Cold Weather Safety for Construction

Cold Weather Safety for Construction

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

Taking precautions 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.”

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Winter Construction

    1. Know the forecast and pay attention to changing weather conditions.  Today we enjoy the benefit of real time updates on our phones and computers.  When the weather outside is unsuitable for outside work, reschedule.  
    2. 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.  Schedule outside work in shorter durations. Break up larger projects into smaller tasks.
    3. 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.
    4. 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, water is what the body really needs.  
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.  
    8. 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.
    9. 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  ompressor 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.  
    10. 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.  

 

 

Put It in the Box

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.

Powerblanket Hot Box Benefits

bulk material warmers

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

Hot Boxes and Cold Weather Construction Safety

  • Preserve temperature sensitive materials
  • Quickly and effortlessly install the compact portable design
  • Localize heat and save money by not heating a warehouse or building
  • Lower energy-related costs with the highly efficient design

Cold weather safety for construction

Best Snow Shovels

With so many snow removal products on the market, it can be difficult to decide which will best get the job done. In preparation for upcoming winter weather, we’ve compiled a list of the best available snow shovels based on ease of use, durability, and effectiveness. We hope this will help you decide which option will best meet your needs!

1. Garant: Poly Snow Sled, EPSS24U
$57.99, ebay

The Garant Poly snow sled features an easy-to-push, light-weight design and deep sides that allow for the easy removal of large amounts of snow. Once full, loads of snow can be easily transported by tilting up the shovel and pushing to the desired destination. Users praise this shovel for it’s easy to use design that significantly reduces strain on arms, shoulders, and back.

2. The Snowplow Poly Snow Pusher, 48″
$64.99, acme tools

Above all, users love the Snowplow Poly Snow Pusher for its high-quality, durable construction. This shovel will hold up against even the heaviest, wettest snowfall– no bending or breaking! While not ideal for lifting snow, It’s perfect for pushing snow to the edges of driveways and other large surfaces without leaving damage. Because this shovel is so wide, it may quickly become heavy as it’s filled with snow.

3. Aerocart Snow Plow
$38.81, the home depot

Like the first two shovels listed, the Aerocart Snow Plow is designed for “pushing” snow rather than shoveling and lifting. Like other shovels, the push design saves shoulders and backs from excessive strain. This snow plow features an easy to assemble design. Because the sides of this shovel are open (no “wall” on the edge) snow begins to fall out once it becomes full, making it best for use during lighter snow falls.

4. Ames True Temper 1603400 Mountain Mover Snow Shovels, Combo-Ergonomic, 18 Inch Blade
$31.67, plumbersstock.com

This smaller shovel is designed for shoveling and lifting snow and features an ergonomically curved handle designed to reduce back strain. The Ames True Temper Mountain Mover is lightweight, yet sturdy. The blade of the shovel is reinforced with a sturdy strip rather than metal; this prevents damage a metal strip may inflict on cars and other sensitive surfaces.

5. Ames True Temper 20″ Polypropylene Combo Shovel W/ VersaGrip
$22.75, Global Industrial

The Ames True Temper Polypropylene Combo Shovel is not designed to be lightweight, but is perfect for breaking through ice or packed snow. The edge features a sturdy metal blade. The handle is slightly bent which reduces how far you have to bend over to lift snow.

Snow Shovel Alternative

An alternative to a snow shovel is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat. Summerstep heated mats are designed to be left outside all winter long, can be custom made to fit any location, and will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour while operating. It eliminates time-consuming shoveling and de-icing and prevents slips that could cause serious injury and even a lawsuit. To save time and hassle, and for added peace of mind, consider making Summerstep heated mats a part of your winter safety precautions.

Stats of Winter-Related Injuries

Cold winter months and the accompanying icy or snowy weather is an especially important time to consider workplace safety precautions. The increased risk of injury due to cold temperatures, ice or snow is indisputable.  According to the CDC, winter weather kills more than twice as many Americans than summer heat. Keeping yourself aware of the increased risk cold weather brings will help as you plan to prevent winter-related injuries and keep yourself and employees safe.

Winter-Related Injuries Involving Vehicles

If you or others are regularly behind the wheel during winter months, consider the increased risk of driving in snowy or icy conditions demonstrated by the following  statistics:

Other Winter-Related Injuries

Furthermore, consider the risk of slips, falls and other injuries that occur during work done in cold, snowy, or icy weather:

  • 1 million Americans are injured due to slip and fall injuries annually. The risk of slip and fall injuries increases dramatically during winter months.
  • Slips and falls are not the main cause of fatal workplace injuries, however, they represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • In 2014, there were 42,480 workplace injuries or illnesses from ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day off of work as a result.
  • From the above injuries, 34,860, or 82 percent, were due to slips or falls on level ground.
  • Between 1990 and 2006, approximately 195,000 people in the U.S. were treated in a hospital emergency room because of injuries acquired during snow shoveling.
  • Approximately 1,301 Americans die from hypothermia annually.

 

If you or your employees are at risk for acquiring winter-related injuries, it’s important to properly plan against them. An effective solution to keeping steps, doorways and walkways safe and ice-free is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat.   Summerstep heated mats are designed to be left outside all winter long, can be custom made to fit any location, and will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour while operating. It eliminates time-consuming shoveling and de-icing and prevents slips that could cause serious injury. To save time and hassle, and for added peace of mind, consider making Summerstep heated mats a part of your winter safety precautions.

Keep Propane Tanks from Freezing with a Propane Tank Heater

If you rely on propane for year-round operations, then you already know what a headache winter weather can be. If you have a cold propane tank as a result of dropping temperatures, you’re going to lose a lot of efficiency. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to keeping your propane tank from freezing, and the solution is something some refer to as a propane tank blanket.

 

Keep Propane Tanks from Freezing with a Propane Tank Heater 1

Propane Performs Best Under Heat

Did you know that propane can freeze up completely if the ambient temperature drops below -44° F? Granted, -44° F is pretty darn cold, but in terms of gases, it’s a rather high freezing point. As cold as this temperature is in general terms, there are regions North America that experience extremes within this range and even lower, and if you operate a propane tank under these conditions without freeze protection, catastrophe is inevitable.

Worst-case scenario aside, propane-tank efficiency will fall substantially as the temperature drops, even if it never plummets as low as -44° F. As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your propane tank, and the pressure in your propane tank coincides with the volume of propane you have to work with. As pressure drops, not only will the volume of your propane deplete, but your extraction rate (how quickly and smoothly you can extract propane from the tank) will suffer as well. If you don’t have a heating source to assist in the pressure maintenance of your tank, then you’re going to have to keep it as full as possible in order to keep it working, even if temperatures are mildly cold.

 

Keep Propane Tanks from Freezing with a Propane Tank Heater 2

More On Propane Extraction or Pressure Rate

Cold weather is the most common dilemma facing propane-tank failure, but it isn’t the only one. Another cause of propane tank freezing has to do with the rate of extraction, or the pressure rate. If you’re drawing out a substantial amount of propane from your tank in a short amount of time, then you could cause the tank to freeze and ice up. This is assuming, of course, that you don’t have a heat source to assist with the problem.

Filling your propane tank more often isn’t going to solve a problem like this. And to be quite frank, it’s only a Band-Aid for cold weather dilemmas as well. No, the only real solution to both problems mentioned here is to keep your tank at the ideal temperature, regardless of outside forces. The safest, most efficient way to do this is to employ an external heating system that both insulates your tank and adds regulated and controlled heat to the exterior service.

In the case of heating propane, SAFETY IS MOST IMPORTANT. Propane, as we’re sure you know, is a highly flammable gas, so using any old make-shift solution isn’t safe. On the other hand, using a heating solution design specifically for the process, one that is certified and pronounced safe by reputable, third-party testing laboratories is the only way to go. With that said, let us introduce you to the Powerblanket® Propane Tank Heater.

 

Keep Propane Tanks from Freezing with a Propane Tank Heater 3

Powerblanket® Propane Tank Heater

Powerblanket has the best propane tank heating solution on the market. And we aren’t just saying that because we are Powerblanket. No, we’re saying it because we know of no other company that puts more thought, time, and testing into such a product offering.  Our heating blankets will help maintain pressure and efficiency on just about any size tank.

What’s more, if your tank isn’t the common propane unit, well, that’s no problem. Our custom approach to heating solutions can tailor a blanket to fit your specific dimensions and needs. In addition to this, and most importantly, our product is safe! All Powerblanket heating blankets are certified with ETL certification to the highest standards of safety and efficiency.

Keep Propane Tanks from Freezing with a Propane Tank Heater 4

Benefits of Powerblanket Propane Tank Heaters:

  • Increase performance and efficiency of propane tanks
  • Provide even heat distribution
  • Save money by optimizing gas and material usage
  • Safety certified by UL/CSA/CE
  • Eliminates unnecessary cylinder refills in cold weather

 

[call_to_action_2 style=”1″ header=”Propane Spec Sheet” content=”Download the Propane Spec Sheet Today” buttontext=”Download” background=”#FF0000″ background_hover=”#FFFF00″ url=”http://go.powerblanket.com/propane-tank-heater-product-slick-download” target=”_self”]

 

OR

Learn more about how to care for your propane tanks with our complete propane guide:

Propane Tank Guide

How Cold 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.

Things to Consider with Cold Weather Concreting

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

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

Maintaining Ideal Temperature

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

Powerblanket Concrete Blankets

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

Snow Removal Mistakes

Snow Removal Mistakes

After a heavy snow, it is important to remove the snow from walkways, driveways, and stairs as soon as possible in order to avoid ice buildup and reduce slips and falls. Save yourself time, effort, money, and a few fingers by preparing early for winter storms.  Proper planning prevents poor performance.  Read on to avoid common snow removal mistakes.

Mistake #1:  Cluttered Yard

Sometimes snow comes unexpectedly, but most often there is a weather report that will warn of the impending arrival.  Prepare for the snow by preparing your yard before it arrives.  A mistake many make is not securing or stowing away yard accessories that will become camouflaged after the snow.  Hoses, garden shovels/tools, outdoor decor, childrens’ toys will all cause chaos in a snow blower if you forget where they were before the snow.  This mistake will damage the yard object and possibly your snow blower.  

Mistake #2:  Not Respecting the Snow Blower
For those who experience exceptional snowfall each year, a snow blower is critical for winter snow removal.  Snow blowers save time and prevent many of the injuries associated with snow shoveling; however, a tool with the capacity to shoot snow across your drive can be extremely hazardous if not used properly.  It is obvious that no one should put their hand in an active snow blower and that the whirling blades are very dangerous, but what about when the
snow blower is powered off?

A researcher at the University of Arkansas may have cracked the code. Dr. Bart Hammig’s recent study of more than 30,000 snow blower injuries found a source of hidden power that can lurk, even when an operator presence switch, or “Dead man’s switch,” has been invoked and the power to blades cut off.  The problem often starts the same way: with a clogged machine.  Wet snow can easily clog a snowblower and frustrate the user. Sticks don’t always work to dislodge the snow, and that is when thousands of people every year resort to the worst idea:

“They stick their hand down the chute and try to dislodge the snow. And that is when severe injuries occur,” he explained.

How can that happen, when power to the blades is off? Dr. Hammig’s research shows that inside all that clogged snow, rotational force is built up, enough to do damage even when the engine is cut completely off.

It’s something many users have never heard.

“And we know when that’s dislodged, it can actually rotate a quarter or a half a turn, which would probably be enough to do damage,” said Hammig.

Mistake #3:  Overexertion

While snow shoveling is good exercise, it can also be dangerous for the optimistic shoveler who takes on more than he/she should. Shoveling snow is extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). Here are some tips from the National Safety Council for safe snow shoveling:

  • Individuals over the age of 40 and/or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.
  • Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
  • Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down old snow.
  • Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
  • Slow Down!  Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Stretch out and warm up to prepare your body before taking on the task.
  • Use proper technique. Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. The strongest muscles in your body (your shoulders, torso and thighs) can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.

 Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

Powerblanket®, the leader in total temperature control solutions, now offers Summerstep™ heated door, stair, and walkway snow melting mats that use radiant heat to clear your path of ice and snow. These mats are heavy-duty snow melting, safety mats designed to melt snow and ice to prevent accumulation on stairs and walkways. They melt snow and ice on contact and create a safe walkway in even the coldest winter conditions.  Summerstep snow melting mats help prevent accidents due to slipping and falling that could cause delays, decreased productivity, or increased costs in areas with heavy foot traffic: universities, hospitals, industrial sites, etc. Designed to be outside throughout the winter, Summerstep mats stop the accumulation of additional snow and ice, reducing time and labor intensive snow removal and eliminating  the use of  any harsh melting agents. Customize your Summerstep snow melting system with connectable mats to cover any space.

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

Sources

“Snow Shoveling—A Real Risk for Heart Attack”. Cleveland Clinic. 6 January 2017. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/snow-shoveling-a-real-risk-for-heart-attack/

“Snow Shoveling”. National Safety Council. 6 January 2017. www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corporate/SafetyObservancesDocuments/Snow-Shoveling.pdf

Thousands Injured by Powered-Down Snow Blowers | NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business/target-5-snowblower-injury-138621664.html#ixzz4XdprT3GP

When Is It Too Cold to Roof?

WHEN IS IT TOO COLD TO ROOFWhen is it too cold to roof

When is it too cold to roof?  It really is too cold to roof when you are outside and you can see your breath.  Many roofing products have adhesive properties that require the sun’s radiant heat for activation.  You risk a faulty roof install if you do not pay attention to the temperature outside.  Continue reading for specific cold weather roofing tips.    

ASPHALT SHINGLES

The ideal temperature range to install asphalt shingles is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 and 27 degrees Celsius). Below 70° F and the adhesive will not reach the ideal elasticity and will not create a perfect seal. Temperatures  warmer than 80 degrees can be problematic in the other direction. Asphalt shingles can become overly pliable and are susceptible to damage during installation. Installers are more likely to overdrive roofing nails, and foot traffic can er
ode the protective granular layer quite easily in extremely warm temperatures.

If winter installation is unavoidable, most asphalt shingle manufacturers require a specialized adhesive manually applied to each shingle for temperatures below 40° F (4 degrees Celsius). If shingles are applied below 40° without the specialized adhesive, you risk a voided warranty.

EPDM

EPDM (rubber) membrane roofing is even more temperature sensitive than asphalt (composition) shingles. EPDM is joined together using an extensive amount of adhesive that requires high temperatures to be pliable enough to install and cure. EPDM adhesive is very thick and hard to work with even at high temperatures. How cold is too cold to install a new roof?  Manufacturers recommend temperatures be above 45° F  (7 degrees Celsius) for installation. When the weather is too cool to roof, that recommended temperature is not very practical unless a warm storage area is made available to keep the adhesive warm until the moment it is used.

WHEN IS IT TOO COLD TO ROOF?  POWERBLANKET HAS A SOLUTION

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

Powerblanket Hot Boxes saves you money by keeping your products from freezing without the risk of overheating. The Hot Box pallet warmer can be easily assembled, taken apart, and reassembled. 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.

Powerblanket Pallet Warmers:bulk material warmers

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

When is it too cold to roof

Winter Road Maintenance and Winter Road Construction

Winter Road Maintenance

Winter Road ConstructionWinter Road Maintenance

Typically, it is unwise to do any major structural winter road maintenance in the cold winter months.  Many professional paving companies joke that the best time to do winter repairs is in the summer.  Winter road construction is not so much dictated by the season, but rather by the temperature.  Warmer states have much longer active road construction periods than states with cold winters.  Without special engineering permission, most states prohibit paving in conditions below 45-50°F (for example asphalt conditions must be 50° and rising in Utah).  Never install asphalt or concrete on a frozen subbase; this will only ensure additional work for you when the conditions improve and you have to redo the job.  

 

Emergency Pothole Repair

For temporary repairs such as potholes use cold mix asphalt.  If the temperature is below the recommended level and it is an emergency, cold mix asphalt will work.  During this cold weather repair, remove all ice, moisture, and debris from the affected area using a heat source.  Keep in mind, this repair is meant to be temporary and should be permanently remedied when conditions improve

 

Winter Road Repairs: Crack Sealing

Crack sealing is actually preferred in colder months because pavements expand and contract with seasonal temperature changes. Consequently, cracks and joints are expanding and contracting when the pavements move. Crack sealing is a preventative winter road maintenance practice meant to extend the life of pavement. Since cracks on the pavement surface allow water and incompressible materials such as sand, dirt, and other debris to enter the pavement structure, these cracks can dramatically accelerate deterioration and weakening. Sealing cracks prevents further deterioration of the pavement and, when properly executed, can extend the life of the pavement anywhere from 6 months to 4 years. 

 

 

Crack Sealing Tips

  1. As recommended with the pothole repair, clear the crack of moisture, dirt, debris, vegetation and chemical deicers to make the sealing more effective, use a heat lance and/or compressed air.  If using a heat lance take care not to burn or scorch the pavement and the place the sealant before the pavement in the crack cools to allow for the best adherence of the crack fill materials.
  2. Seal all cracks from 1⁄4 inch to 1 inch in width the entire length of the crack. Cracks smaller than 1⁄4” will not retain sufficient sealer to flex in the cold. Cracks greater than 1” will sag and possibly prematurely fail without the installation of HMA or backer rod.
  3. When repairing cracks, fill the entire crack and level any affected area to ensure a smooth and level pavement surface.
  4. Apply the sealant or repair material only when the sealant or repair material is within the manufacturer’s recommended application temperature. Special care must be taken to assure that the sealant temperature does not exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations; otherwise the polymers may be destroyed therefore reducing the sealant performance.
  5. Keep in mind that more sealant is not always better. Over applying sealant material can lead to problems when paving over with HMA or bleeding up through the seal or paving application.
  6. New sealants are not designed to be “road glue”. They are very sticky and have tremendous bonding power; however, they were not made to “hold the road together”. Crack sealing has one objective: to prevent water from further damaging roads. Sealing “buys time” and saves money by delaying the expense of major reconstructive pavement work.

 

Powerblanket can help with Winter Road Maintenance

Whether you need a means for protecting temperature-sensitive materials in storage, or you need a heating solution for onsite temperature maintenance, the Powerblanket Hot Box will do the job.  This versatile heating solution accommodates remote-location use, job site heating, the transporting of temperature sensitive materials.  The revolutionary design of Powerblanket Hot Boxes provides uniform heat to all materials stored inside. This reduces the chance of having any hot and cold spots. If stored properly; chemicals, industrial products, and temperature sensitive materials will last longer and be more effective.

Winter road maintenance

Slipping on Ice and Snow Shoveling

SLIPPING ON ICE

slipping on iceOn January 4, 2017, Doctors in Germany prescribed a strategy to avoid slipping on ice:  walk like a penguin. Imagine all your employees waddling back and forth like a rookery of penguins!  This is not exactly what the German trauma surgeons meant.  The technique involves leaning forward so that a person’s center of gravity is on the front leg rather than divided evenly between both legs.  “When humans walk normally, body weight is split almost evenly over both legs, which the surgeons say increases the risk of a person losing their balance and falling on slippery surfaces.”  It’s a comical visual; however, slipping on ice is a serious workplace concern during icy and cold conditions.

SLIP AND FALL STATISTICS

  • Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.
  • Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 5% of the job-related fatalities for women compared to 11% for men.
  • Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
  • Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.

 

SNOW SHOVELING

While snow shoveling can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for the optimistic shoveler who takes on more than he/she should. Shoveling snow is extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). Here are some tips from the National Safety Council for safe snow shoveling:

  • snow melting matsIndividuals over the age of 40 and/or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
  • Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Stretch out and warm up to prepare your body before taking on the task.
  • Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down old snow.
  • Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one- half of a large one.
  • Use proper technique. Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. The strongest muscles in your body (your shoulders, torso and thighs) can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.

 

POWERBLANKET CREATED SUMMERSTEP

Removing ice and snow regularly to prevent slipping on ice can be a full-time job depending on the weather.   To save time, energy, and your employees health, use Summerstep heated safety mats to keep the walkways on your construction site clear and avoid snow shoveling.

 Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

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

 

 

Slipping on ice

 

 

 

 
Sources

“Quick Facts.” National Floor Safety Institute. 6 January 2017.  https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/

“Snow Shoveling”. National Safety Council. 6 January 2017. www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corporate/SafetyObservancesDocuments/Snow-Shoveling.pdf

“Snow Shoveling—A Real Risk for Heart Attack”. Cleveland Clinic. 6 January 2017. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/snow-shoveling-a-real-risk-for-heart-attack/

“Walk like a penguin to avoid slipping on ice, German doctors advise”. Reuters in Berlin.  6 January 2017. www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/04/penguin-walk-german-doctors-advice-slipping-icy-paths

 

 

5 Helpful Tips for Winter Construction Efficiency

5 Tips for Winter Construction

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

1) KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES SAFE

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

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

Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

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

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2) MAINTAIN INTEGRITY OF CONCRETE

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

 

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

 

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

 

Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets

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

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3) DON’T LET FROZEN GROUND SLOW YOU DOWN

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

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

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

Why Powerblanket Ground Thawing Blankets?

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

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4) KEEP MATERIALS WARM

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

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

Powerblanket Hot Boxes:

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

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5) USING A PROPANE HEATER

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

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

Powerblanket Propane Tank Heater

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

Benefits of Powerblanket Propane Tank Heaters:

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

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Industrial Winter Safety

Industrial Winter Safety

shutterstock_220815247Stay safe with these industrial winter safety guidelines.

The leaves are falling and so is the temperature.  Winter will be here shortly.  While it is beautiful and enchanting, winter can pose some major hazards if you haven’t prepared for it.  Failing to recognize and respect the dangers of winter is not recommended.

Whether you are traveling through, working in, or enjoying the weather, the following industrial winter safety tips are helpful to ensure your safety and good health:

Wear Layered Clothing

Multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing allow the worker to adjust their comfort level and protection based on the current temperature.  Tight fitting clothes reduce blood circulation.  Many forget the danger of sunburn when it is cold outside, but it is always important to protect from the sun.  Wear a hat, scarf or face covering and always wear waterproof gloves.  Also, it is wise to keep a change of clothes with you in case your existing clothes get wet.   Being wet can increase the rate of heat loss from the body.

Stay Hydrated

It’s easy to forget the simple importance of hydration when it is cold outside.  It’s not like the steamy summer months when we know we are sweating.  You still sweat—even in cold temperatures. For optimal performance, keep the body hydrated.

Breaks are Good

When the weather is particularly cold and/or windy, regular breaks are important.  If possible, take a break inside or under shelter where you can warm up a bit.  If it gets very cold, get inside and warm up.

Wear Good Shoes

Wear proper footwear when tackling winter weather.  A pair of water resistant and insulated boots with rubber treads is important for industrial winter safety.  Slow your pace and shorten your steps when navigating snowy/icy walkways.

Know the Signs

Frostbite and hypothermia can set in unexpectedly.  Get inside if you begin to experience either.  If a co-worker seems to be manifesting signs, help them get help immediately.  Be aware of those around you and take care of each other.

Proper Heat Ventilation

If using a non-electric heater, ensure that there is proper ventilation to let gasses like carbon monoxide escape.

Prepare for Winter Driving

Top off your fluids, drive slowly and allow yourself additional time to travel.  Pay attention to changing road conditions.

Clear the Pathsnow melting mat

Make sure that walkways, paths, stairs, and entries are free from snow and ice.  Do this as quickly as possible when a winter storm sets in.  Slips, trips, and falls will decrease dramatically when the path is clear.  Powerblanket offers a NEW method for clearing the path that does not use chemicals or salt, or require you to break your back shoveling.  Summerstep™ industrial snow melting mats use radiant heat technology to melt snow and ice on walkways, stairs and doorways, improving industrial winter safety.  Not only does Summerstep melt away the existing ice and snow, but as the storm continues, the path will stay clear as accumulating snow will instantly melt away.  Summerstep heated walkway mats can be linked together to match the length you need to ensure safe travels.  

Always use proper engineering controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) required by your employer in all work conditions.

 

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How to Winterize your IBC Tote

Fall isn’t just a time to start thinking about your Fantasy Football line ups, it’s also the time to start winterizing your IBC totes too. The color changes and crisp days are a good indicator that it’s time to take measures to protect the tote heater / ibc heatervaluable business assets stored in your IBCs. In this blog post, we’ll go over a few ways you can start preparing before the mercury drops too low. Better to prepare now, than to wait until a freeze happens and you are left scrambling to keep your IBCs warm.

Stack your Totes

Most IBC’s are designed in part to be stackable by means of a forklift. By stacking and grouping them together, you will cut down on the surface area of the totes exposed to cold air. This method certainly won’t keep the totes warm, but it may keep internal temps up by a degree or two.

Store Indoors

The most obvious solution to winterizing your tote tanks would be moving them into a climate controlled warehouse. The obvious drawback to this is the amount of space that IBC totes take up, as well as the outrageous heating costs of the warehouse. Another drawback for some, is the inability to localize the heat, or maintaining a certain viscosity- if you are storing liquids where this is important.

Use a Powerblanket

Perhaps the most efficient and controllable solution to winterize your IBC tote, the Powerblanket is an electrically-heated blanket that wraps around your IBC. We have ready-to-ship solutions for every popular size of tote. They come with or without an insulated lid, and they come with an adjustable thermostat that can not only reach, but hold at 145 degrees F. If our stocked tote heaters don’t fit your application, no problem, let us make you a custom one. We have a team of engineers onsite that can design a Powerblanket to fit any size, variation, and specification of your particular totes. Drop us a line.

Whether you store liquids, chemicals, or food items in IBCs, take the time to protect them now so that you can worry about your Fantasy lineup, instead of worrying about your business materials when you wake up and see frost on the ground.

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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-revised (1)A 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

 

 

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Concrete Blankets From Powerblanket®

Cement Curing Blankets

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

Concrete Curing Blankets

 

Why Electric Curing Blankets?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Additional Features:

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

 

Get the Case Study

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.

 

2016-01-05 09_16_31-Powerblanket___Propane_Tanks_Guide___v3__1_ (1).pdf - Adobe ReaderCaring 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.

 

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Gas Welding: How Best to Regulate It

Whether you refer to it as oxy-fuel welding, oxy welding, or simply gas welding, it doesn’t come without its challenges. While gas-welding is one of the oldest forms of welding, and while it can be pretty straightforward and simple, regulating your gas flow can be tricky.

 

Gas WeldingA  Consistent Extraction Rate

When it comes to producing clean and flawless weld joints, consistent temperature of your gas is an important matter to regulate. Whether you’re using acetylene, hydrogen, propane/butane, or propylene, the answer is the same: you need to maintain an ideal temperature for a consistent extraction rate. And you need a consistent extraction rate in order to create pretty and efficient weld joints.

Controlling your welds can be as simple as controlling the one variable that you can control, and that’s the temperature on your gas tank. Of course, when we say you can control it, it’s because we’ve created a way for you to do so. Perhaps before now, you haven’t considered heating your gas tank, unless you have to weld in cold conditions, then it’s probably crossed your mind plenty of times.

420 Pound Propane Tank HeaterEither way, having the ideal temperature in your tank facilitates ideal gas extraction, which in turn, offers ideal welding. Heating your tank, especially when working in cold weather, will increase the PSI considerably. Of course, you don’t want the PSI too high either, and that’s why we use the term regulated heat. Maintaining the ideal temperature will help produce the best flow rate and will prevent pin holing and spattering.

Whether you use a small or large tank for your gas welding, we have a solution for you. There aren’t many heating methods on the market, except Powerblanket’s. With the Powerblanket® tank heater as a part of the equation, cold weather performance will be improved.

Gas welding in cold weather will wreak havoc on your gas cylinders. When the temperature drops, it’s very difficult to maintain optimal pressure in a gas tank of any size. This prevents the gas from vaporizing, which will produce a lousy flow rate, causing pin holing and spattering in your weld joints. Powerblanket® offers a variety of gas cylinder heaters for controlling the temperature of propane, butane, nitrogen, oxygen and other compressed gases. Powerblanket gas cylinder heaters provide heat where you need it. Our superior heating solution reduces costs by optimizing container temperatures and increasing cylinder efficiency. What’s more they are certified to meet UL and CSA standards with options for hazardous location certifications, class I, division 1 and class I, division 2.

 

Powerblanket – Gas Cylinder Heaters:

  • Increase performance and efficiency of gas cylinders
  • Provide heat where you need it
  • Save money by optimizing gas and material usage
  • Safety certified to UL/CSA standards
  • Eliminate unnecessary cylinder refills in cold weather
  • Produce ideal flow rates
  • Eliminate pin holing and spattering in welding applications

 

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Custom Heating Solutions: What You Need to Know

So many industries need heating solutions, and not just during the cold months either. Epoxy curing, chemical storage, viscosity maintenance, food preparations, concrete curing, and much more can all benefit from innovative temperature regulation year round. And hey, that’s what we do.

 

Custom Heating BlanketsCustom Heating vs. Ready to Ship Products

Powerblanket® produces an extensive line of ready-to-ship products designed and engineered for a myriad of purposes. For example, if you store temperature-sensitive materials in drums, barrels, or totes, then our ready-to-ship barrel and drum heaters or tote heaters will accommodate your heating needs perfectly. If you store DEF, then take a look at our DEF heaters. If you have palletized product you need to keep warm, check out our Hot Box.

Along with all these great product offerings, however, one of our company’s greatest contributions to the industries we serve is the ability we have of producing custom heating solutions for just about any project under the sun.

We’re in November now, and many are thinking about the effect cold weather is going to have on their business continuity. Some will search high and low and feel frustration at the lack of solutions that fit their very specific need. If you’re reading this as one of those frustrated individuals, then take courage, because we specialize in this sort of thing.

Sometimes the word “custom” makes a process sound like it’s going to take a long time and cost a boatload of money. With some manufacturers, that may be true, but our manufacturing and customization process is fluid and effective, meaning that we can turn around a custom product in a reasonable window. In the case of Powerblanket, you can expect to be wowed.

So whether you need a heating solution for a large or oddly shaped propane tank, truck-mounted water cylinders, valves, manifolds, instrumentation, large scale epoxy curing, or any other specific application, then Powerblanket is ready to help.

 

Custom Heating Solutions from Powerblanket Offer:

  • A reasonable window for completion
  • The ability to answer varying levels of customization
  • Certification to universal safety standards
  • Easy installation and use

 

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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.

 

How to keep water tanks from freezingFreeze 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®.

 

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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.

 

Methane Hydrates

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.

 

Valve Heaters

Protect Your Agricultural Assets With Custom Heating Solutions

Forbes ran an article yesterday from Thomas Landstreet about the potential collapse in agricultural pricing. These estimations come at the cost of corn, pork, and beef especially. But whichever way the pendulum swings in the near future, one thing’s for certain: those in agriculture will need to safeguard their precious assets, and this could mean applying the proper custom heating solutions to help keep operating costs low.

 

The Agricultural Outlook

Protect Your Agricultural Assets With Custom Heating Solutions

According to Thomas Landstreet’s article on the matter, we should expect to experience a considerable drop in prices for the agricultural sector (that’s bad news) something Mr. Landstreet refers to as a retrenchment. So why the retrenchment, you ask? Well, according to Landstreet, there are two major factors that will contribute to the impending slide of the agricultural industry. One of them is something its faced time and time again, and that’s drought. Apparently the drought we passed through back in 2012 has created what Landstreet calls a bubble, one that he thinks will pop soon.

The second factor that is set to cause problems in the agricultural space is the ethanol mandate that allocated 40% of corn to creating an alternative fuel to petroleum. The effect of less corn going toward food supply has also contributed to the nearly bursting bubble. Whether the bubble bursts anytime soon or not, one thing is pertinent for the industry, and that is asset protection.

 

The Powerblanket® Contribution

If prices are to drop in the agricultural sector, then those involved in the industry are going to need to save on operating expenses where ever they can. Additionally, it’s going to be imperative to safeguard capital and resources. In the spirit of such, Powerblanket offers a myriad of possibilites in custom heating solutions for the agricultural space. So whether you need to keep large water tanks from freezing, propane storage at the ideal temperature, or DEF storage working in cold weather, Powerblanket has you covered.

Powerblanket custom heating solutions offer the most cost-effective and efficient heating solution on the market. With our patented approach to heating, we can ensure even heat distribution over the entire service area of application. What’s more, in case of temperature-sensitive storage maintenance, Powerblanket heating solutions actually add efficiency to the equation, such as in the case of ourpropane tank heaters. Add to this our revolutionary smart controllers and our new 3D scanningcapabilities, and Powerblanket becomes the clear choice.

 

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Powerblanket® Outperforms Heat Trace

When it comes to maintaining and protecting the precious valves and instrumentations on your pipes or pipeline, Powerblanket valve heaters and instrumentation heaters outperform the best heat trace. If that seems like a bold statement, read on to find out how and why.

Powerblanket® Outperforms Heat Trace

Heat Trace vs. Powerblanket

Heat trace, often times referred to synonymously astrace heating, is a common form of providing heat and freeze protection to pipes and pipe valves, manifolds, and instrumentation. Trace heating (TH) has been around for a long time, but the cons associated with the technology are still present today. While TH offers a great solution for long stretches of pipeline sitting above ground, it certainly has its limitations when it comes to protecting valves, actuators, and instrumentation from cold weather.

One potential downside or setback related to TH installation is the requirements that come with its use. If a company is going to install TH on their piping system, they’re going to have to hire a certified electrician to do it. This translates into more time and more money. What’s more, once it’s installed, it’s permanent, whether it gets in the way or not. And while TH works well with metal piping instruments, due to the conductive nature of the material, it doesn’t work with anything else.

Benefits of the Powerblanket Solution

TH amounts to installing heated wires to the external surface or your pipes and instrumentation, but this isn’t the best option when it comes to protecting your assets from the cold. Applied heat, and insulation are what’s needed, and TH only offers conductive heat. Powerblanket valve heaters and instrumentation heaters, on the other hand, offer the best combination of both. With Powerblanket, you can easy install, uninstall, reinstall our rugged vinyl blanket to add an insulated wrap of direct heat to keep your instrumentation at the ideal temperature, regardless of the weather.

In addition to this, Powerblanket instrumentation heaters offer the most consistent and efficient heat distribution on the market. With our patented technology and proprietary blend of materials, Powerblanket heaters provide even and regulated heat distribution throughout the entire surface area of application. What’s more, our custom approach makes our technology available to fit the biggest, smallest, or most uniquely shaped instruments around.

So whether you’re looking to protect small, large, or oddly shaped instrumentation, look no further than Powerblanket.

 

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Concrete Curing: Not Just a Wintertime Problem

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

 

Concrete Curing- Not Just a Wintertime Problem

Summertime Concreting

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

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

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

 

Using a Concrete Curing Blanket in the Summer?

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

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

 

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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?

 

Heat Tape—And the Better Solution 1

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.

 

Heat Tape—And the Better Solution 2

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…

 

Winter Preparation- Now’s the Time

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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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, and now you’re curious. 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. Read here to learn more about the uses and value of trace heating.

 

Heat Trace- What You Should Know

Understanding How it 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. 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 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.

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. 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.

 

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Why The Warm Winter?

Have you been asking yourself: where did winter go this year? Well, it seems a natural question to ask, considering the uncommonly warm winter much of the United States and Canada have been experiencing. However, this winter and the warmer weather it brings, isn’t due to climate change; it’s a bit simpler than that.

 

Why The Warm Winter?

Suspect #1: The Jet Stream

That’s right, the Jet Stream. If you’re not familiar with what the Jet Stream is, here’s a simple definition: The Jet Stream is a fast, high-altitude, westerly wind. As shown in the image to the right, there are two types of jet streams at work in both the northern and southern hemispheres. These two types of jet streams, polar and subtropical, play a large role in weather patterns worldwide.

Now, when you ask yourself: what has caused this bizarre winter, you have the answer—the Jet Stream. Apparently, this year the Jet Stream has played farther north than it has in a while, and we’re talking the polar jet stream in this case. Usually this time of year, the polar jet stream dips south and brings with it that freezing arctic air. But with the polar jet stream maintaining more northerly latitudes over the last few months, it has allowed the subtropical jet stream to move farther north than it usually is this time of year—bringing with it the warmer, subtropical air.

 

What Does This Mean In the Long Run?

Naturally, the next question to follow would be something to the effect of next winter’s forecast. Can we expect this trend to follow into next year? Well, it doesn’t take a meteorologist to tell you that weather can be a very difficult thing to predict. For all we know, next winter could be the coldest one yet. The key, then, is to be prepared. As a case in point, in 1962 a huge artic blast (via a plunging polar jet stream) dipped into the northwestern US—dropping temperatures as low as -40° F in the southwestern United States. Evidently, this cold blast eventually caused snow fall on the Gulf Coast. Now who would have predicted that?

1962 was a year that set many records, but the truth remains, and it’s as pertinent today as it was then. Whenever winter approaches, it’s best to play it safe. Plan for the worst, and if the weather throws a surprise your way in the form of warm temperatures, then you’ll still be ready for next winter. Besides, while winters like 1962’s are rare, what’s even rarer is a winter like 2015.

 

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