Cold weather conditions can present a number of hurdles when it comes to pumping concrete. If concrete freezes in the hopper or boom, this can have a significant effect on its flow through the pipeline – causing you various problems. However, there are some simple solutions to ensure that pumping concrete during the winter season is less of a hassle.
Mix the concrete with hot water
To stop concrete from freezing when temperatures drop, hot water should be mixed in during the waiting and delivery period. Concrete should also be mixed with hot water during the priming process to prevent any blockages if slurry freezes when in the pipeline.
Insulating pipelines can also be beneficial when using concrete in cold weather. Many companies already do this, and although the insulation process will vary, it will usually involve foam tubes being placed around the pipeline, and then attached firmly in place. This material preserves heat, and ensures that concrete flows as effectively as possible, even in winter weather. The pipeline should never be left exposed during winter when it’s not being used, and insulating the unit can ensure that pipes are protected from the elements.
Warming the boom up
It’s important to let the boom warm up if concrete becomes frozen. The pumping of concrete should be halted until the unit has thawed, then it should be cleaned out thoroughly. Only then should you re-start the pumping process.
Preheating the pipeline
Preheating the pipeline can be effective, especially if you use an exhaust hose. A heat resistant hose can withstand hot temperatures, and can be placed on an exhaust pipe, allowing more air to flow through the pipes and the leave the hopper. There will need to be an open pathway for the air to exit the unit, otherwise this air will cause pressure on the truck’s engine and cause further problems.
Use a concrete accelerator
Using a concrete accelerator can speed up the time it takes for concrete to set. An additive such as calcium chloride can be extremely beneficial in this situation, and can be used when temperatures drop during the winter months. Remember – you should refrain from using an accelerator when the weather gets warmer.
Here at EKA Concrete we have years of experience pumping concrete for our clients in all manner of weather conditions so you can be sure we will take all steps necessary to supply your concrete effectively, even in freezing conditions. We take care of our pipelines to prevent concrete from becoming frozen by insulating it to protect against cold temperatures.
We understand that if the slurry begins to freeze, it can lower the quality of the end product and even cause a blockage which could hold up your project. That’s why we keep our pumps clean and well maintained to ensure our pumping process remains effective, whatever the weather.