Within the last week, someone advertising on the craigslist
for Eau Claire, Wisconsin offered two antique wood fire stock tank heaters for sale. The listing included pictures which might help you out. These were cast iron and, from the looks of the rust, pretty old.
We used a plain metal 55 gallon drum, top cut open, filled maybe 12" with large rocks for ballast, filled it about somewhat less than 1/3 with diesel and set it on fire.
A drum would last two or three years, then rust thru.
Do not do that in a plastic tank, only metal ones, or you will melt the plastic bottom.
We didn't have plastic tanks in those days, just metal or concrete ones.
I don't know how that would work with today's diesel, that is not pure, but has so many additives.
A friend of mine rigged up some sort of solar powered trough heater this winter. I'd like to see it in action, will it heat up a full trough during our deep freeze is what I want to know.
The electricity to run my two electric heaters is sucking my budget dry, with Ontario having the highest hydro costs in North America, any alternative to electric heat is more than welcomed.
"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”
― Anna Sewell
Up-at-5, a simple way to save a little money on your extreme cost of heating the stock tanks is this: go to a camping supply store and buy one of the pads they sell to put under sleeping bags for backpackers. These are foam and not very thick. Cut the foam to fit the shape of your stock tank. Float the foam on the surface of the water. We put our water surface covers in each night and remove them in the morning as we have around 30 horses who need access to the tank. If you only have a few, you could leave the cover on all the time and just cut a muzzle sized hole in the surface to let horses drink. We find the cover saves us around $10 per month on electricity. The pads only cost about $10 so payback is really fast and they are easy to cut with a utility knife.
We're in our second week of single digits at night and 20's during the day; I can just picture all kinds of stuff frozen immobile in our water tanks! But what the heck... the cows especially are not happy without water all the time.
Cowboymom, the water surface insulating foam is used with a stock tank heater, not alone. It saves some of the expense by letting the heater run less often.
None of our horses have ever pulled the foam out of the tank. Might be they can't get hold of it or might be that they just don't find that interesting. The foam is floating on the water surface which is several inches below the top of the tank; maybe that makes the difference.
Some one is selling it on Ebay for $100.00. It is a top you can put on your own 55gal drum.
Can't make link work, but search Ebay for , Stock Tank Heater Wood Burning, it is the first one. You can make it easy.