It's too soon to know how severe a winter we will have in the Midwest this year. And cold weather can present challenges when it comes to pumping concrete. If concrete freezes in the hopper or boom, it will stop pumping until the machine has been warmed up. Once the machine is warm, the concrete needs to be cleaned out and fresh concrete needs to be added. Then pumping can resume.
There are several procedures to follow to avoid concrete freezing in cold weather. They include:
Mixing the concrete with hot water. If concrete is mixed using very hot water, it will keep the concrete from freezing during delivery and the waiting time.
Insulating the pipeline. The insulation used is typically a foam tube cut and placed around the pipe, taped/attached firmly to stay in place. Foam will preserve the heat of the concrete, and ensure that it flows normally. Insulating the unit like this also protects the pipes from the winter elements.
Preheating the pipeline. Preheating a pipeline is also helpful. If you use a high-temperature resistant hose, it can be placed on an exhaust pipe, which allows more air to flow through the pipes and leave the hopper. It needs to be set up with an open pathway for the air to exit the unit to avoid causing pressure on the truck's engine.
Accelerating the setting of concrete. One way to speed up the process of setting concrete is to use an additive, or accelerator, such as calcium chloride.
It's equally important to adhere to the pump manufacturer's recommendation as far as using equipment in sub-degree temperatures to avoid damage to the equipment.
In addition to properly operating concrete pumping equipment in cold weather, there are safety procedures that are essential to follow. This includes wearing the appropriate personal protective gear and insulated gloves as well as using caution to avoid slips and falls during and after clean out of pipes .