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RTheating

What to do in -30 degree weather?

Question

Hey guys,

Just wondering how you guys handle cleaning systems when it is -30 degrees F or colder. Up here where I am in Canada, it can easily get to that cold or colder at one of the places I will be cleaning. This temp would be in Dec, Jan, Feb. Plus you factor in a killer wind and its cooooold. If I remember correctly the other company that did the cleaning was only able to clean the hood & filters but not the fan?

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You can do cold but you have to plan accordingly. Our cut off is -10-15. You have to get started right as they close since the system will stil be hot ( or at least warm). Set up everything you need inside and the last act is pulling the hoses off the van and cleaning with the fans clean them but catch the water and run off and drop it down the duct since it will freeze to a greasy/icy mess. Clean filters inside and then the hoods. Once you are done immediately put the hoses back in the van and restart the system and stay away from the fans since the water in and around them that has frozen will get flung all over the place.

We only do maintianed accounts in extreme cold.

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What Alexy said! Keeping the water moving is very important. Some I know carry an air compressor to blow the lines out once finished, to avoid freezing. The coldest I have ever cleaned in was -15f

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You hood Guys are something else. The coldest we ever really clean is maybe slightly below freezing and that's pushing it since we can turn a walkway quickly into a skating rink.

You hood guys are a special breed for sure:)

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LOL - 15 F . I do not think you know what -30 or colder plus a giant wind chill feels like. I don't think I would get as far as cleaing the fan and blowing it out with an air compressor. I think it would freeze too quickly. I waiting on a response to see what was done in the past. The good part for me is that the systems were cleaning very very well about 1 week ago, so if it is cold it will not take me as long as a neglected system.

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LOL - 15 F . I do not think you know what -30 or colder plus a giant wind chill feels like. I don't think I would get as far as cleaing the fan and blowing it out with an air compressor. I think it would freeze too quickly. I waiting on a response to see what was done in the past. The good part for me is that the systems were cleaning very very well about 1 week ago, so if it is cold it will not take me as long as a neglected system.

Sorry we are not man enough to live or work in the great Northern Territories.

Best of luck with your endeavors.

Edited by Alexy

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Honestly, I would not want to work in that cold weather either. It's not that temperature where I live normally. I am in between Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. This particular job is about 8 hours North of where I live.

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Honestly, I would not want to work in that cold weather either. It's not that temperature where I live normally. I am in between Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. This particular job is about 8 hours North of where I live.

So the question is Tom--- is it worth the travel and what you have to deal with if you take on that job?

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Well from all of my calculations, yes. There are about 23 hoods/fans. Total revenue from job would be about $14000 before expenses. Accomodation and food are provided. My main expenses would be chemical, fuel to drive 16 hours, paying my helper. We are able to work about 6 hours per night because of kitchen hours and will be a maintained job not new neglected one so that will help.

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Well then you know what you have to do. Read up on the search area here on what other hood guys did in dealing with those frigid temps. My company has traveled as far as about 5 hours to do jobs that pay well. $14,000 is good money and only you know after paying everything you have to pay in the end such as employee pay, taxes etc if its worth it. Sounds like you already know that.

Let us know afterwords how it worked out for you because many people that visit www.thegrimescene.com can learn from your experiences and in a way its a win win for you because not only did you make good $$$$$ you also gave back to your fellow powerwashers who might need guidance themselves on what to do when they get these different type of opportunities.

Thanks in advance:)

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I feel your pain Tom! Here in eastern QC, I shut down operation for DEC/JAN/FEB because of the cold weather. During those 3 months, the weather does not permit for KEC to be done "properly" so I manage to schedule every service agreements to be done in the 9 other months left! Of course some will say that it could be done but as per what I've noticed in the last 3 years in my area those that were trying to clean in those colder months never did the job properly or only did half of the jobs (fans & ducts not done)...

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LOL - 15 F . I do not think you know what -30 or colder plus a giant wind chill feels like. I don't think I would get as far as cleaing the fan and blowing it out with an air compressor. I think it would freeze too quickly. I waiting on a response to see what was done in the past. The good part for me is that the systems were cleaning very very well about 1 week ago, so if it is cold it will not take me as long as a neglected system.

I think the point is no one works in -30F and it might be a sign to take the night off. No i do not know what -30 is like and judging by my experiences with -15 F I do not think I want to know.

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i have always wondered about hood cleaning in the north. i would of assumed during the frigid months that you would just do hoods, filters and shoot the shaft from the bottom as high as u can go. And let the customer know we maintain this very well but during this period of year there is no way we can do outside work without risking our lives or damging your building in some way.  Most location should only fall into this category once per year based on quarterly cleanings. But yeah i cannot see cleaning outside in -30 degree weather. i cancel cleanings at 28 degree's to the good but hey i am a southerner.

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In any cold condition you have to keep your unit runnimg non stop once you start. Also on the exhaust fan issue as soon as your done cleaning the exhaust you will have to kick the unit on to throw the moisture out or your fan will not turn. Your duct scrape it first, makes for a quick cleaning. Once done completly with your machine make sure to treat all your system with "anti-freeze", the one i know works and you can rely on is Peak. Since your area is really cold you will have to treat your line as well considering at those temps there would be no time to drain them. Also always keep an electric heater with you. As soon as i pull up to the job i plug my heater in on high and let it run reason for this just in case there is some water in my lines that might of froze. Hope all this helps.

Marko

Edited by cleanhoods

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I usually cut off at -20c.  It is a struggle between -10c & -20c but possible to still do a great job.  Many good points above, just select what you feel may work.  I have done quite a few jobs between Lethbridge & Edmonton where the temp has been -30c (Jan,Feb) where we have done a decent job, but had issues.

 

I will be in Calgary Wednesday and Thursday this week where it is going to have a low of -28c.  Not fun, but good pay!

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The coldest I squirted water was -30°F.  No problem with the hose freezing, it was a 2 1/2"!  But the coldest hood cleaning was +4°F.  The fan was at the edge of the roof, The day was bright and sunny.  Not too bad. 

 

Yesterday was +20°F, snowing, windy and cold. The jumper hose from the PW to the hose reel froze. We changed it with the extra jumper.  All was good except for the pinhole leak in the new hose.  But we were back in business.  I went to talk to my alalrm guy and when I got back, I found the pw hose had blown off the hose end. the guy changed hoses and went back to work.  inside, especially after I found the infared plate warmer.  Justine said he did not have fun yesterday.  I did. That job was $666.15.

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I cleaned a hood the other night, it was about -20F with wind chill.

 

In weather that frigid, I sometimes skip going on roofs, depends on what type of roof they have.  Pitch, snow and/or ice covered, how easily accessible it is.

Sometimes I just tell the customer that my neck is more valuable than their fan and I will "pick up the slack" in more favorable conditions.

 

Another job I was able to clean just the fan blades but would have literally spent an hour or more trying to clean the fan housing.

 

I always blow out my pressure washer system with an air compressor and anti-freeze at the end of every job so getting everything running again isn't too much of a problem.

However, while I was tearing down and winterizing at one job, I had to step inside for about 5 min to solve a problem and when I came back out all the hoses, the pump head and the water in the burner coils had already completely frozen solid.

 

Since the job was only a half hour from home, I just waited till the next day and set up a kerosene torpedo heater to blast into the back of my truck.

 

Not sure how long it actually took to thaw it all but I let the heater run for a couple hours.  It must have been long enough because I was able to blow anti-freeze through the entire system including my hoses.

 

It helped that that day it got up to about 40F.

 

If they have a parking garage I would highly suggest using it as it can provide some shelter from the wind.

You may even want to ask if they have climate controlled parking for some of the "high rollers" that they may let you use while staying there.

 

Never hurts to ask.

 

Might consider hauling around a heater of some kind to help at least keep your most important tool functioning.

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Here's another thought I just had about this problem.

 

You could construct some type of tent.

Possibly out of 2x2.  It can be square or rectangular or whatever other shape would work.

TeePees used to work well for the indians.  They just rolled it all up and took it with them.

Make it big enough to provide enough room to work, a vent hole in the top so that the steam has somewhere to go.

If your construction skills are good enough, you could make it collapsible and when your done with the job ask if you can store it on site.

 

The covering could be as simple as using plastic you already have.

That way if it ever gets damaged, you can just replace the "walls" with more plastic.

 

Probably would have to have some way to weight it down.  A couple bricks in each corner could be enough, depends on the wind though.

 

Just a thought.

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Wow just have to make a comment.

  Seems to me you have an excuse for not doing a job completly. I mean really you will build a tent, but just clean the blades of the fan not the bowl. When cleaning the fan use a short wand that way your close to the steam. That way you dont waste a few hours carring bricks and stuff to the roof ,might take hours to do so. This is no form of disrespect or anything of that nature. Just everything i have read from you is an excuse not to do the system correctly, seems to be a routine.

 I mean if i was a  customer and i see you go to the roof, so in my head i am thinking ,your able to clean and you clean the fan blades but not the bowl cause it will take an hour more to clean really?

 My opinion if the job at the time is to dangerious to clean at the time change your appointment to a more suitable day, but dont come there to half arse a job.

Marko

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It's me again!  Your favorite annoying KEC avoiding roofs in Nebraska with temps reading a "Right Now = Feels Like -17F".

I've been doing some research.

 

Came across this the other day:

http://hoodsticker.com/images/products/forms/hd-1001-lg.jpg

I know it's difficult to read however, it allows the option of marking areas not cleaned for the reason of Severe Weather.

 

If the excuse of "Severe Weather" be it lightning or "Extreme Cold" is good enough for IKECA, then my half arse job of at least cleaning the fan blades is twice as good.

Especially when I discuss my options and notate the hazards of going on a roof in such "extreme" weather conditions on the "signed" receipt of completed work with my customer.  Generally however, I discuss "my options" with my customer before even allowing my "inside guy" to start anything.

 

No point in allowing my "inside-guy" to do anything if the customer doesn't approve a "half-arsed" cleaning.

 

Sorry to bump this, but I felt it was important to discern what was possibly "acceptable" in this practically "every-person-for-themselves" business.

 

Here is an experience with a customer recently:

He asks: "Are you going to go on the roof?"

I reply: "Generally I would but with this extreme cold it would be existentially dangerous for me since I will be spraying water on your metal roof, I will "pick-up-the-slack" in more favorable conditions."

He replied: "I don't blame you, I wouldn't want to go up there either."

I replied: "I will notate on the receipt that roof access was not allowed due to weather conditions."

He replied: "Ok."

 

I apologize again if my thoughts, ideas were interpreted as being excuses.

I am merely looking out for the safety of myself and that of my crew.

 

I am, literally, a small business owner.

I have myself and only one employee, I only have one truck and only one crew (which includes myself and my one employee) that travels my state to do KEC.

We service mostly mom & pop locations with a few franchise and corporate run locations.

We are growing, it has been slow to grow but I prefer it that way.

It allows me that opportunity to discover the flawed areas and work on the weakest links.

 

My accounts are incomparable to the account that this topic was originally created for.

However I feel that ideas, regardless of how seemingly obserd they are, can be beneficial in more creative thinking.

 

This is the last you will read from me in this forum.

I will seek out my answers from other sources and purchase my future equipment from local businesses.

I wish you all safe journeys and beware the black ice roof!

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