Question about stock tank de-icers.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by homebirtha, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Good golly, it's cold. We want to get one of those stock tank de-icer/heater things, but haven't gotten electric run out to the pasture yet. Can you plus those heaters into an extension cord? Or do they have to be on a regular outlet? I'm tired of breaking ice and hauling hot water.
     
  2. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    Use a good heavy extention cord and you will be fine.

    Keep in mind that cattle get bored, and will play with the cord and when water is low enough, will play with the heater.

    I have my tank near a fence post. I run the cord through a PVC pipe that is about 8 foot tall, that goes into the tank. I have the pipe wire tied to the fence post.
     

  3. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! And good point on the cord play... especially since this is for goats who are probably even more likely to be destructive. :p

     
  4. travis91

    travis91 Formerly 4animals.

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    get one that sits in the bottom of the tank
     
  5. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Can I ask why? Is that better for goats? or does it just work better in general? This is a plastic stock tank, if that matters.

     
  6. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    The ones that fit in the bottom are harder for the animals to play with. They should have a standoff that keeps the actual element from contacting the bottom.
     
  7. travis91

    travis91 Formerly 4animals.

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    if its plastic you MUST use one that repaceses the drain plug or sits on the bottom th floating one will melt the tank
     
  8. Emily Nouvertne

    Emily Nouvertne Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to plug this extension cord into a GFCI (outdoor) outlet it may shut off automatically as the de-icer is functioning on a short circuit. Or should I say that is what I have been told... Just keep an eye on it. I had many years of good thawed stock tanks but have also had my days of froze up tanks due to the outlet shutting down. I preferred my cord to have one of those night lights at the end (of course they are more expensive) then when I looked out the window to check the electric to the tank I would know before I went to bed at night! Just a thought.
     
  9. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Ok, one more question. DH's concern was that the cord was too long for that much wattage? It's about 150 feet from the outlet. Is that too far?
     
  10. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I WISH that I only had to run extension cords 150 feet.
    I use the floating de-icers on my heavy plastic water tanks but I put the extra wire guard thing on it to keep it away from the sides.
    I was reading somewhere else about using propane stock tank heaters and I got all excited. Then I saw the price--- $385 !!!!!! I am still thinking about it..... I have two cows and a calf in a pasture with a small pond that is in a weird place that you cannot drive to. I really hate having to hike up there and chop ice but I am not sure that I hate it $385 worth yet..... I still take them a few gallons of water over each morning for a quick drink. When the temps are this cold, the pond freezes back almost before my eyes.
    Tana Mc
     
  11. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    150 feet is a long way, but not to far. Build your own cord. Buy good 12 guage, three wire, electrical wire. Add a good male and female plug, and you are set to go. This is no the place to try to save a few bucks.
     
  12. thedonkeyman

    thedonkeyman Well-Known Member

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    There is a small solar panel for electric fence chargers. Would that work ?
     
  13. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    I use the bottom heater for a Rubbermaid tank. Powered with a 100' contractor's extension cord. It hasn't ever gotten warm, so it must be able to handle the load. Remember, the heaters only heat the water to about 40 F, so the load generally won't be that much.
     
  14. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    the Floating tank heaters are a wast of money, when compaired to a bottom tank heater, and when it is cold the floating ones will not keep ice out of the tank, the bottom ones of the same wattage will, IN my experance,

    I have steel tanks, but I would think you could poke a few holes in a old steel feed pan and wire the heater to it to the bottom of the pan and make a stand to keep it off the bottom of the tank and the sides, If nessary run the wire in a pipe to keep the animals from damageing it,

    (the solar unit will not provide enough power for a heater,)
     
  15. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I did check into a solar de-icing system and discovered something that they call a "bubbler". It is basically a small solar pond aerator for stock tanks. It uses a solar panel to provide the power to just pump in enough air to bubble the surface to keep it moving and not freeze. It shuts down at night but when the sun comes up, it starts up again. The idea is to move the warmer water from the bottom of the tank with the air bubbles to thaw it out. I am not sure that I believe that it will be able to thaw it out during the day unless it is a really big stock tank. I am sure that there is some way to rig up a rechargeable battery but then things start to get complicated and require a storage area, etc,etc. Besides-- the price tag was $450+ shipping........made the propane heater look like a bargain.
    I agree about the bottom heaters being the best. I use alot of smaller tanks for my lots/paddocks with only a few animals in them. I move these animals frequently and the floating de-icer is cheaper and easier to use in the small tank. I do use a bottom heater that fits in the drain plug for the large metal tanks in the permanent horse pasture.
    Tana Mc
     
  16. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The floating heaters in a plastic tank are supposed to be equipped with an optional wire standoff guard. I've been using floating heaters without guards in plastic tanks for years without a problem.
     
  17. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    here a warm day in january is -32 . we have 500 watt bottem heaters in a shallow rubbermaid tank for the sheep ,while the ice may build up on the sides a bit they require less power than floaters (have two in storage,1 caged other open) and do the job anything above -15 the tank is clear.have not tryd the rubber maid plug heaters as this worked. i would get direct bury 12 guage and run through a poly sheath to protect from goatling feasting and other damage. when ready to bury the put in trench. do not mess around with a plug at the panel ,wire direct to breaker.
     
  18. mrs_bombdog

    mrs_bombdog Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new here but thought I would share my experience from the last couple of days.

    I work at the local feed store and own 1 gelding. I board another. The temp got down past -15 the last two nights. I already had a 1000 watt heater in the plug of my rubbermaid tank but it wasn't good enough for the extreme cold. So one of my customers convinced me that the price of a floating heater ($24) was way cheaper than a rendering of a colicky horse. Ugh! So I put a splitter on the end of the extension cord, wrapped the cord of the floating heater around the fence wire until the heater dangled right in the middle of the tank. I fed them each extra hay to keep them busy all night in hopes there wouldn't be any cord chewing. We do have one of those outlets that shut off when theres a problem in case they do.

    The first morning I went out there the water in the bottom of the tank was still thawed but the ice had formed to within about 3 inches of the floating heater. Well good enough. They can drink.

    The second morning I found the tank completely thawed and the floating heater on the ground. The splitter had been chewed and half of the cord to the heater was in the bottom of the tank.

    That's it! Those idiots will have to try to chew through pvc from now on.

    Horses.......someday I may get hungry enough to eat them.

    Dana in Colorado :sing:
     
  19. travis91

    travis91 Formerly 4animals.

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    you could even make a cage out of a stock planel to put into he tank to surround the heater so the livestock would not mess with the heater
     
  20. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    I've a 100 Gallon Rubbermaid tank that I built a wood enclosure around..then I wrapped insulation along the inside of the wood enclosure but outside of the Rubbermaid tank..and then I put a bubbler in the bottom of the tank (actually a pump they use to have a fountain in homemade ponds) and I keep the pump wide open and moving the water..and it has never completely frozen over..even at -15.

    But I only use that for fish anyway..not for livestock water. For our goats and sheep..we've used the 5 gallon buckets that have a heating coil built right into them.

    Perhaps for those who feed large livestock..a combination of things might prove effective..such as using both a bottom heater and a water pump..or a top heater and water pump..or either heater coupled with enclosing and insulating the tank.

    I do not recommend just a regular extension cord for longer than 50 feet. Longer than 50 feet would be better suited with 12ga..and do not use more than one extension cord. I once used a 100 foot cord for heating a tank..but I also enclosed the entire length in pvc (relatively cheap per 10' length)..and then I used GFCI protection at both ends.