Cold winters play a crucial role in hindering the progress of concrete construction, especially for small businesses. The need for a cost-effective method of curing concrete and thawing frozen ground was evident to David Naylor, owner of Naylor Construction, Salt Lake City.
Naylor saw the need and created a versatile outdoor electric blanket. He says, “There's just not a fast, affordable way to thaw frozen ground in the winter.” The Powerblanket is lightweight, waterproof, and runs on 120 V, but most of all, it is more than 5000% cheaper to operate than using propane, according to Salt Lake City-based Eagle Precast quality control manager Avril Evans.
Chandler Bateman, owner of 3-B Construction, Salt Lake City, was looking for a way to save money and get the job done faster. It wasn't cost-effective for Bateman to use a ground heater.
Early January 2007, he contacted Naylor Construction about a project they were having trouble with—they couldn't get the exterior concrete done, due to freezing temperatures and frozen ground. The garage they were working on faced north, shading the area that needed to be completed from the sun and heat.
After purchasing a Superduty 23x11-foot Powerblanket, 3-B Construction was able to complete the job successfully within two days by laying the blanket over the frozen ground and plugging it in. The next morning the ground was thawed and the concrete was cured.
“I would bet in getting the job done, we saved $3000 or $4000,” Bateman says about using the Powerblanket. He adds that the overall savings was in the time it took to complete. “The only way to make money and stay competitive is to do the job in a timely manner.”
Depending on the size of the blanket, it costs 6 to 19 cents/hour in energy costs to operate. Because electricity is provided on most jobsites, the cost to operate is eliminated. Only one worker is needed to roll it out and plug it in.
The most common concrete surface defects, such as spalling, popouts, and deicing salt damage are caused by cold weather. Using the Powerblanket allows the contractor to eliminate the cold weather variable in an environmentally friendly, low-energy, and cost-effective way.