Toaster Keeps Crews Hot-digging in Redstone

An experienced power line professional keeps utility excavation moving forward in a frozen Calgary community

Serious ToasterCALGARY, Alberta – Kevin Bushore, with his more than 35 year career with Atco Electric, knows that saving time and money is absolutely critical when it comes to excavating in frozen ground and adding utilities where there are overlapping facilities. Kevin was recently working with Calgary-area and Fort McMurray-based electrical construction services company Rivard Enterprises in the northeast Calgary community of Redstone.

Adding additional utilities where existing energized utilities are already present is referred to as “hot-digging” – a procedure that is fairly common in new subdivisions to add or tie-in additional services. For obvious reasons you can’t just start ripping away at the frozen ground with powered equipment meaning that the preferred method is using smaller excavation equipment and some final excavation by hand which can be time consuming and expensive. The goal is to is to excavate a given section of trench to at least 1.2 metres (approximately 48 inches), complete the tie-ins and back-fill the trench all within a single work day which avoids having to fence and secure an open trench and reduces delays.

Facing a solid week of consistent overnight temperatures of minus 25C (minus 13F) and daytime highs that didn’t crack minus 10C (14F), Kevin was looking for a local solution that would get his crew excavating in thawed ground quickly. Considering available alternatives such as hydrovac, glycol, and steaming solutions, the Toaster™ by Serious Thermal Products caught his attention with its use of infrared heating which he knew was going to be a very efficient and safe method for thawing frozen ground. A call to Serious rental partner Western One produced a competitive quote, units were delivered to the job site and work was soon underway.

Depending on the depth of the frost in the ground about 40 hours of heating with the propane-powered, clean-burning Toaster yielded 5 feet (1.5 metres) of thawed ground. By the morning the ground was ready for excavation crews.

“I’d certainly recommend using the Toaster for “hot digging” procedures. These units did exactly what we needed them to do and we’re planning to continue using them throughout the winter,” confirms Kevin Bushore.

Contact Serious Thermal Products Ltd. to learn more about the Toaster™ ground thawing equipment for construction and utilities.