Winter Installs

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by fakie99, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. fakie99

    fakie99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    i am in michigan where the ground freezes in dec, and snow hits then too. we typically end our installations in oct, when we can still bury wire in mulch, lawn etc. now we have a couple of install opportunities here in january that i'd like to tackle. it would most likely mean coming back in the spring to tidy up and burying wiring.

    does anyone else in the midwest install in the winter, and any tips you could share?

  2. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    I saw a picture somewhere on this forum and I think it was James and he was using a what looked like a large blow torch to melt the snow and earth.
  3. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    They do make something to thaw the ground, kinda like a radiant heat system for flooring. Short story of my experience with it.

    I actually worked for a compnay here in Wisconsin that the owner promised a homeowner that we would have his project done for the Superbowl. Contract was signed early in November. 2300 sq ft patio, 2 16x16 pergolas, concrete pad for hot tub, etc. Ground froze and his solution was renting a giant heater for an outdoor system that is similar to radiant heat flooring to thaw the ground. 3 hours to setup with plastic, 2" glycol filled hoses, and two layers of frost blankets. let it sit for one day, took two hours to uncover with three guys. Spent the day building and had to shift from what we just built over about 5 feet. Over night everything we just built refroze. Basically he forgot to keep in mind (or listen to myself and our brick supplier) that when something freezes, it expands, so every night whatever wasn't kept thawed would heave. and if you use something not frozen to level to something that is frozen. When your unfrozen ground freezes, it will heave too. Creates a little step from each day.

    $2000 for the rental later, he understood.
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    I am still installing. I have a couple more in the next week or so too. It is a little crusty now, but I can still get a spade in the ground. I expect there will be a little bit of touch up when everything thaws, but it's no big deal.
  5. fakie99

    fakie99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    thanks for the feedback and stories guys. tim - the gallery of work on your website is outstanding.

  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Hi Jim, we are a located even further north than you and generally work right up until frost is in the ground or snow cover is too deep to make work efficient. If you only have up to 2" of frost in the ground you can use a propane 'hot spot' torch to melt it out where needed. It takes a bit longer than you might think, but does work.

    We have, upon customer request, installed a system in the winter and then returned in the spring to put all the wire in the ground and finalize things. I really don't recommend this approach as doing the work in the dead of winter is just no fun at all and it always takes more time than anticipated to complete the job in the spring.
  7. fakie99

    fakie99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    very true james - i'd love to have the revenue in an otherwise slow time, but the inefficiencies are making me cautious. i dont mind coming back in the spring to bury wires if the client doesn't mind, but trying to set a path light stake in 4" of frozen solid ground sounds rather crummy. i'd like to play around with a flange mount and a weight of some kind that would not require the stake to be in the ground. that way i could still do demos when the ground is frozen and try to obtain contracts for installation later on.
  8. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    I will wholeheartedly agree with James that it is no fun working out in this weather. I would much rather stay home and work from my computer, but, it is what it is. If I can work the ground, I am getting out and getting things done while I can. I am going to be locked out of the ground here within a matter of a week or two probably.

Share This Page