Talking About Crawlspace Repairs

Construction, IBC Containers, and Freeze Prevention: How It Works

by Clinton Stone

IBC containers used in construction often contain materials that need to be kept above a certain temperature. There is less concern about freezing in the southern half of the United States than there is in the northern half, but freeze prevention should still be considered. Materials like water only need to be exposed to desert cold for a few hours before ice crystals begin to form. Other liquid materials may have similar properties and susceptibility to cold. Additionally, if you are shipping the full IBC containers to other construction sites, you need to keep them warm. Here is how.

Tote Heaters

There are a few different types of tote heaters which will reduce all concern for freezing to nil. The first type is an immersion heater. It looks like a cattle prod crossed with a branding iron, and it gets just as hot on the business end. Usually this is inserted into the IBC container for freeze prevention and to warm the liquid to the perfect temperature. While it is ideal for water, concrete slurry, and even glue, it is not ideal for any substance with a low ignition point (i.e., bursts into flames when exposed to heat for too long).

The next type of tote heater is a full-enclosure blanket heater. This not only wraps all the way around the outside of the IBC tote, but it also covers the top of the container. By covering the top of the container as well as the sides, the liquid or substance close to the top of the container stays as liquid as everything underneath it. This is especially useful for any substance that quickly and readily freezes when exposed to winter temperatures and has a tendency to expand and apply pressure to the walls of the container from the inside out. It is not just freeze prevention; it is frozen explosion prevention. 

Things to Note Regarding These Tote Heaters

The two types of tote heaters mentioned above typically rely on electricity. They come with electrical cords that have to be plugged in at all times in order for the heaters to do their jobs. If you are transporting the IBC containers between your construction sites in the winter or between a warehouse and a construction site, then you may need to transport an alternative electrical power source with them to make sure the heaters stay plugged in. When you rent or buy your tote heaters for the first time, ask the sales representative about portable power sources you can use to plug in the heaters and keep them running while the totes are on the move.