Types of Commercial Applications:
Ground Thawing with Natural Gas Equipment
There are two ways to keep the ground from freezing, or to thaw frozen
ground before pouring a concrete floor: hot air or hot water.
A hot air ground-thawing unit uses warm air blown under
an insulating tarp to warm the surface of the ground. When you’re trying to
thaw the ground in a building that has walls and a roof you can use a
pressurized unit, which restricts leakage and allows for much faster
heating. Your gas fitter can hook up and start the equipment after you’ve
taken delivery from your rental supplier. Make sure you have electricity
available to power the blower fan.
Hot water ground-thawing involves a system of coils that
are laid over the ground in a consistently spaced pattern. Hot water runs
through them to warm the ground. An insulating tarp is used to cover the
coils to help stop heat loss to the air. You’ll need power to reel the coil
out and back in once the ground is thawed and ready for concrete.
Natural gas equipment is available in a variety of sizes
to provide hot air or hot water for use in ground thawing applications. Your local rental supplier can help you determine which unit is best for your
Concrete Curing with Natural Gas Equipment
To cure concrete in cold or damp weather, you can choose either "direct" or
"indirect" methods. Both methods are in common use in commercial
construction today. While “direct” equipment has been popular for a long
time, “indirect” equipment is gaining popularity in many situations.
First let's look at the "indirect" method.
Natural Gas "indirect" air heating equipment offers the
advantages of no carbonization on the concrete and no excess moisture in the
air. One of the byproducts of all combustible fuels is CO2, or carbon
dioxide. When the heating equipment is located in the same enclosed room as
concrete in the process of curing, some CO2 molecules in the exhaust can
attach themselves to the surface of the concrete, resulting in
"carbonization" and a weaker surface cure (sometimes called "scaling").
Using the "indirect" method of heating means that the equipment is located
in another area of the building, away from the actual heating location, and
so the source of carbon is removed from the area. Thus, there is much less
chance of carbonization using an "indirect" method of heating as opposed to
a "direct" method.
Likewise, another product of combustion is
moisture. Again, removing the equipment from the area being cured results in
less moisture in the air, and a more controlled cure.
"Indirect" units can be ducted to provide warm air to
multiple areas. Ducting also allows for the warm air to be focused into
smaller partitioned areas, eliminating the need to heat unused sections of
the building. Air quality is also improved since the source of combustion is
removed from the working areas. When you have a need for a long term heat
source, or when you need to heat large areas of a building at once, or when
it is difficult to provide adequate ventilation air, natural gas "indirect"
fired heating equipment should be your choice.
As with all fuels, please ensure that adequate
ventilation and combustion air are available. See a detailed discussion of
need for ventilation and combustion air
while using heat during commercial construction.
Natural gas salamanders have been available for many
years for concrete curing, and are an example of "direct" fired
equipment. They are located in the area where heat is required, and heat the
air directly with a flame. Salamanders come in a variety of sizes, from
100,000 BTUs to over a million BTUS, and are readily available at your
rental company. They are especially useful when there is a short term
heating requirement, or when heat needs to be moved from place to place
within a building. If a "direct" fired piece of equipment such as a
salamander is your choice, then natural gas offers a substantial savings
over other fuels.
Masonry Heating with Natural Gas Equipment
Natural gas can be used while bricking or blocking an exterior or interior
wall. You can use either “direct” or “indirect” methods of masonry
construction heat; both are effective.
Indirect equipment is usually located near the wall that
is being built, and warm air is ducted into a tarp raised along the
wall. One advantage of this system is the ability to provide even heating
over a lengthy wall. Ducts can have openings along their length to allow
heat out at several points, resulting in even heating, and even
curing. Another advantage is the absence of any exhaust from the equipment
in the area being worked. Indoor air quality is assured for the benefit of
"Direct" fired equipment is often used when the area to
be heated is fairly small, or the job can be finished relatively quickly. A
salamander is positioned with its heat output firing directly into the tarped area of the wall. The flame warms the air, which travels up and
throughout the tarped area. Workers in the area must be careful not to
contact the heater, or to block the flow of air or heat.
Your local rental company can help you choose the best method
Natural gas heating equipment can be used for many other applications during
the construction of a commercial building. Painting, drywalling, plumbing
and electrical work, interior framing, carpeting, tiling, and many other
jobs all benefit from having a warm, dry and comfortable working
environment. Studies have shown productivity has increased by up to
28% when you provide a comfortable work environment. We will outline some of
these other applications in a future video on this website.
Natural gas is the most convenient, cost-effective,
reliable and safe solution for your construction heat needs. Call us today
or check out the construction heat section of our website. We can help you
use natural gas to maximize your efficiency, save money and build a more