5 Helpful Tips for Winter Construction Efficiency

Construction crews deal with an added layer of difficulty in the freezing winter months. Tasks that are simple and straightforward in warmer weather suddenly take more time and come with more personal risk to the construction crew. Common practices may need to be altered to approach a winter project in a safer way, while maintaining time efficiency in order to meet deadlines. Here are five helpful winter construction tips to keep your projects on schedule.

1- Keep Your Employees Safe

Safety on job sites should always be the top priority of general contractors. As the person overseeing the crew’s efforts, it falls to you to ensure that the amount of personal risk to each of your employees is minimal. Construction comes with a certain level of risk at any time of the year, but it is greatly heightened during the winter months. Extra precautions should be created and regularly enforced. This not only protects your workers – it also keeps your project moving along at a good pace to meet your deadline and increases overall efficiency.

Here are some of the most common winter construction dangers your crew may face:

  • Increased Risk of Slipping Due to Ice
  • Falls From Great Heights
  • Cold Stress
  • Injuries from Snow Removal Machinery
  • Accidents Due to Limited Mobility From Personal Protective Clothing

Workers may experience negative symptoms from working in the cold for long hours. General contractors are responsible for providing frequent breaks in heated areas. Proper protective clothing should be encouraged. Even with this clothing, always be on the lookout for signs of cold stress in the form of hypothermia, frostbite, or trench foot. These include sudden clumsiness, slurred speech, numbness, grey-looking skin, weakness, and tingling. Encourage your workers to look for the signs in themselves and their coworkers.

One of the main ways you can protect your employees is to remove snow and ice before any work takes place. If you use traditional snow-removal methods, such as shoveling, the ground will likely still be slippery due to a remaining thin layer of ice. Always add ice melt to the surfaces to ensure that risk of falling is kept to a minimum. This absolutely applies to those working at great heights such as scaffoldings as well. One of the number 1 ways workers get injured, or even die, is from falling accidents. Don’t let it be on your watch.

At Powerblanket, we are dedicated to supplying our customers with construction heating solutions that really work. We offer the very best in snow removal to keep your construction workers on safe job sites. Consider our top-of-the-line snow melting mats for your next project.

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 (and safer too!)
  • More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces.)
  • Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
  • 40 Watts/Sq Ft heated area
  • The ONLY snow-melting mat product made in the USA

 

2- Maintain Integrity of Concrete

 

In addition to creating a safe work environment, other factors contribute to your winter construction efficiency. One of these is maintaining the integrity of your concrete. Pouring concrete in cold weather takes longer than in warmer months. This is because the concrete will set more slowly. Not only will it take more time, but concrete is also more high-maintenance in the cold because it cannot freeze while curing, yet it is in great danger of doing just that. If it freezes within the first 24 hours, the concrete can weaken by up to 50 percent, leaving your work unsatisfactory to customers in the long run. And no construction company wants that, right?

When working with concrete in the winter, it’s not just the actual concrete you need to think about. Never pour concrete on frozen ground. When the ground thaws in the future, it can settle and cause concrete cracking issues. 

Avoid the headache – do it right the first time. 

Here are just a few general tips for winter concrete work to help you out:

  • Mix Cement with Hot Water
  • Use Quick-Set Cement
  • Keep Concrete Between 50-60 Degrees Fahrenheit Once Poured

Want to know the most efficient way to cure that cold-weather concrete? Use Powerblanket’s Concrete Curing Blankets! 

Here are just a few of the many benefits general contractors can expect with our concrete curing blankets:

  • Cure Concrete 2.8 Times Faster Than Conventional Insulated Blankets
  • Product Cold Weather Concreting Strength of 3,925 psi In 72 Hours
  • Maintain Moisture Throughout Hydrating Process
  • Easily Installed and Removed
  • Maintain ACI Compliance for Cold-Weather Concreting Certified to UL and CSA Standards

 

3- Don’t Let Frozen Ground Slow You Down

 

Ever gotten to a site, only to realize that the ground was frozen solid? Certainly not the best working conditions, especially when it comes to efficiency. Frozen ground means at least twice the effort with about half the reward. It’s an absolute “no-go” if you want to keep your project moving along at a consistent pace. 

Whether you’re digging trenches or working with earthmoving equipment to excavate a build site, you need ground that is ready for the job. When earth freezes, it can go down a foot or more, leaving very little chance of successfully preparing the ground for your project’s next steps. This can cause time delays, increase stress, and strain relationships with your customers. In the end, the customer simply wants the job done and does not factor in all the weather variables that may affect the final deadline. That’s your job.

But Powerblanket is here to help! Here are the benefits of choosing our ground thawing blankets for your projects.

  • High Power Density Capabilities Thaw 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 Weather
  • Certified to UL and CSA Standards

 

4- Keep Materials Warm

 

Perhaps one of the fastest ways to lose out on potential profits for the company is failing to protect your valuable materials. General contractors know just how important it is to save their materials, as the initial price bid given to the customer is dependent on how much material will be used, and how much it will cost. Failing to store and maintain the materials at the appropriate temperatures will affect the bottom line, causing big profit loss, or even losing money on a project.  

So why not avoid the disappointment and get it right the first time? Whether it’s paint, epoxy, plaster, concrete, gases, or any other materials you work with regularly, get them covered so they work for you when you need them most. 

The smart choice is Powerblanket’s Hot Box. Check out our bragging rights for this incredible product.

Quick and Easy Assembly

  • Preserve Temperature Sensitive Material
  • Keep Products From Freezing or Overheating
  • Adjustable Thermostatic Controllers
  • Hold Products Between 100-120 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heat Materials and Palletized Products: Adhesives, Shingles, Paint, Caulk, Resins Epoxies, etc.
  • Access Doors on Two Sides
  • Certified to UL and CSA Standards

 

5- Use a Propane Heater

 

Whether propane serves to keep your vehicles running, keeps your water running, or your workers warm, it’s essential to the winter construction job site. When propane freezes in the tank, it becomes utterly useless. Tanks will freeze when they reach -44 degrees fahrenheit. Cold weather also decreases the propane tank’s extraction rate, which is how quickly and smoothly you can extract propane from the tank. 

Without propane…

Your crew can’t use its vehicles for the various tasks at hand, and the heavy cost is decreased efficiency on the entire project. 

A lack of ready-to-use water leads to complications with concrete and other materials, as well as cleaning. 

Improper heating can stall important tasks such as drywall installation and painting.

Not to mention those grumpy, freezing workers. So that’s fun, right? 

Keep your propane flowing the way it’s meant to with Powerblanket’s Propane Tank Heaters!

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

Simply put, we at Powerblanket are 100% dedicated to keeping your construction projects running smoothly and efficiently all year long. Don’t fall victim to the pains that winter can bring. 

Experience the Powerblanket difference. Call our experienced team today at 801.506.0198.

Learn More About Winter Construction Solutions

The Effects of Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

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

How Does Concrete Cure?

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

Slower Chemical Reactions

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

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

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

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

How to avoid a bad concrete pour:

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

Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets

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

We Solve Problems

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

 

Learn More About Concrete Curing Blankets

Drum Insulation Blanket

Drum Insulation Blankets
Drum Blanket strapped onto drum with powerblanket logoFrom foods to a variety of chemicals and epoxies or resins, proper storage of your industrial materials is important. Without the right storage conditions, the quality of materials is compromised, leading to lost money on wasted products and ineffective heating methods.

HEATING METHODS

There are a few heating methods for drums and barrels, but some will end up causing you more of a headache. Drums hold a lot of product and offer a durable storage structure for liquids, chemicals, food product, and more. However, when it comes time for temperature regulation, they don’t provide any capabilities on their own. 

Traditional insulation blankets lack the ability to bring your material to working temperature, in addition to inadequately protecting against the savage cold. Take, for example, the need to bring certain types of product to temperatures above the ambient air around it. A typical insulation blanket has no way to accommodate this. 

While cartridge heaters are also an option, they can be a lot more work. Cartridge heaters heat a small area, require precise tolerances for drilled holes and need additional exterior insulation. They are used most often for molds or metal parts and inserted into drilled holes. Heating from the inside works well for some applications, but uneven heat is a common issue for cartridge heaters.

Man wrapping industrial heating blanket around blue drum/barrelHowever, Powerblanket has created a drum blanket that can protect your most sensitive products against the coldest cold. With a thermostatic controller and innovative heat-spreading technology, you can wrap your drum and forget about it.

THE POWERBLANKET DIFFERENCE

Of all the heating devices out there for the protection of drums and barrels, this drum blanket is one that’s done right. With even heat distribution and temperature regulation, Powerblanket has a solution fit for any occasion. 

Freeze Protection

Wrap anything in a Powerblanket drum heater and you’ll never use another band heater or blower again. Powerblanket heated drum blankets takes the hassle out of heating your barrels & totes with an insulated barrier of warmth from top to bottom. They offer a full-wrap, insulated design for superior control and freeze protection. This ensures that there is even heat distribution, preventing hot and cold spots that could be damaging to your material. You also have multiple sizes & temperature settings to choose from.

Improve Viscosity and Flow

Storing material in freezing weather can result in higher viscosity, while hot spots creates lower viscosity, resulting in increased flow. Improper storage and heating methods can be especially problematic for temperature-sensitive material. If it becomes too hot or cold, it be very time-consuming to achieve required viscosity again, and may completely ruin certain materials. Viscosity issues can cause a multitude of problems with productivity and money.

The ability to automate your freeze protection is a huge benefit once the cold weather rolls around, and the capability of bringing liquids and other products to higher temperatures for viscosity maintenance, chemical-property enablement, or characteristic integrity is of equal importance. Heating sensitive materials has never been easier with drum blankets, available in fixed temperature or adjustable control.

Other Highlighted Features 

– Quickly heat both metal & poly drums and totes

– Easy to power, connects in seconds

– Protects delicate materials from freezing

– Ideal for heating foods, oils, chemicals, water, and paints

– Keeps the heat in – and the cold out!

– 10X more effective than a band heater or blower

– Water resistant

– Safe for indoor use 

– UL / CSA compliant

Powerblanket drum blankets offer a range of options to best suit your needs. They are available in three sizes from 15 gallon to 55 gallon, as well as three product classes for your required level of temperature control.

Whatever industry you are in, protecting your materials is vital. Proper storage conditions that you don’t have to think twice about makes it easier for you to focus on other aspects of your business. Check out more benefits of Powerblanket’s drum heaters here. Whether you need a drum blanket for insulation, heat regulation, or a combination of the two, Powerblanket is the clear answer.

Learn More About Drum and Barrel Heaters