Protecting equipment we use year round from freeze overnight

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by BSLD, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. BSLD

    BSLD LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 5

    So I manage a lawn company (pesticide not mow) in southern texas however I'm from the midwest. The term "winterizing equipment" means something totally different from where I come from!

    We will continue to use our spray trucks all winter. However it does go bellow freezing down here at night at times. The owner wants me to come up with a plan to protect the engines, pumps, and hoses from possible freeze at night while parked in the shop.

    But my questions is, when should I be concerned about it? Space heaters would be fine but I don't feel like putting RV antifreeze through the pump at the end of the day and flushing it every morning.

    How cold do you think it would have to get at night for possible damage to happen to the pump and other equipment? I'm assuming the temp inside the shop with be 5-10 deg warmer than outside, at least.

    If it helps, I am close to the Houston area.

    Thoughts?
    Thanks!
     
  2. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,230

    Being in southern Texas and as you said, the trucks will be parked "in the shop", I don't think you'll really have anything to worry about. However, if it makes the boss feel better, put a drop light with a 60 Watt next to the pump. Remember, nobody is going to be cuddling up with the pump. It only has to stay above 32F to keep from freezing. I have the same situation here only I'm further north than you in central Arkansas and 2 out of 3 of our trucks have to stay outside. We use them until Christmas. I use the drop light in combination with old comforters and packing blankets drooped over pump/reel to hold in the heat of the light bulb. This protects the pumps as well as keeping the hose reel from freezing on really cold nights
     
    hort101 likes this.
  3. BSLD

    BSLD LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 5

    That sounds reasonable and practical. Thanks for your input.
     
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,022

    Good ideas.
    It is better to use thermostatic heat. So it cannot overheat. A blanket or tarp touching a lightbulb could start a fire.
    A length of electric heat tape--usually used to protect outdoor water pipes--is good. Wrap around pump and add fiberglass insulation.

    Also think about a thermostatic dog warmer mat. Heated porch mat. Health care-type heating pad. Electric blanket.
     
    hort101 likes this.
  5. BSLD

    BSLD LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 5

    I've thought about the safety aspect of it as well. Apparently the company used a combination of RV antifreeze in the tanks, heat lamps and space heaters next to the pumps and hoses last winter.

    Thanks for your input
     
    hort101 likes this.
  6. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,508

  7. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,230

    That's a good idea. My cold nature'd wife has one of those next to her chair in our living room. Get a small one for each truck possibly. The one we have is a little bigger than most in your example and it cost us a couple hundred dollars I think...
     
  8. BSLD

    BSLD LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 5

    All good advise but one point is being overlooked. How much should I worry about it? If the overnight low is 25 degrees, do you think the equipment is at risk? Or would it need to get down to 15 to 20??

    Or if it's anything below 32, I should do something...

    Anybody actually have equipment break from a freeze during a period that equipment was still in production?
     
  9. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,230

    I use the type of auto work lights that have the reflective pan around the bulb and use the spring clamp to clamp it to the frame supporting the hose reel and point the light toward the pump. I've gone through a few 60 Watt bulbs in 18 years but never caught a blanket on fire...not that it's not possible. I thought about the electric blanket thing but I've heard of those things short circuiting while people were sleeping under them...and my stuff is exposed to the elements

    Maybe one of these days when I'm rolling in all this money some people think I make, I'll be able to afford a heated shop that holds all the trucks
     
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  10. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,230

    I have I have had an unexpected dip in temps catch me off guard and crack one of the heads on a D-30 pump that I neglected to cover. They are cast aluminum.Expensive mistake. If your equipment is in a shop, you'll have to have a night in the low to mid twenties more than likely to have any kind of a problem. IMO

    Not a regular thing in the Houston area for sure
     

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