How to Shovel Snow: Tips and Techniques

If you’ve spent even a few minutes behind a snow shovel, you know how exhausting and labor intensive removing snow can be. According to Harvard Medical School’s “Calories Burned…” chart, shoveling snow burns approximately 223 calories every 30 minutes (for a person weighing 155 lbs). That’s a serious workout! However, while shoveling snow can be an effective way to engage in healthy exercise, it can also lead to serious injury if it’s not approached carefully.  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. To help prevent any injuries, serious or minor, we’ve compiled the following “how-to” guide with plenty of shoveling tips and techniques:

 

Before Shoveling Snow:

  • Consider health risks. If you suffer from a heart condition, a bad back, or are out of shape, shoveling snow can be dangerous. Consider alternatives such as borrowing a snow blower or hiring a neighborhood teenager to shovel for you.
  • Wear proper footwear. You should wear shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry and with adequate traction that will help prevent any slips or falls.
  • Dress in layers. After a few minutes of shoveling, you’ll likely work up quite the sweat! Dress in layers that don’t restrict movement and will keep you warm, but can easily be removed as needed.
  • Stretch. Warming up your muscles, especially arms, legs, and back, will reduce the risk of injury.
  • Make sure you have a good shovel. An ergonomically designed snow shovel can greatly reduce strain on arms, legs, and back as you work. (Check out this list we compiled of top rated snow shovels)

Getting to Work!

  • Shovel early. Don’t let snow ice over before shoveling. This creates dangerous, slippery surfaces and significantly more work. Salt can be used to help break up ice, but causes damage to driveways and walkways.  
  • Shovel frequently. Don’t let snow accumulate more than a couple of inches before shoveling. It’s safer and much more effective to shovel small amounts more frequently through the day rather than a large amount all at once.
  • Clear deep snow a bit at a time. If you do find yourself facing deep snow, clear away just a couple of inches at a time. This will prevent overexertion and bodily strain.
  • Push. It’s far more effective to spend more time pushing than lifting. Use your shovel to push snow to the edge of your driveway or walkway then lift to designated snow pile.
  • Mind your posture. Keep your back straight and bed at the knees (not back!) when lifting.
  • Take breaks and drink water. As mentioned earlier, shoveling snow is hard physical labor! Never hesitate to take breaks as needed and drink plenty of water to replenish fluids.

Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

An effective alternative to shoveling doorways and walkways is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat. These 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.

Winter Safety Tips

In preparation for the winter months, it’s important to consider what measures you will take to exercise proper safety precautions in both your home and commercial or industrial workplace.  During 2014, the United States Department of Labor recorded 42,480 workplace injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate. Of these reported incidents, 82% resulted from slips or falls on level ground (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Planning and preparing can save you significant money in the long run and prevent serious injuries. We suggest you consider the following winter safety tips as you plan how you will best maintain a safe environment at your home or workplace during cold, snowy, or icy weather.

 

Home Safety

Before winter months hit, it’s important to check that your home is prepared. Damage from frozen pipes or faulty heating systems can be expensive and even deadly.

  • Check that your home is properly insulated (walls and attic), that you have adequate storm windows, and that windows and doors are caulked.
  • Have your heating systems professionally checked and serviced. It’s important that they are clean, working properly and ventilate to the outside.
  • Make sure you are equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and are familiar with the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
  • Remove tree branches that could become heavy with ice or snow and fall on your home.
  • If possible, shut off outside water valves.
  • To protect exposed pipes, allow a small trickle of water run from connected faucets.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature day and night and leave it set to no lower than 55°F while away from home for an extended time. The extra cost of heating your home is minuscule in comparison to the expensive cost of damages from frozen or burst pipes.
  • If your home has a fireplace, use a glass or metal screen to prevent sparks or even rollings logs from making their way to flammable carpet or furniture.
  • When using a space heater, follow the three-foot rule- keep any surrounding items at least three feet away from your heater.
  • Before going to bed, make sure any space heaters are turned off and fire embers are fully extinguished.

 

Workplace Safety

It’s never a good idea to cut corners when it comes to safety during snowy or icy winter months. This is especially true when you have a responsibility for the safety of your employees and patrons. Taking extra time to plan and create a safe work environment will prevent injury and keep your workday running smoothly.

  • If you work at a commercial retail property, it’s important to keep in mind that the last months of the year will likely be some of your busiest. During these periods of larger crowds, it’s more important than ever to keep walkways clear of pallets, boxes, or other items. Remember: safety first!
  • Take extra time to keep floors clean and dry. Any snow that gets tracked into your workplace can quickly create a dangerously slippery surface.
  • Use “wet floor” signs where necessary.
  • Provide adequate lighting in your workplace that will help illuminate any wet or slippery surfaces.
  • Encourage employees to wear slip-resistant footwear.
  • If you are working on a project outdoors, review your work site safety every day. Surfaces can become dangerously slippery overnight.
  • Schedule outside work in shorter increments and break up large projects into smaller tasks.
  • Establish a warm area for employees to take breaks from outside work.
  • Keep track of weather forecasts. The last thing you want is for your employees to be stuck working outside in a terrible snow storm or severely cold temperatures.
  • Ensure that employees wear appropriate clothing for outside work such as a wind resistant coat or jacket, a hat, scarf, mittens, and waterproof boots.
  • Make sure that employees stay dry. Wet clothing loses its ability to insulate and quickly transmits cold temperatures to the body.
  • Be familiar with and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and get immediate medical attention for any symptoms.
  • Sprinkle icy surfaces with sand to provide traction or salt to melt the ice.

 

Avoid Slip and Fall Accidents

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 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.

 

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

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

 

 

Frozen Ground: Understanding How and Why it Freezes

On December 31, 1967, the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys competed for the NFL Championship in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They played in temperatures as low as -25° Celsius (-13º Fahrenheit). The players noticed that the field became so hard their cleats could not dig into the normally soft soil. They slipped and struggled to stay upright. Why? The ground had frozen solid. This historic game is known as the Ice Bowl.  Frozen ground played havoc with the game.

Frozen Ground

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

What makes the ground freeze?

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

How does the density of water affect frozen ground?

When water turns into ice, it can expand with great force and cause the ground to swell. In areas with a cold winter season frozen ground can damage roads. For example, water turning to ice under roads sometime creates frost heave. The expanding ice pushes up the road and creates a hump, which later, after a thaw, will create potholes  and sunken sections in a roadway.

The ground below is not all the same temperature

When the temperature of the ground drops below 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit), it freezes; however, the ground temperature can be different from the temperature of the air above it. Layers deep within the ground may be colder or warmer than layers near the surface of the ground.

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

The ground is not the only thing that insulates itself from the air. For example, imagine a lake on a hot summer day. The first few feet of the lake will be warm. But closer to the bottom of the lake, the water will be much cooler. The Sun’s heat has less effect on the water deeper below the surface. This layering of temperatures is called a temperature gradient.

The type of soil in an area also affects how the ground will store heat. Loose soils like sand have more space for water and ice forms more easily. Dense soils with small particles do not have as much space for water. Clay, for example, does not freeze as easily as sand.

How deep does the ground freeze?

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

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

energybalance_small

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

Credit: NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center

 

Heat is also coming from the inside of the Earth. The Earth’s core is very hot, and its heat moves towards the surface–geothermal heat flux (Figure 2).

insideearth

Figure 2. Deep inside, the Earth is hot. The mantle and liquid outer core are molten rock. The inner core is solid, but it too is hot. This heat moves through Earth’s layers to the surface.

Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

 

Heat from volcanoes, rivers, lakes, and other sources can also spread through the ground. This heat keeps some areas unfrozen, even though surface temperatures are low.

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

How does the local landscape affect frozen ground?

Temperature swings, seasonal changes, and location are not the only things that affect frozen ground. Snow, soil, plants, and other aspects of the local landscape also affect frozen ground.

Snow

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

Soil type

Some soils freeze more easily than others. Light-colored soils freeze sooner and stay frozen longer than dark soils. Light-colored soils and rocks reflect sunlight, keeping the ground cooler.

Peat

Peat is soil that forms when dead plants do not decompose all the way. Peat is found in marshy areas that form when the active layer thaws. The ground under peat is usually colder than ground not covered by a peat layer.  In the winter, peat freezes and allows heat to leave the ground. Because the heat escapes, more frozen ground and permafrost form.

Plants

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

Slopes

Hillsides and mountain slopes can affect frozen ground and permafrost.

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

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

Lakes and rivers

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

The Powerblanket® Solution for Frozen Ground

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

 

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

—Kim Herman OSP/COEI Operations Manager Precision Utilities Groupfrozen ground

 

Why Choose Powerblanket Ground Heaters?

  • High power density thaws frozen ground
  • Quickly remove frost prior to concrete pour
  • Melt snow and ice from roofs, walkways, and construction areas
  • Easily installed and removed
  • Provides higher heat control when combined with a thermostatic controller
  • Saves time, money, and labor

learn-more-ground-thawing-01

 

“All About Frozen Ground.” National Snow and Ice Data Center. Accessed 20 December 2016. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/frozenground.

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

learn-more-summerstep-01

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

learn-more-concrete-blankets-01

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

learn-more-ground-thawing-01

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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Winter Roofing

WINTER ROOFING AND POWERBLANKET HOT BOXES

Winter is full of fun activities: skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing are just a few. You’ll notice roofing did not make the list. Winter roofing is not at the top of anyone’s list, especially since low temperatures complicate the application process; but it becomes a necessity when your roof is damaged. Read on for some winter roofing tips.

HERE COMES THE SUNWinter Roofing

Most roofing materials utilize adhesives that require warm weather (or an artificial heat source) to cure and fasten. This means the best time to replace a roof is during the warmer months. Usually, radiation from the sun would soften the adhesive, allowing it to seal the shingles together properly. Colder than 70 degrees and the glue stays too viscous, leading to weathering and erosion. Installing a roof in the winter, without the proper precautions, will lead it to fail quickly, if not immediately. In warm weather, the sun’s heat will properly bond most roofing materials: asphalt shingle (also known as composition shingle), EPDM (rubber) single-ply membrane, roll roofing, peel and stick roofing, and modified bitumen. It becomes more expensive and more difficult to apply these materials in cold weather.

ASPHALT SHINGLES AND ANY WEATHER ROOFINGwinter roofing temperature guide any weather roofing

If winter installation is unavoidable, most asphalt shingle manufacturers require that a specialized adhesive be manually applied to each shingle for temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). If shingles are applied below 40 degrees without the specialized adhesive, the manufacturer will void any warranty. This is because a cold climate not only effects the adhesive, but the actual shingles are less flexible and more likely to break if dropped. To help avoid this, try leaving your product in a warm truck bed as long as possible before bringing it up onto the cold roof.

If you plan to do roof repair in winter, you need an artificial heat source to keep your asphalt shingles warm until installation. The best temperature to install a roof is between 70 and 80° Fahrenheit (21 and 27° Celsius). If it’s warmer than 80 degrees, asphalt shingles have the opposite problem of becoming overly pliable. This leads contractors to overdrive nails, and foot traffic to easily erode the roof. Consider leaving your shingles in shaded areas when the weather is too hot.

EPDM

EPDM (rubber) membrane roofing is even more sensitive to its environment than asphalt shingles. Like a composition roof, EPDM requires high temperatures to soften the adhesive needed for curing. Even at high temperatures EPDM can be difficult to work with because it is so thick. As a result, manufacturers recommend it be higher than 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) to install EPDM. This temperature obviously isn’t very practical unless installers have a warm storage area to keep the adhesive pliable until it is used.

THINK INSIDE THE BOX: POWERBLANKET HOT BOXES

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

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

Powerblanket Pallet Warmers:

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

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In depth information about roofing obtained from “Cold Weather Roofing.” ProRoofing.com. 14 November, 2016. www.proroofingwisconsin.com/cold-weather-roofing.html

and “How to Properly Stack Shingles on a Roof.” https://www.iko.com/na/residential/building-professional/how-to-stack-shingles-on-a-roof/

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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Ground Thawing Blankets: Prep Frozen Ground with Powerblanket

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

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

Ground Thawing for Commercial Plumbing

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

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

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

Why Powerblanket Ground Thawing Blankets?

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

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DEF Freezing and DEF in Cold Weather

DEF Freezing and DEF in Cold Weather

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

Understanding DEF and SCR

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

Storing DEF

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

DEF Freeze Protection

DEF Expires

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

Be Good to DEF

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

At what temperature does DEF freeze?

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

DEF Freezing and Expansion

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

How to Prevent DEF Freezing?

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

Can Anything Be Added to Prevent DEF Freezing?

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

DEF Tote Heaters from Powerblanket®

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

DEF Tote Heater Prevent DEF FreezingHere’s How

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

 

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Sources

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

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

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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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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The Mansfield D1 Expo and Powerblanket® DEF Heaters

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

 

The Mansfield D1 Expo and Powerblanket® DEF Heaters

Mansfield’s Expo

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

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

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

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

 

 

Further Contributions from Powerblanket

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

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

 

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Showcasing Our DEF Storage Heater at the Mansfield D1 Expo

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

 

Mansfield Oil

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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 while your concrete cures.

 

Using a Concrete Curing Blanket in the Summer?

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

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

 

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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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