for the trucking industry alone, the need to protect this valuable asset became all the more apparent at the Powerblanket booth.

“It was a privilege rubbing shoulders with so many experts in the DEF and Petro-Chemical industries,” said Justin Montoya, Powerblanket DEF Heating Solutions specialist. “We were thrilled with the interest in our products, including both DEF and our extensive product line for other applications.”

 

 

Further Contributions from Powerblanket

With the transportation and agricultural industries primed to start needing more DEF solutions, and with additional fuel additives complicating the process of viscosity maintenance, Powerblanket is ready to offer more than just DEF heaters.

Equally beneficial to the presence of Powerblanket DEF heaters at the Mansfield expo was the inclusion and discussion around the many Powerblanket heating solutions offered, DEF storage heaters being only one among many. Powerblanket provides a myriad of ready-to-ship heating solutions, but we also offer a completely customized approach to our heating technology. So regardless of what it is you need to warm or heat, Powerblanket has you covered.

 

 

Showcasing Our DEF Storage Heater at the Mansfield D1 Expo

The Mansfield D1 Expo offers a great opportunity for companies in the transportation and fuel industries to network and synergize their offerings and contributions. Powerblanket is present at this year’s expo to showcase the wonders of our DEF storage heater and other related technologies.

 

Mansfield Oil

This year marks the sixth annual running of the Mansfield D1 Expo. Mansfield Oil is a leader in petroleum marketing and fuel supply and puts this expo on to accommodate networking and support among those companies that drive success in the transportation and fuel industries. This year’s expo is a highly anticipated event with plenty to offer attendees and exhibitors. Industry and technological education, hands on exhibitions, and networking are all geared to help make the expo an unforgettable event.

Additionally, this year’s keynote speakers are said to be as anticipated as the event itself. Industry leaders will offer their insight on topics surrounding professional development and experience in the fuel industry.

The 2015 edition will support thirty-one exhibitors from around the country, all  of whom have come to present, share, and network their contributions to their respective sector. Powerblanket will be present to exhibit the company’s  DEF heating products as well as our wide variety of standard and custom heating solutions, each serving to help companies save time and money during cold-weather conditions. Of course, equally important to this is the increased efficiency that comes from using Powerblanket heating solutions.

Justin Montoya, Director of Business Development at Powerblanket, said that “having a presence at this event is great for us. The Mansfield D1 Expo is the perfect place to showcase and discuss the value of our innovative DEF storage heaters.”

Our patented approach to heat regulation and freeze protection enables companies to store DEF, and many other materials, at the ideal temperature, regardless of cold, frigid weather. We’ll be displaying and demoing our DEF storage heaters at our designated booth at the Westin Denver Downtown Hotel, located at 1672 Lawrence St. from August 24th through the 26th. Along with the DEF heating technology we’ll have on display, we’ll also be showcasing complementary smart controls. All this, plus our new Class I Division 1 certification and a raffle for prizes, makes the Powerblanket booth the place to be at this year’s Mansfield D1 Expo.

 

 

Heat Tape—And the Better Solution

Heat tape (or heating tape, as it’s sometimes referred to) is a way you can implement low-key freeze protection for your exposed pipes during the winter. In fact, this handy technology can even be used to safeguard instrumentation and other devices that are left out in the cold. However, as savvy as this approach sounds, did you know that there is a much better solution?

Heating Blankets Bolster Safety and Efficiency

Heat tape has its uses in very small applications, but in most scenarios, it can be like putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone. Such a technology offers direct heat only where the tape contacts the pipe or apparatus on which it’s placed. When used on metal pipes, the heat exchange is bound to spread, merely because metal is an obvious conductor of heat. With this in mind, then, we can see another limitation in the freeze protection offered by heating tape; it can only be used on heat conductive surfaces.

Aside from this, another problem with heating tape is the simple fact that it offers only heat. Such an approach provides no insulation against the cold. Insulation on its own isn’t enough; that’s for sure. But neither is heat. Instead, the proper combination for free protection and temperature regulation is the combination of both. And this is where heating blankets come in.

 

 

The Better Heating Solution

Now that we’ve sufficiently covered all the shortcomings of heating tape, we can address the characteristics of a far better solution. That far better solution is heating blankets, or heat blankets. Heat blankets are a combination of heat-distribution capabilities married with durable insulation for a myriad of industrial and commercial applications.

In the case of Poweblanket, we offer a revolutionary and patented approach to heating blankets. Our durable vinyl shells are capable of insulating assets in temperatures as low as -50° F. What’s more, Powerblanket heating blankets offer the best and most efficient heat distribution on the market. So if you have valuable material or equipment to protect from the effects of cold weather, give us a call today.

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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.

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Maintaining Viscosity in Your Oil Stores

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Temperature plays a vital role in maintaining viscosity in the storage of many types of liquids and chemicals. But when it comes to storing your liquid in lower ambient temperatures, you could be playing a catch up game when it comes to maintaining ideal viscosity, especially with oil and oil-based lubricants.

 

Oil Pouring

Viscous Oils Run Slow

Why does the viscosity of oil or other liquids matter? Asking such a question to a mechanical engineer may start an impassioned conversation on the matter. As for the rest of us, it may be helpful to revisit some simple principles of physics. When your lubricant is too viscous, it affects the ability the liquid has to flow easily. When you’re dealing with small engine parts, using a lubricant that is too high in viscosity could restrict its access to smaller parts within your engineer or mechanism. And, of course, restricted flow to vital elements of your machinery could cause drastic problems.

Another problem posed by overly viscous lubricants comes from the incurrence of excessive torque in your machinery. If the oil in your machine is too thick, it’s going to tax your engine all the more to push the lubricant into all the necessary places. Not only does this cause undue torque on the system, but it also cause more friction than is necessary. The moral of the story: this all means more wear and tear.

Oil lubricated machines will usually have a low-temperature limit for startup. This restriction is sometimes referred to as the pour point. It’s true that once an engine has time to run and warm up, it returns the oil to the proper viscosity, but adding a lubricant at a temperature far below ideal could cause startup problems. With this in mind, maintaining viscosity in your lubricant storage becomes vitally important.

Powerblanket and Our Contribution

When it comes to storing liquids at ideal temperature, Powerblanket has a myriad of products perfectly suited for your needs. Whether you need a customer application or one of our ready to ship heating blankets, we can help you maintain viscosity in your lubricant storage.

Though the weather is warm right now, colder temperatures will sneak up on us faster than we wish. Getting prepared for that time now is important. That’s why we’re running a 15% off incentive for our forward-thinking customers.

The Potential Dangers of M.E.G. (Mono-ethylene glycol)

MEG and the environment don’t really get along that well. But of course, we’re not talking about anyone named Meg, either. No, this post has to do with Mono-ethylene Glycol (aka: MEG), its potential effects on the environment, and why it might not be the best option for freeze protecting your pipeline.

 

Mono-ethylene Glycol molecule

Oil, Gas, and the Environment

The petroleum and natural-gas industries have plenty to worry about when it comes to environmental concerns. With this in mind, adding another toxic and dangerous element to the mix doesn’t make for an ideal situation. Nonetheless, many companies use a certain, potentially-dangerous, and toxic chemical to keep their pipelines from freezing or creating hydrates. And that chemical is MEG (or mono-ethylene glycol).

Mono-ethylene glycol is used as an additive in pipelines that transport natural gas or oil. The presence of the chemical lowers the freezing point and prevents the formation of hydrates. This is the same chemical used as anti-freeze in automobiles.

MEG, though useful for its anti-freeze qualities, is also potentially dangerous for two primary reasons. The number one reason is its toxicity. It can be deadly if ingested or inhaled in high enough quantities. Second is the flammability and combustibility of the chemical. Simply put, it can catch fire and even explode under the right circumstances.

While those who use MEG most often do so with care and knowledge of the chemical, why add the risk in the first place? If a pipeline were to leak this chemical, the effects could be significantly detrimental—both to those working the pipeline and the environment around it.  

 

A Better Solution

Now what if there was a better solution? Well, there is. When it comes to protecting your pipeline against freezing conditions or hydrate formation, trace-heating solutions are a good answer for long stretches of pipe. And as far as valves, manifolds, and instrumentation are concerned, heating solutions that offer both insulation and heat distribution in one product are very important.

Finding a solution that can be easily applied, removed, and reapplied to your pipeline’s transition points is of considerable importance when ensuring ideal temperature is maintained. Thankfully, such solutions exist. And they offer an economic, safe, and non-toxic way to keep your pipeline functional in cold and inclement weather.