How to Best Use Heaters to Keep Your Crew Warm This Winter

Cold Construction Worker

Baby, it's cold outside - and that means you need to worry about how well your crew is doing during the coldest part of the year. Frostbite can quickly cause debilitating health problems and the extra bulk of winter gear making your crew more clumsy and prone to accidents. Among the other tools and techniques that you can put into play is using heaters to keep your crew comfortable as they work. Here are some ways to best deploy heaters this winter so your crew can keep on going through the worst of the cold.

Construction Building With Tarps

Enclose the area. We've all heard the expression, "born in a barn," typically used when someone leaves a door open in bad weather. Heating an area costs money, so make sure you enclose it with tarps, temporary walls, plastic sheathing or similar material. This ensures that the heat isn't being wasted.

Watch skin temperature when re-warming. If you suspect someone on your crew has frostbite from being out in the cold too long or has started into hypothermia, make sure to warm them slowly. If they are heated too quickly, it can cause additional damage to the system or shock, which can kill very quickly. If they are far too cold but are not shivering, take them to an emergency room so that they can be treated professionally, as this is a strong sign of hypothermia.

Ensure proper clearances. Nobody wants to be responsible for a shop or work site fire. Take a good look to make sure there are no materials that can burn too close or any chemicals that may be flammable within too short a distance to the heater to prevent a fire. Make sure your heater has the proper clearances all around. If it's impossible to make those clearances happen, look at installing a stove board which allows for reduced clearances.

Portable construction heater

Make sure ventilation is in order when using combustion-based heaters such as kerosene or propane. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is clear and odorless, making it impossible to detect until physical symptoms such as headache and nausea set in. Check the requirements in your heater's manual and make sure you follow them to the letter, even if it requires leaving windows or doors cracked open to allow fresh air into the area. Nobody wants to lose a crew member to this silent killer.

Upgrade for better performance. If you've been using the same inefficient heater for the past decade or two, it may be time to upgrade or even just buy a new model to take advantage of advances in thermodynamic technology. Be sure to match the heater to the size of the area you're heating so that it doesn't have to run all out all the time to try to maintain temperature.

Heaters can be a great tool to deploy this winter, but only if they're used correctly. Make sure you follow these tips and the instructions that came with your heater, especially as pertains to proper ventilation and clearances to ensure the safety of your crew and your work site. If you need help finding the right heater for your job site and crew, please feel free to contact the experienced professionals at Wallboard Supply Company. Our primary job is keeping your job site running efficiently.

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.