A Checklist to Winterize Your Sealcoating Business

As winter rolls around, it’s time to conclude the sealcoating season and prepare your equipment for the next year. When you button up your shop for the season, your main focus should be on thorough cleaning and proper storage of all your equipment and materials. Many products used in this industry are water-based and need to be protected from freezing. Be sure to care for any sealer left over in bulk storage tanks or inside application rig tanks, as well as traffic paints, cold-applied crack fillers, primers and additives. Hot pour crack fillers are ok though, as they are not water based.

To make sure you don’t forget anything, just follow this checklist as you close up shop this year:

Pump all the leftover sealer from your application machine(s) into drums and totes, or back into an indoor bulk storage tank for the next season. Tightly close the drums and totes. Storing sealer in a bulk tank requires additional care due to the fact that sealer may develop a foul odor over long storage periods. The foul odor, resembling the odor of rotten eggs, results from the interaction of commonly found bacteria in water (SRB- Sulfur Reducing Bacteria), with sulfur naturally present in refined tar and asphalt, thus producing the foul smelling gas hydrogen sulfide. SRB are commonly anaerobic type bacteria that thrive in absence of air. The bacterial spoilage can be reduced by starving the SRB bacteria by circulating air in the holding tank, which can easily be accomplished by mixing the sealer in the holding tank on a regular schedule. Agitate your bulk tank at least once a day for 30 minutes. If a foul odor does develop, consult your sealer supplier for remedial steps. Commonly a small dosage (1gal./1000 gal. of sealer) of household bleach can be used to overcome a temporary situation or broad-spectrum bactericide can be used (1-1.5 gal./1000 gal. of sealer), if the problem persists. Bacterial spoilage is very common in all water-based systems like paints, coatings, foods, etc., and sealer is no exception. You should be aware of such possibilities and be ready to promptly remedy if you encounter it.

Flush and drain all pumps, meters and hoses and then properly dry them. Also flush out all sealer lines with hot water to remove any build up of dried sealer. Failure to do so could possibly result in frozen and broken pipes. Make sure that the wastewater collected from flushing the tanks, pumps, meters, and hoses is disposed of in accordance with applicable regulations and never in bodies of water. Another option is to store the wastewater for use later in your mix design, but if you do, add in some bleach or a biocide to protect it from bacterial spoilage.

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