water heater killing horses

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by fishhead, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,301
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    On the goat thread a poster warned readers about some tank heaters shorting out and electrocuting some horses.

    For all you electricians out there is it possible to put a heavy bare copper wire in the tank and run it to a ground rod to provide a measure of safety in case a heater starts shorting out?

    I'm thinking that the wire would provide a better route to ground and at least reduce the amount of electricity available to shock the animal.

    Am I close?
     
  2. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    486
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    The best method is to power the tank heater from a gfci outlet or from an outlet hooked to a gfci breaker.

    That way, if the heater shorts out, or a horse chews a cord, or whatever, the gfci will trip instantly and nobody ( your or the horse ) gets a shock.
     

  3. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,301
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    Good idea. I forgot about that option. Thanks.
     
  4. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    23,388
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    My old chicken waterer, or floating pan waterer finally died after over 20 yrs. I got another another one, and its shorting out also, At $20 a whack, I cant afford to keep replacing them, and weve got a hard winter storm comeing on. What can I do?
     
  5. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,869
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Earth
    Five gallon bucket of hot (real warm) water twice a day...
     
  6. js2743

    js2743 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    845
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Location:
    scott county, virginia
    i have a automatic waterer its called ....THE JUG... works very well has never frozen its made for cattle but the horses drink from it also. i have never had any trouble with this waterer. no matter how cold it gets.
     
  7. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Ant time you get involved with grounding around livestock you need to be pretty sharp to avoid stray currents. In the case of a separate ground rod at a waterer, it would have to be securely bonded to the ground from the power source, and any netal tank or pump housings also. As an example, if you had a ground rod driven at the waterer and attached a ground wire to the metal water tank, you would have a legitimately grounded tank. If you add a heater that is plugged into a distant building, it will also be grounded by the ground wire in the power cord. The issue here is what is called a difference of ground potential. There will be voltage flowing from one ground to the other, usually a very low amount of loltage, but it is there. Some animals, cows in particular, will not get near this, if they detect the slightest bit of voltage. This is why a GFCI receptacle or breaker is a great idea, and a separate ground rod may not be.
     
  8. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,301
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    Thanks for the help.
     
  9. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    486
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    For chicken I used the metal chicken water heaters that look like a trash can lid, just a bit taller, that had a low wattage heating element in them. You set the waterer on top, the heat travels thru the metal lid into the bottom of the waterer, not freezing at all, and low wattage is good so low electric cost. I think they are only like 100 watts. There would be a bit of frost around the edges on the real cold ( sub zero around here is real cold ) nights, but the chickens always had water to drink. I ran two of them with two 7 gallon waterers so I only had to fill the waterers every week or so....can you tell I like low maintenance livestock?

    I keep doing this, but here we go again: I put one of these brower livestock waterers in, its self filling, has a 250 watt heating element, uses ground heat coming up a 12 inch vertical pipe to help keep the water frost free. Great, great, waterer.

    I put it in straddling a fence line so animals on each side of the fence can get water from it.

    http://www.browerequip.com/products/brower/perform/perform.html

    It cost me around $200 on sale, but if I had just bought one of those first before I bought the 4 rubbermaid 100 gallon tanks at $50 each and 4 heaters that go in the drain holes at $20 each, I would have been money ahead. I won't use a floating heater, to much chance for an animal to 'play' with it or the cord, chew thru the cord, and cause a problem. If I have to use a tank heater and a tank from time to time, I use one that goes in the drain plug so its out of sight and mind.

    They are all plugged into gfci outlets, so I don't have to worry about sticking my hand in the water every morning and night to check the temp of it.

    Since the brower is self filling, I also don't have to wrestle with any buckets of water or frozen hoses...I used to keep a 3 foot section of hose just to fill the tanks in the winter from the hydrant next to them, I have had those hoses shatter as it was so cold out the hose broke into lots of little pieces when I went to use it.
     
  10. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,301
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    "....uses ground heat coming up a 12 inch vertical pipe to help keep the water frost free."

    Would you please elaborate?
     
  11. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    486
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    Well the heater sits on a concrete pad, in the center of a pad is a 12 inch cylinder going down 3 feet ( at least ) into the ground, the water pipe and electrical come into this vertical shaft, then come up thru the bottom of the heater.

    So having that open air space 3 feet tall and one foot wide under the heater brings the underground warmth up against the bottom of the heater to help keep the water from freezing, not to mention as the animals drink, more water is brought up via the underground pipe and put into the waterer, also contributing to less wattage of heat needed to stay non freezing. The drink areas are also smaller in surface area, the walls are one inch thick plastic, all designed to conserve the heat from underground and the heat in the water that comes in to reduce your electrical cost to keep the waterer frost free.

    They have some that are guaranteed freeze proof, even without electrical heaters. Those waterers have flaps on them that the animals learn to flip up to get at the water ( you start out with the flaps tied up so the animals learn the water is there, cattle and horses have no problems flipping the flaps up to get a drink ).

    http://www.browerequip.com/products/brower/100ener/drinker.htm
     
  12. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,301
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    Thanks. I've wondered how effective it would be to put in a dry well so the heat of the earth could be used. I would assume the deeper you go the more heat would be available because you would be going beyond the frost line.

    I've also thought of using a dry well to remove the moisture from the air in my basement. Blow the air down the well to cool it below the dew point. The air should be drier when it comes back up.