Pavemade Crack Master Guide to Asphalt Crack Repair - how to properly operate a 10 gallon asphalt melter applicator
"Your guide to become an asphalt crack repair master"
This article will talk you through to operate a 10 gallon melter applicator.
Let’s start by making your safety a priority. It is recommended that you wear eye protection and long sleeve shirt. Take note of the following safety practices as well:
Never ignite the propane torch when it is inserted into the heat chamber. If the melter is empty, do not insert the torch.
Keep distance within 6 feet from any combustible materials.
You should not let the sealant exceed 400F to avoid flashing. Always keep a Class B fire extinguisher ready in case flashing occurs. If it happens, close the melter lid immediately and control fire using the fire extinguisher. Water should not be used to put out fire from melter applicator.
Never let children go near the operation. You are working with very hot materials so make sure to work very carefully.
Before we go further, let us identify the melter’s different parts first.
Complete torch and regulator assembly
Propane tank and pressure regulator with gauge
Hand torch and ball valve
·Shoe handle and locking chain and Sealant application valve handle
Sealant temp gauge
Sealant agitation handle
Now you are familiar with the components, let’s go through the step-by-step process on how to operate the melter.
The first step is Sealant Loading.
Sealant often comes in cardboard boxes and wrapped in plastic. Take the sealant out of the cardboard box. Then just lift the loading lid and place the sealant together with the plastic wrap as they will melt together. It is highly advised that you put a piece of cardboard under the sealant application valve while the sealant melts. It will help collect any sealant that may drip and prevent a sealant puddle during heating process.
If you have a model like Pavemade's Hotbox10 melterapplicator with a LeakGuard, you may skip the cardboard.
Hotbox10’s patent pending LeakGuard catches crackfiller from leaking onto the ground
The next step is Heating Procedure. This is a sensitive part and additional care should be observed.
You will use the propane torch to heat the melter applicator. Make it a habit to ensure all propane lines are tight and there are no leaks before starting this process. Once you’re done checking, the propane bottle valve may now be opened and have its pressure set to 8-12 psi. Remove the propane torch from the unit and point it towards a safe direction. Open the ball valve that you’ll see on the propane torch handle and light the propane at the end of the torch using the supplied striker. You can adjust the valve to acquire a stronger flame once the torch has been lit. Insert the lit torch into the holder at the bottom right of the melter applicator, then position the torch about half an inch from the heating chamber to increase venting and prevent flashing. If you are working in windy conditions you may want to adjust this distance to maintain a strong flame. If the torch flame is blown off, make sure to let the heating chamber vent before reigniting. All heat chamber vent holes should always be kept open and clear of obstruction to avoid inefficiency of propane burning. The sealant may start to melt within 20 minutes in most models and from there you may start applying it.
Hotbox10 is the only model on the market that has apatent pendingHeat Accelerator that allows application within about 10 minutes.
Use the manual agitator for help in melting and to achieve ideal sealant consistency. You may do 5 strokes every 2-3 minutes. Once a block starts to melt, you may go ahead and add another one. Make sure to melt only enough sealant per sealing session. Once the sealant has reached the manufacturer's recommended temperature, you can begin to apply the sealant, most of the time it’s under 400F. If you stay above the recommended temperature for too long, sealant adhesion failure may happen and in extreme cases, carbonization may occur. The unit will no longer be useable if sealant has carbonized inside.
The third step is Sealant Application. This is the easiest and most fun part. You’re now about to become a master of crack repair!
Simply push the melter/applicator along the crack keeping it centered over the crack. Pull back on the shoe handle and unlock the locking chain to lower the shoe at the start of the crack. A heavy weight shoe is more likely to stay firmly on the ground while applying over bumpy surfaces. Now, pull back on the sealant valve lever to open the sealant valve. Be careful not to pull the valve lever too hard on the models that do not have a stopper on the valve. If it’s pulled too hard the valve may not be able to go back to its closed position once you release the lever. Take note that sealant is quite hard to clean up so try to avoid leakage.
Hotbox10 has a built-in Valve Stopper to ensure that the valve doesn't lock in the open position.
Hotbox10’s valve stopper ensures that the valve does not overturn
Once the sealant starts to flow, you may now start pushing the melter along the crack at slow walking speed. Always keep the right pace because if you move the melter too quickly not enough sealant may enter the crack, while moving it too slowly may cause the sealant to overflow. Just keep the shoe half full. If the crack you’re filling in is over an inch deep you might want to run the melter twice along the damaged area. Sealant shrinks about 10% after it has cooled.
There are instances wherein upon pulling the sealant valve handle back, no sealant comes out due to blockage. You will need to heat the valve to melt any sealant that has set up in it. Simply remove the torch from the heating box and reheat the valve. This would cause the sealant to melt again and it will start flowing. This is morelikely to happen in colder climates. If the flame is applied directly on the valve for too long you may run the risk of warping the metal. Heat the valve slowly and give the heat time to do its work and re-melt the blocked sealant.
Hotbox10’s patent pending Heat Accelerator also guides some of the heat to the valve to minimize this from happening.
When moving from one crack to another, raise the shoe and lock it into position with the locking chain. In the models that do not have leak guards, hot sealant may drip from the application valve and leak onto the ground. Continue to allow the torch to burn while adjusting the flame to maintain recommended temperature, and again,never go beyond 400F. Only melt sealant as per needed amount. You can increase the melt rate and keep any unmelted portion of the plastic wrapper from the material spout by frequently utilizing the sealant agitation handle.
Newer models like Hotbox10 have an inlet guard by to block the plastic wrapper or any unmelted chunks from going into the spout and obstructing the valve.
Hotbox10’s Valve Inlet Guard to prevents plastic from clogging the valve
After successfully repairing the cracks we’ll now discuss the final part which is how to Shut Down the melter/applicator properly.
This process involves very simple steps. Turn off the propane gas regulator first followed by the torch ball valve and after doing that; remove the torch from the burner hole.
With Hotbox10 you can hang the torch in its designated rack.
Discard any sealant that you have not used because, its heating quality will not be the same anymore. Store the melter in a covered area where water will not be able to leak in to the tank. Make it a point that the unit has properly cooled already prior to covering.
With Hotbox10 you can fold the push handle and levers down to save space when transporting or storing the melter/applicator. Now you can load up the machine on your truck and head home!
Fold down Hotbox10’s handle to save some room on the truck.
Now you have finished the training on how to properly use the 10 gallon melter applicator. You are all set to fill asphalt cracks with confidence and of high quality!