When the weather gets particularly cold, construction workers and excavation companies need to take some additional measures to make sure work is able to continue safely and efficiently. The frozen ground can be very difficult to work with, so this is where ground heaters come in.
But what is a ground heater, and what are some of the most common ground heater uses in Pennsylvania? Here’s an overview of what you should know.
What is a ground heater, and why use it?
A ground heater is a piece of equipment used at construction and excavation sites to thaw out ground that is frozen at the surface. The result is earth that is much softer and therefore easier to work with and dig through, speeding up the process during cold-weather digging.
Some of the primary benefits of using a ground heater include:
- You can extend the working season throughout the winter months, giving you more options for completing important construction and excavation projects.
- You create less physical strain on workers, decreasing the risk of injuries and making the work less labor intensive.
- You improve your ability to stay on track with your project timelines thanks to the ground heater making the work go more efficiently.
- You lessen the strain on the equipment as well, as it will not have to work nearly as hard to dig through the otherwise frozen ground.
Available types of ground heaters
There are a couple different types of ground heaters you can choose from, depending on the kind of project you’re taking on.
A hydronic heater uses a type of heating method that involves a boiler, a hose, a blower fan, insulated blankets, a vapor barrier and a propylene glycol mixture. In this process, you lay out a hose in loops around the entire ground area you intend to heat. The boiler then heats up the mixture until it gets to a certain temperature, allowing it to conduct heat to the area. That mixture pumps through the hose, which heats the ground. A blower fan blows the heated air all across the ground that is to be heated, and a vapor barrier and insulated blankets are used over the hose to prevent moisture and heat from escaping. All this allows for a more workable ground area.
A ground thawing blanket is another type of heating method, which uses only a heating blanket and an electricity source. This is obviously the simpler option, and provides greater convenience and portability. It takes less time to install and then remove the blanket versus the hydronic heater, and doesn’t require very much preparation. Simply spread the blanket out over the area to be heated, plug it into a source of electricity and then wait as the electricity powers the heating elements to heat up the ground. These blankets will usually have an upper insulated layer to trap the heat.
For more information about ground heaters and their uses and benefits, contact a construction equipment supplier in Pennsylvania like Central Equipment Company with your questions.