Will Concrete Pumps Work in Cold Weather?

You’re looking at cold weather concrete placement when the temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit). While pouring concrete in the winter, there are various recommendations and strategies to keep in mind.

When laying concrete by concrete pump in the winter, it’s important to keep in mind that it won’t solidify right away. Rapid hydration of concrete can result in a variety of undesirable qualities as well as a poor finish.

Allow adequate time for the concrete to harden so that it can develop compressive strength; this also aids in the removal of forms without damaging the corners and edges.

To avoid cracks and ensure optimal serviceability, you must maintain the proper conditions for quality concrete curing.

Many contractors confront challenges such as work delays that force them to labour in harsh conditions. During the winter, for example, you might need to use a concrete pump.

This article offers some advice that a new concrete contractor will find valuable if he or she ever has to work in the cold.

Will Concrete Pumps Work in Cold Weather

Make Use Of Hot Water

When temperatures dip during the concrete pouring operation, concrete might freeze in the hopper or boom. Once the concrete has frozen, you will be unable to continue pumping normally until the frozen areas have been removed. Unless you take precautions to avoid it, this could cause a severe setback in your work schedule.

Using very hot water while preparing the concrete mix is one approach to prevent concrete from freezing in cold weather. Even if you obtain ready-mixed concrete from another source, this tip applies.

As it is delivered or pumped to the site, the hot water will keep the combination warm. These instructions will help.

  • When the temperature is 50°F or lower, the temperature of the batch of concrete must be 50°F or higher before it is placed into the forms.
  • It is not suggested to mix concrete in temperatures below 35°F, although it can be done with water heated to no more than 170°F in the mixer.

Preheat the appliance

Another way to prevent dealing with frozen concrete is to use the concrete pump’s exhaust stack. Purchase an exhaust hose that has been built to withstand extremely high temperatures. Get the hose and link it to the concrete pump’s exhaust pipe’s exit point.

Place the other end of the heat-resistant hose to the pump’s boom’s tip and turn it on. The heated exhaust air will heat the pipeline, preventing the concrete from freezing in the system.

If you utilize exhaust air to heat the pipeline, be sure there are no blockages; otherwise, the back pressure from the exhaust will strain the engine of your truck.

small concrete line pump

Insulating method to protect the Boom Pipeline

Wrapping the boom pipeline in insulating material is another approach to avoid freezing concrete. Foam tube is the most typical material. Cut the foam tube to fit around the boom pipe and secure it with tape.

The pipeline will be well protected from the elements thanks to the insulation. When you pump concrete through the boom pipe, it will flow normally (As it is when the weather is warmer).

Consult a concrete pump rental company for further information on how to assure trouble-free pumping in the winter, and you’ll be as excellent as the pros who have been doing it for decades.

  • At times when the atmospheric temperature is 50°F or below, the temperature of the batch of concrete must likewise be 50°F or above before being placed into the forms.
  • Batching concrete in conditions below 35°F is not recommended, but may be accomplished by using water in the mixer heated to a temperature of not more than 170°F.

Perform Appropriate Winterization on any External Pipelines

The pipeline connecting the cement truck to the slab on the project site isn’t often the only piece of equipment needed to distribute concrete. Some job sites necessitate the installation of an external pipeline.

  • If this is the case, make sure you understand how to correctly winterize and stage the pipeline components before and between pours.  
  • When the temperature is 50°F or lower, the temperature of the batch of concrete must be 50°F or higher before it is placed into the forms.
  • It is not suggested to mix concrete in temperatures below 35°F, although it can be done with water heated to no more than 170°F in the mixer.
mobile concrete pump

Any Exterior Pipelines Should be Properly Winterized

The pipeline connecting the cement truck to the slab on the project site isn’t often the only piece of equipment needed to distribute concrete. Some job sites necessitate the installation of an external pipeline.

If this is the case, make sure you understand how to correctly winterize and stage the pipeline components before to and between pours.

When the pipeline is not in use, heavy construction blankets can be used to cover it. For shorter runs, disassembling the pipeline and storing it inside and away from the elements at night would be a better option.

If these instructions are not considered, you can find that your slurry separates from the concrete and freezes to the interior walls of the pipe the next day, slowing down your progress and jeopardizing the quality of the mix.

Cold-weather Safety

When your personnel are called upon to do a concrete pour in extremely cold or otherwise difficult conditions, they should feel confident and well-prepared. This starts with providing appropriate cold-weather attire, such as insulated gloves and coats.

Your pumping equipment and concrete pump manufacturers may ban their use in temperatures below -10°F, and others may have their own temperature restrictions.

Ignoring these warnings — or neglecting to take the preventative actions they prescribe — might lead the concrete boom to weaken and fracture. It may not fail right away, but it may hang on long enough to fail during a routine job later, during normal “boom bounce” and usage.

As a result, regardless of your degree of experience, always follow the manufacturer’s directions and limitations.

You don’t want to waste time and money by abusing your equipment or utilising it out of season, let alone risk injuries or cause the job to be delayed because you believed you knew everything.

concrete boom pump truck

Last Thoughts on Concrete Pouring in the Winter

The good news about laying concrete in cold weather is that if it freezes, it indicates it has also ceased to set. If this happens to you, though, you’ll need to take your truck somewhere warm so that it may be cleaned out and a new batch of concrete prepared instead.

Nobody wants to waste a full batch of concrete, but you may need to test a few different procedures before settling on one that works for you.

Above all, remember to communicate effectively with all parties engaged in the process, and make sure your training programmes accommodate for temperature extremes and the difficulties that come with it.

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