If you have earthmoving equipment, such as excavators, loaders, and bulldozers, you need to make sure it is stored properly and well maintained during the winter. This is especially important if you live in a cold climate that frequently gets below-freezing temperatures during the winter season. Here are some tips for using your earthmoving equipment during the winter.
Let the Equipment Warm Up Before Using it
One of the most important things to do when you use earthmoving equipment during the winter is to let it warm up fully. You should never use a bulldozer or loader immediately after turning it on if it is bitter cold outside. This can cause malfunctioning of the equipment, from having issues with the battery to making the hoses more brittle. Start up the equipment and wait several minutes before using it so that all of the parts and components have had time to warm up.
Keep the Equipment Stored in an Enclosed Space
Storage of the equipment during the winter is equally as important. If you typically keep your construction equipment in an outdoor storage area on the site of your construction company, it needs to be moved when the temperatures start dropping. There are storage facilities that provide large storage units on the ground floor for vehicles and large equipment. Make sure it is fully enclosed and can be kept room temperature, as this will protect your earthmoving equipment. Otherwise, the joints and hinges of your skid steer or excavator could be damaged from the cold. If you are renting the equipment during the winter, make sure the company keeps their equipment stored in the same manner.
Be Careful Around Bodies of Water
In terms of operating the equipment during the winter, be especially careful around bodies of water. Even if the ground looks to be snow-covered, there could be frozen ice underneath that layer of snow. With a heavy excavator, the equipment is so large and bulky that it could go right through the ice if you use it in the wrong location. You need to make sure any surface you drive over is stable enough to handle the weight of your equipment. While you might not often use this type of equipment during a day when the ground is completely covered in snow, it is still something to be aware of, even while moving the equipment to a more secure location.
While you have full control over maintenance, keeping the battery warm, and securing the equipment, you don't have control over rental companies. If you tend to rent your construction equipment from earthmoving hire companies, find out what their practices are to keep the equipment safe during the winter so you don't have issues with it.