Natural Gas Commerical Construction Heat

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 application. 

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 the 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 the workers.

"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 for you. 

Other Applications
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 profitable business.