Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean your spring construction timeline has to be put on ice until spring and warmer weather arrives.
Every year, the construction industry faces the challenges of overcoming frozen ground and concrete curing. It’s an obstacle that requires time, money and a lot of effort to conquer. Waiting for warmer weather isn’t an option for many general contractors operating on strict deadlines.
While there is a wide range of thawing solutions, we’re going to focus on the most effective for ground thawing and concrete curing: ground heaters.
GROUND HEATER APPLICATIONS
- Ground Thawing: In winter and early spring, ground heaters are often employed to soften the frozen ground and make excavation easier.
- Concrete Curing: Ground heaters are a vital piece of equipment for concrete curing. Due to pores in concrete, water can freeze inside the uncured mixture. In fact, if the ground’s temperature drops below 40 degrees F (4.44 degrees C), concrete won’t be able to strengthen or settle. Ground heaters can keep the ground — and concrete above the ideal temperature of 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).
- Bonus: In addition to thawing the ground and curing concrete, the heat intensity will also help keep your team working outside warm.
To meet project specifications, contractors are required to prevent the ground from freezing or to thaw it before placing concrete. Once the ground is adequately thawed above 40 degrees, the concrete’s pouring, finishing, and curing can commence.
Curing, which plays a vital role in the strength and durability of the concrete, involves maintaining proper moisture and temperature conditions at all depths of the pour. Because curing can be a lengthy process with ground slabs and structural concrete requiring a minimum curing period of seven days (and in some cases up to 14 days), ground heaters provide the around-the-clock attention contractors need to ensure a solid build.
But what type and size ground heater are right for you?
The three types of ground heaters effective for both ground thawing and concrete curing include hydronic surface heaters, hydronic central heaters, and, to a lesser extent, self-contained heaters.
Hydronic Surface Heaters
These self-contained trailer-mounted ground heaters are designed to operate on remote job sites with their burners heating fluid that’s pumped through a small hose up to 3,000 feet in length. With long, extended run times ranging from 72-140 hours, hydronic surface heaters offer thawing capacities of 6,000 square feet and concrete curing capacities of 18,000 square feet.
Hydronic Central Heaters
For the largest ground thawing and concrete curing projects, hydronic central heaters may be the way to go. Hydronic central heaters are the perfect choice for the most challenging and massive heating projects with ground thawing and concrete curing capacities of 18,000 and 48,000 square feet, respectively, plus 1.2 million BTUs. In addition to thawing and curing, the heater is ideal for fluid heating and dehumidification.
If you still aren’t certain what heater is right for your thawing or concrete curing project, call your local Herc Rentals representative at 1-800-654-6659.