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View Full Version : What tank heaters do to your electric bill!



SCF01
Jan. 7, 2009, 01:55 PM
:eek: :eek: Ouch. :eek: :eek:

I guess time has healed the pain since last winter. Those things (and electric buckets) must really pull some amps!

mkevent
Jan. 7, 2009, 02:47 PM
Personally(I have no scientific data to back this up) I think the floating tank deicers use less electricity than the drain plug or sinking deicers or the heated muck buckets. The floating deicers keep ice from forming on the top, while the other varieties heat from the bottom-I think the water has to be warmer to keep the ice from forming on top and that can be a lot of water to heat!! I also always see steam rising from the heated muck bucket but not from the floating deicer tubs. Not sure about the heated buckets-but at least your only keeping 5 gallons unfrozen vs a 100 gallon tank. Just my 2 cents

SCF01
Jan. 7, 2009, 02:52 PM
I think the floating de-icers would may nice play toys for the horses. :yes: They'd likely end up on the ground.

JSwan
Jan. 7, 2009, 02:52 PM
Does your power company offer a budget plan? I've got family members that use that; the power company averages your bill over 12 months and you pay a flat fee. No more surprises in the mail.

Whether or not that dovetails with your personal finances or philosophy is a whole 'nuther subject!

mkevent
Jan. 7, 2009, 02:59 PM
I've used the deicers for years and only a few times have they been pulled out of the tank. For the younger, more playful horses I kept half of the tank on the other side of the fence(where there were no horses) and kept the deicer on that side-I know some people have encased the cord in PVC pipe and made it so the horses couldn't pull it out of the tank-I guess it just takes trial and error if you think it would be worthwhile trying the floating kind.

CB/TB
Jan. 7, 2009, 07:10 PM
I've never had a problem with the floating de-icers and my horses or goats. I do have the cord run through a piece of PVC tied to the fence so it can bob and move as th ewater level goes down. I have the tank up against the fencing so nobody can go behind it. It adds a bit to the electric bill , but I've never actually paid much attention. I need it, so why make myself crazy with a few dollars. We have a few window air conditioning units i( in the house)in the summer, so what's the difference? Actually, the trough heaters probably use less, since they are only on if th ewater temp gets below 40(?). I was hauling 40+ gallons a day before we got smart and got the tub ( many years ago) so saving myself that back breaking job alone is worth whatever it costs.

M.K.Smith
Jan. 7, 2009, 07:31 PM
So far, I've just been breaking ice this year, but last year when we had 3 of the muck tub sized plug in buckets our bill went up by 30 or 40 dollars a month. I was shocked by the increase... I think they're also supposed to be thermostatically controlled and we live in an area where they shouldn't run all of the time.

SLW
Jan. 7, 2009, 09:31 PM
I consider stock tank heaters (and whatever increase in the electric bill) inexpensive prevention of impaction colics during the winter. They are suppose to turn off if the temp hit's "X" degrees but I have no way of confirming that they actually do.

Plus, seems like the times I've broken ice in the trough I always end up splattering myself with that ice cold water which freezes on my eyeglasses ASAP. Burrrr.

Auventera Two
Jan. 8, 2009, 09:13 AM
Does your power company offer a budget plan? I've got family members that use that; the power company averages your bill over 12 months and you pay a flat fee. No more surprises in the mail.

Whether or not that dovetails with your personal finances or philosophy is a whole 'nuther subject!

Yeah, we did that several years in a row. Then we got sick and damned tired of paying $106 per month, only to get one huge honkin bill at the end of the year for $500 because we "used more electricity than what was budgeted." Keep in mind, that the company helped us set up the budget, based upon past years bills. Nothing really changed from year to year, but yet all of a sudden they were killing us on fees.

We now pay for exactly what we use every single month - said screw the budget - and we've had no more big honkin surprise bill at the end of the year to "settle up" over what wasn't covered by the budget plan.

What I do every year for the tank heater is this - I moved the tank inside the barn so its out of the wind. This makes it possible to plug the tank it only 12 hours a day instead of running it for 24 hours, like we used to do when the tank was outside. The bucket heaters run at night, and of course are off during the day. My electric bill is about $30 higher per month during the winter, but its worth it.

kcmel
Jan. 8, 2009, 09:52 AM
I'm not really sure how much our bill goes up, since we are running fans and ac in the summer (now that puts a real hurtin' on the budget!). Our guys are in at night so we only use ours during the day. Also, if it is sunny and not terribly cold we unplug it after the tank thaws and it stays thawed.

SCF01
Jan. 8, 2009, 10:05 AM
My summer fans run much more often than the electric buckets for sure. That doesn't seem to be as expensive. In summer it may raise the bill 20.00 for fans a month. In winter, it can raise the bill 60.+ per month.

I don't run the heaters 24/7. I turn the breaker off to that plug that's out in the field when it's not too cold.

All this whining I'm doing ;), I still would rather pay the bill than break ice or have a sick horse.

draftdriver
Jan. 8, 2009, 11:38 AM
I bought a heavy-duty timer and set it to come on 4 times a day, for about 45 minutes each time. I increase the length of time it's on during very cold weather, and decrease it for warmer weather.

goodhors
Jan. 8, 2009, 01:03 PM
Our tanks are inside of insulated boxes, with a cover over half the top. Heater is a sinker, in the covered half with cord out thru the back of box. Horses CERTAINLY would be playing with the heater if possible. Cover helps hold in heat, prevent ANY diving for the heater. We heard about one horse who went for the drainplug heater, even with water depth over his head. Totally trashed a couple brand new drain heaters this way, before owner got tank covered, leaving only a small hole to drink out of. No floaters in tanks, too enticing a toy.

Heaters are expensive to run. Make our meter spin! We refill tanks daily at night, put cover on open end, since horses are all barned at night. So far, I have been able to just plug them in a couple hours in the morning before doing chores, and water stays thawed out. I plug in very early, take kid to school, eat breakfast, then let horses out. Unplug and that is all tanks need for unfrozen water all day. Seldom even any ice by nightfall.

Insulated boxes and covers on tanks help MUCH, saving lots of money. I might need to run heaters overnight if temps are consistantly below zero and stong winds. They still stay open during the day, and unplugged.

Night time electric is cheaper to buy. Then with heaters being unplugged during daylight, the heaters can't do any stray voltage leaks, to prevent horses from drinking.

One horse has a heated bucket at night. She is the one who drinks poorly, so this seems to work best. She and the rest of horses get salt added to grain daily. Tank water goes down consistantly or I start increasing the salt. She has scared us with an "almost" impaction colic a couple times, no surgeries. She has lost her chance to be free choice in drinking. All the other stalled horses usually drink most of their 5gallon buckets unless it freezes at night.

I am about as minimalized with heaters as possible, trying to save money on electric.

Murphy's Mom
Jan. 8, 2009, 01:19 PM
I bought a heavy-duty timer and set it to come on 4 times a day, for about 45 minutes each time. I increase the length of time it's on during very cold weather, and decrease it for warmer weather.
My friend does this and has had great results. I meant to try it but haven't so far this year.

2Below
Jan. 8, 2009, 01:28 PM
Personally(I have no scientific data to back this up) I think the floating tank deicers use less electricity than the drain plug or sinking deicers or the heated muck buckets. The floating deicers keep ice from forming on the top, while the other varieties heat from the bottom-I think the water has to be warmer to keep the ice from forming on top and that can be a lot of water to heat!! I also always see steam rising from the heated muck bucket but not from the floating deicer tubs. Not sure about the heated buckets-but at least your only keeping 5 gallons unfrozen vs a 100 gallon tank. Just my 2 cents

I agree, although, I have no data either, except that it makes sense to me! My electric bill nearly doubles in winter, but it's more the heater in the pump house to keep the jack pump from freezing than buckets/deicers. I unplug the stall buckets while the horses are out, and unplug the tanks when they're in. Except of course when it's a high of -10 for a stretch, better just leave them plugged in or the tank will be a solid block of ice by morning! Some things we just have to live with in the tundra, keeping water from freezing is a necessity.

Jasmine
Jan. 8, 2009, 02:14 PM
We have three tank heaters and one heated auto waterer. Our electric bill went up by all of $10/month for the winter. We have nice, thick, insulated boxes for the tanks, complete with top lids with holes cut in them. It really saves on the electric bill.

equusrocks
Jan. 8, 2009, 02:20 PM
I used the floating de-icer and didn't notice much of an increase...maybe 10 or 15 bucks a month...??? I only really used it Nov-March. I spent more on coffee monthly. :lol:

MintHillFarm
Jan. 8, 2009, 02:25 PM
Yes, those buckets do send the usage way up! My bill goes up 25.00 + (for 6 buckets) easily a month. BUT, I love them and they work great! Now, plugging the Ford tractor in was the real killer. I use to keep in plugged in 24/7. I was told it only really needs an hour or 2 to warm up, so I just do that now prior to starting it. That has helped bring the bill back down...

Cashela
Jan. 8, 2009, 02:33 PM
Our bill goes up $45 is the winter. I have one large trough that I run the heater with. Can't use the floating one because Cricket will do the cookaracha dance on it.

SuperSTB
Jan. 8, 2009, 02:33 PM
Yeah, we did that several years in a row. Then we got sick and damned tired of paying $106 per month, only to get one huge honkin bill at the end of the year for $500 because we "used more electricity than what was budgeted." Keep in mind, that the company helped us set up the budget, based upon past years bills. Nothing really changed from year to year, but yet all of a sudden they were killing us on fees.


This happened to us one year as well. Upon many calls to badger customer service the final verdict was "They don't take into consideration the potential for distributers to change their rates." Yeah so much for that.

And I had one year of major problems too... they send the meter readers around to take reading every month right? Well I guess they were short staffed or had incompetent staff (whatever the case may be) so for the months of June, July, and August our electric bills was very close to the same as the previous year. Not thinking anything of it- just send the check out right? Well in September the typical $150 bill was a whopping $900. I was OMG... swear swear swear. Call to the electric company to 'investigate'. Well they said the meter reading for Sept was XXXXX and the meter reading from way back in April was XXXXX, so they did the math, deducted the payments I had made for each month April-July and voila I owed about $900. So I wrote some rather nice and then later some real nasty letters to just about anyone who'd receive them. Of course I did have to shell out the cash so as to not compromise service and hope to heck that they'd straighten it out.

Come to find out that they were getting 'false' readings and instead of actually verifying the readings they just *skipped* reading the months June, July, and August and based in on last years usage. Factor in an added appliance of an air conditioner plus a rate increase and I got a lovely whopping bill.

Lesson learned... I actually record the meter number at the beginning of each month and compare to my bill. PIA- absolutely.

As to the de-icers. Mine were always breaking. It was very fustrating to not know from one day to the next if the things were going to be working or not. And then there were the 'helpful' people who'd unplug them when it was warm and 'forget' to plug them back in. Yes a couple of horses did find they made great toys.