Heated Stock Tank Just Sprang a Leak -- What Do I Do NOW?
I just went out to turn the horses out for the night -- in the frigid cold and pitch black -- to discover the drain-plug stock tank heater has broken-off at the plug and the stock tank has drained out completely. Not only is it surrounded now by ice, but I have no way of getting water for my horses overnight. And, it's too late to go get another one and too dark and cold for me to try to figure this out tonight.
What should I do????
I can leave the boys in overnight and refill their water buckets with hot water around 10 p.m., and then tackle this in the morning -- in the clear light of day. Or -- any other ideas???
Oh, and I should add that I am recovering from emergency oral surgery done yesterday ... still taking pain meds. So ... overexertion in the freezing cold by myself out here on the prairie with my mouth still oozing blood ... not such a great idea.
Tomorrow there will be daylight, and temps above freezing (the weatherman promised!), and you will have help - I'll call or just swing by after my lesson. We'll see whether the tank itself is broken or if the 'leak' can be plugged by sticking a new heater in there, then go shopping.
Edit: Wait - is the pond completely frozen? If not, leave them out! It's only 27 now; much better than the minus-whatevers we've had the last few nights. And tomorrow it's supposed to break 40.
Yes, the pond actually is completely frozen. I have never seen things so frozen as they are right now. I had to bring their water buckets into the house and plop them in the bathtub to unfreeze them. Of course, this all happens after Mike is back at college and David has gone back to Connecticut ... I really could use the help -- even the moral support at this point!
I just topped off their water buckets with boiling water from the electric tea kettle, threw Elijah some extra hay and gave King an extra scoop of senior feed. Told everyone good night, turned off the light. Took a pain pill. Off to bed. Hopefully, Quin and I can figure this out tomorrow and all will be well.
So, all went well overnight. I topped off the waterbuckets with boiling water at around 11 p.m. Got a good night's rest (the first in awhile!). This morning, they still had water left in their buckets. Good ole King was happily dunking his hay in his water bucket, then gumming it on down. He LOFFS to do that!
I filled those hang-over feed buckets with warm water and hung them on the side of the stock tank, threw hay and pulled everyone's blankets OFF as it is supposed to reach 40-degrees today! Wahoo! Now I can settle in to fix this thing in the light of day and with a bit of warmth from the sun, too.
Winter sucks. Glad things are working out. Those drain plug de-icers are great but they do come with issues. We have one that somehow has managed to come loose twice and all the water has drained out of the tank. Luckily it was easily fixed with a wrench.
As much as I think drain plug heaters are theoretically the best and safest type, I stopped using them because of disasters like this, and went to sinking heaters. I had a few drain plug ones die in the trough in the winter, and there was really no way to repair them or even get them out easily. I've had hardly any problems with the drop in ones, and if I do, I can just pull it out and fix the problem or replace it with a new one.
I like the floating ones too. I have a "cage" thing that attaches to the heater . I have my tank up against the fencing and I have the heater cord run through a piece of PVC piping that's tied to the fence. It bobs and goes up and down with the water level so it's not hanging in mid air as the horses drink. I have to run an electrical cable from a work barn on its own circuit, to the tank, about 100'. Not ideal, but it's been working for me every winter for many, many years. And, i think I'm only on my second heater. I/m actually not sure the old one is really broken, but wasn't working one time so we bought another one, then found out the cable had become unplugged.
Former Wisconsin girl here. When you're out shopping today, get yourself a small rubber mallet. When your buckets freeze solid, tip them over and GENTLY* tap around the bottom and sides to loosen the giant ice cube. It'll pop out after a few taps.
By the end of the winter, I'd have a lovely ice sculpture behind the barn
*If you really hit the bucket, it'll shatter. Trust me & don't try it yourself!
I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.
oooh quinss near you i didnt know that haha
happy new year ladies and the rest of the guys on the topic
if your tanks outside - then stuff some manure round it as manure is natural heat source
that what i do every nov i spread my muck around my main trough the self filling one
as its in the horse field as long as i have take going then if the hose freezes it dont matter i can bucket the water to them nevr let me down yet in the 35 yrs i been at the place
as horses dont eat muck so can lagg allsorts with it if done right can be kept tidy and the good thing is when the waether past it goes back to being just dirt and dissapears
Quin just left. THANK YOU, Quin, for the help & the visit and the moral support!
We plugged the drain and used a sinking heater. Actually, I bought a convertible, floatable, sinkable, drain-plug-convertible heater. But the plug portion of the heater was too big to slip through the drain hole on my tank. So we converted it to a sinker, put a plug in the drain hole and voila! As long as the horses don't bother the sinker, we'll be fine. Now I just have to muck the stalls since the boys were in last night, and all will be well and back to normal.