The Science Behind Glycol Heating Systems for Ground Thawing

Industrial projects don’t stop because the seasons change and the temperature drops. Instead, these changes mean it’s time to get the right machinery and equipment ready to make cold-weather operations run smoothly. As a contractor, you’ve got tasks you need your crew to complete, such as laying pipe and pouring foundations. These tasks get more difficult as the ground gets colder unless you have adequate ground warming systems for ground frost protection.

Reliable industrial heaters help you overcome the cold, making groundwork possible. Here’s how glycol heaters work and why you must use them on your site. 

Why is Cahill the Industry Leader in Temporary Heating?

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What Is Glycol?

Different types of glycol serve various purposes, such as industrial applications, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and textile production. The term glycol refers to a group of organic compounds that belong to the alcohol family. We’re looking at a specific type of glycol called propylene glycol. Many industrial applications use this compound because of its efficient properties.

How Do Glycol Heaters Work?

Glycol heaters work well in extremely cold weather settings where your project requires steady, efficient, and safe ground heating. These heaters use the principle of heat transfer and thermodynamics to warm up the frozen ground. A water and glycol solution is heated and pumped through a closed-loop circuit, where the heated solution transfers energy to the ground below.

Effective ground thawing requires precise monitoring and control of the glycol solution’s temperature, flow rate, and heat output. These parameters must be adjusted based on the specific thawing requirements and environmental conditions. These systems can effectively thaw frozen ground by carefully controlling these factors, making them invaluable tools in construction, utility maintenance, and other cold-weather applications.

Here are just some of the applications our customers have used our glycol heaters for:

  • Cold Weather Concrete Warming / Curing
  • Pre-Pour Warming
  • Ground Frost Prevention
  • Freeze Protection

Why Use Glycol?

Glycol is used in industrial heating systems because it is relatively safe, has antifreeze properties, and helps machines run efficiently. Here are some reasons why we use glycol in our portable industrial heaters.

Antifreeze Properties

Using glycol in our portable heating systems helps prevent water from freezing in extremely cold environments. Remote job sites rely on efficient industrial heaters to keep their work on time, requiring a reliable heater that doesn’t break down. Our machines are innovative, efficient, and reliable. In the rare instance when you need service for any of our heaters, we offer on-location remote field services so you can be up and running faster.

Improved Safety

Heating systems use ethylene and propylene glycol; however, the less toxic option is safer for spills or leaks. The Cahill Glycol Heater contains a fail-safe mechanism to contain spills for further safety and environmental considerations. The heater unit can hold 150% containment should an accident occur. Furthermore, safety sensors shut down the equipment during a spill. If needed, the unit can run uninterrupted with a backup system.

Corrosion Protection

Another benefit of glycol-based solutions is that they prevent corrosion, helping the machine operate longer. Rust and corrosion prevention ensures longevity and efficiency for the machine and any associated piping.

Heat Transfer & Temperature Control

Glycol helps with temperature control and improved heat transfer due to the properties of the fluid, making the heater more efficient. You also have greater temperature control and stability by adjusting the glycol-to-water ratio in the system.

Overall System Protection

Using glycol in our industrial heater helps extend the life of the machine’s components. Glycol acts as a lubricant, helping to protect seals and gaskets inside the heater. At Cahill, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with efficient, innovative, long-lasting heaters for every industrial application, even in extreme conditions.