The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    The Prairie
    Posts
    5,448

    Default Checking water tank for stray voltage? Water tank woes

    I might have a stray voltage problem with my water tank. We have a plastic water tank with a drain hole heater. We have had the same set up with absolutely no problems for 13 years, this winter I have no end of issues.

    To make a long story short...I am now suspecting stray voltage.

    A search of past threads seems to suggest I can use a fence tester to check for voltage. I have one; it is the kind where you push a spikey thing (technical term) in the ground next to the fence and then touch the tester part (another technical term) to the fence line.

    Can I use that to test the water? I would like to test it before changing the whole set up again, but I also woudl like to avoid electrocution.

    I don't feel any current when I put my hand in. Based on my observations, one horse is prepared to drink from the tank but the other two are not.
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2009
    Posts
    1,258

    Default

    You won't feel it with your hand I suspect. Tongues are the best for feeling any current however I doubt very much you wish to be sticking your tongue in a water trough. Your fence tester will probably not work, you need specialized testers for water. I believe horses are our best testers should anything go wrong with the electricity going out to our water so if I were you I'd just change the heater.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,389

    Default

    You'd need to buy a voltmeter to really check.

    I'd just replace the heater. If you are using extension cords, which most folks do....then you might just swap those out.

    Meanwhile set out some buckets or unplug it so they'll all drink...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    The Prairie
    Posts
    5,448

    Default

    I am not above sticking my tongue in the water...


    No extension cord, the heater plugs right into the wall of the run in. Switching out the third heater in one month is a hassle I would prefer to avoid if it is unnecessary, I really want to make sure that is indeed the problem.

    Where can I buy a voltmeter? Home Depot? Rona?
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,389

    Default

    yep, Home Depot will have one. Shouldn't cost much and will give you a digital readout of voltage....tell them what you're wanting to check and they can show you how to use it...if there's a mom and pop electrical supply house, their counter guys for sure can show you...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2007
    Posts
    364

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    I am not above sticking my tongue in the water...

    A true horse woman.

    Pictures please.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2008
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    58

    Default Whatever you do, do it quick...

    We had this problem (discussed in previous posts). My hubby even drove a grounding rod into the ground and grounded it with copper wire. It turns out the problem was a faulty tank heater. We found out when our electric bill was $475!! It's normally just under $200 this time of year. Whatever you do, you might want to do it quickly!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    The Prairie
    Posts
    5,448

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by imaginique View Post
    A true horse woman.

    Pictures please.
    It gets even better. It occurred to me that if I stick my tongue in the water while standing in rubber boots, I would likely be insulated and would feel nothing (that is about as much as I can remember from high school science...) So I went one step further and climbed on the water tank so that no foot touched the ground and then stuck my tongue in the water. Felt nada (other than the astonished stares of the horses).

    And no, there is no photographic evidence

    After I tried the tongue trick, I did go out and buy a voltmeter. No reading. DH will try it himself as well. If he also gets no reading...I am stumped. Perhaps we will just try a different brand of heater (maybe there is a reason these are all on sale....).

    Horses have water in their stalls all evening and all night so I guess I will have to continue hand watering a couple times during the day until we sort this out (hung buckets would freeze in literally no time).
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 1, 2004
    Location
    north of Atlanta GA
    Posts
    3,747

    Default

    You could try leaving the heater on at night when the horses are in the barn and unplugging it when they go out. At least the water will be warm and take longer to freeze. Down here in Georgia, I only plug the heaters in at night and even when we had 2 weeks on temps that never got above freezing, the water never froze. (heaters plugged in at 5pm and unplugged at 7:30am)



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2007
    Posts
    364

    Default I have an idea

    Suppose you make your own heated water tank the same way they make the heated buckets? Take an extra tank a bit bigger than the one you have, wrap the smaller tank in heat tape, set inside the larger tank and drill a hole to run the cord through. The result would be a heated tank with no possibility of stray voltage to shock the horses--or humans testing the water for voltage.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Location
    KY, USA
    Posts
    1,937

    Default

    Normal volt meter will not pick up stray voltage, need a mega volt meter. You're looking for small voltage leaks.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,389

    Default

    meh, the SO is a master electrician, tests our tank with a volt meter. What is this about a 'mega volt meter?' link?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 5, 2006
    Posts
    172

    Default

    When you do figure out what is potentially wrong and fix it, you may have to move your trough. I had this problem recently. One of my run in sheds has a trough set inside of it, but when the electrical problem developed the water literally became "hot" to the touch (I did not have to put my tongue in it to determine it had a current, my hand was enough). We had the outlet the heater was plugged into serviced by an electrician which fixed the issue, but the two mares that were living in the field and shed absolutely refused to drink from it. They had obviously been zapped. I had to move the trough to a completely different location to convince them to go back to using it.
    New Blessing Farm
    Standing the Oldenburg stallion Legaczy
    www.newblessingfarm.com
    "The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground".



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2001
    Location
    up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
    Posts
    3,612

    Default

    OMGIH. I have no ideas for you, but the mental image of you straddling your stock tank while trying to taste the water and not fall in as your horses look on going "WTF!" is just ... awesome!! I'm dying here!
    Full-time bargain hunter.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2009
    Posts
    1,258

    Default

    I am super impressed with you Mozart!

    One thought which occurred to me. I had a horse who would not drink out of a trough with a heater in it. All the other horses in the field would, but not this one. I don't know how or why I figured this out but it seems that she did not like the sound of the electricity. She obviously could hear it because the moment I switched the electricity off, she would drink. Now I did have mine on an extension cord and so I took it off the extension cord and voila! she drank again. Could the cord on your heater be emitting some electricity noise do you think? Is this horse super sensitive?



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2001
    Location
    Catharpin, Virginia
    Posts
    6,694

    Default

    Actually, if you stick one hand in the water and wet your other hand and put it on the ground, you should be able to feel the "tingling" from the electricity.

    I have the problem as well with tanks that are near large overhead transmission lines.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2002
    Location
    East of Dog River
    Posts
    5,731

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sid View Post
    Actually, if you stick one hand in the water and wet your other hand and put it on the ground, you should be able to feel the "tingling" from the electricity.

    I have the problem as well with tanks that are near large overhead transmission lines.
    That only works if you HAVE ground, and I am betting Mozart has about the same amount of bare ground as I have - none.


    Mozart - go get yourself a multi-meter with different settings so you can pick up little bits of current, and set it to the highest possible setting - I think it measures in ten thousandths of a volt, same for amps...or maybe it's thousandths, mine is in the workshop and I am not
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

    Member: Incredible Invisbles



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2000
    Location
    NE TN, USA
    Posts
    6,201

    Default

    If changing the heater didn't solve the problem, it may be in the wiring. A GFIC receptacle tester will usually reveal this. They're easy to use, just plug in the receptacle and check the indicator lights.

    There are some very unusual problems that these testers won't pick up on. If that doesn't work, you'll probably want to contact an electrician.

    Incidentally, a millivolt meter, not a megavolt meter, was what the above poster was referring to.

    It's also possible to have circulating ground currents, a big problem around dairy barns. The cows tend to get teatillated when milked, and fail to see the humor in it! These currents are usually (but not always) the domain of the power company.
    “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
    John Adams



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2003
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    656

    Default

    This is very educational. Thanks to our many electrical experts on this board! Must go put my tongue in the water trough now, with my other wet hand in the snow, my rubber boots off. Horses won't drink.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,389

    Default

    YES- multi meter, not mega meter, I'm sorry I didn't think to tell you that... you can adjust it's sensitivity...when our last heater flaked out, we couldn't feel a thing in the water, but the horses could. Wet hand to ground, other hand in water, nada. The meter read 11 volts. We humans apparenly can't feel 11 volts. But Chico the donkey can

    http://instrumentation2000.com/reedi...ultimeter.aspx

    +1 on moving the tank. They don't trust it.



Similar Threads

  1. Pull behind water tank for ring?
    By Sparky Boy in forum Around The Farm
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Apr. 11, 2012, 09:06 PM
  2. Algae in water tank
    By Ozalynda in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Aug. 18, 2011, 11:17 AM
  3. Water tank conflict
    By MizzouMom in forum Around The Farm
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Jul. 5, 2011, 10:13 PM
  4. Portable Hot Water Tank
    By denise1955 in forum Around The Farm
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Oct. 19, 2010, 01:43 PM
  5. Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jun. 19, 2009, 04:06 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
randomness