Get Prepared For the Cold-Weather Season

For contractors in cold-weather climates, winter will be here soon. From adjusting CIPP lining practices to winterizing jetters, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Get Prepared For the Cold-Weather Season

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The moderate temperatures of fall are still amongst us, but that also means the winter season isn’t that far into the future.

Some contractors serve areas that maintain fairly warm temperatures year-round. Others work in cold-weather climates and have to make a concerted effort to adjust operations once the temperature drops.

Start thinking about your winter preparations with these tips.

CIPP Lining in the Cold

When trying to effectively install CIPP liner in cold conditions, it’s important to control the temperature of the epoxy, the ambient temperature, and the pipe temperature.

Creating your own climate-controlled wet-out area is an easy way to control the temperature of the epoxy. Creating a tented area, using the inside of a truck or trailer that can be heated, or placing the liner on plywood to keep it from contacting the cool ground are all good ways to keep the temperature of the epoxy warm so that it cures faster once it is in installed into the pipe.

In drain pipes specifically, keeping the clean-out and manhole covered as much as possible can help keep the cold air from circulating through the drain that you need to line. In addition to covering the pipe, running hot water through the drain will help keep the pipe warm while you wet-out the liner for installation. If you have an electric leaf blower, forcing hot air with a blower down the drain can also help keep the pipe temperature warm before the liner is installed into the pipe.

Protecting Crews

Once winter arrives, cold stress becomes a possibility for work crews. Cold stress is caused by a lowered skin temperature, which eventually drives down body temperature. This causes a variety of illnesses and injuries ranging from hypothermia and frostbite to trench foot.

One of the most important factors in preventing cold stress is dressing properly when working outside in inclement weather. Some recommendations from OSHA include:

  • Wear layers of loose-fitting clothing. The inner layer should be moisture wicking.
  • Wear a hat that covers your ears. A lot of body heat escapes from your head.
  • Use a knit facemask.
  • Wear insulated, waterproof gloves.
  • Wear insulated and waterproof boots.

Other tips for workers include:

  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your co-workers. All workers at risk should know the signs of cold stress and what to do if they or someone else start to develop symptoms.
  • Stay dry in the cold. Getting wet or sweating increases heat loss from the body.
  • Keep extra clothing handy in case it gets wet.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. You can quickly become dehydrated in cold weather.
  • Use proper engineering controls (heaters, work shelters), safe work practices, and personal protective equipment always. 

Winterizing a Jetter

Certain steps have to be taken to protect vital pieces of equipment like jetters. Here are some tips to help keep a jetter always ready for action during the winter months:

  • Hook up an air compressor to your jetter and blow air through it. This helps push any water out.
  • Run RV antifreeze through the jetter. Be sure to use RV antifreeze. Car-type antifreezes are too caustic.
  • With gas-powered jetters, be sure to keep the tank full in the same way you would with any type of vehicle during winter.
  • Be mindful of the way you’re storing a jetter in your service vehicle. Wrap the hose up in a way that’s pushing the water out the other end — hold it up high and allow gravity to help out.
  • If you’re putting the jetter in long-term storage, be sure to drain the gas out or use a fuel additive for gas jetters. A heated garage or building is the way to go if at all possible. That doesn’t have to mean big or fancy. For example, a single stall, well-insulated garage using only a 1,500-watt heater run at about 40 percent power can be plenty to protect the equipment.


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