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Stock tank heaters

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  • Stock tank heaters

    I've been using individual stall 5 gallon heated buckets for years (one in each stall) and I'm now thinking of changing to an outside stock tank with a heater so I don't have to carry water buckets through the winter--my back problems and my hip replacement muscle complication that still isn't OK make carrying 5 gallon buckets a little more difficult than past winters. Using a hose is MUCH easier.

    My horses are rarely kept inside and have access to their stalls 24/7. They are good drinkers and I don't worry about that. They tend to drink more from large containers and water that isn't too warm--they are a little odd that way, but that's the way they are. :-) I can place the stock tank close to my frost free hydrant--may be about 10 feet away--and cut a hose to a short length so I can easily drain it to keep it from freezing up after each use.

    I only have two horses, so I thought I'd just keep about 50 gallons in it at any given time and just add some more as needed every couple of days or so using the short hose, and then dump it and clean it once a week. What do you think--is that often enough?

    Any preference or suggestions for the type and brand of tank heater to buy? I'm using a 100 gallon Rubbermaid tank and will rarely have more than 50 gallons in it. I live in upstate NY where we get hard core winter. I'm going to need to use a short extension cord. Any suggestions about the specs for that?

    Thanks.
    Horse'in around in Upstate NY

  • #2
    Originally posted by dm View Post
    I've been using individual stall 5 gallon heated buckets for years (one in each stall) and I'm now thinking of changing to an outside stock tank with a heater so I don't have to carry water buckets through the winter--my back problems and my hip replacement muscle complication that still isn't OK make carrying 5 gallon buckets a little more difficult than past winters. Using a hose is MUCH easier.

    My horses are rarely kept inside and have access to their stalls 24/7. They are good drinkers and I don't worry about that. They tend to drink more from large containers and water that isn't too warm--they are a little odd that way, but that's the way they are. :-) I can place the stock tank close to my frost free hydrant--may be about 10 feet away--and cut a hose to a short length so I can easily drain it to keep it from freezing up after each use.

    I only have two horses, so I thought I'd just keep about 50 gallons in it at any given time and just add some more as needed every couple of days or so using the short hose, and then dump it and clean it once a week. What do you think--is that often enough?

    Any preference or suggestions for the type and brand of tank heater to buy? I'm using a 100 gallon Rubbermaid tank and will rarely have more than 50 gallons in it. I live in upstate NY where we get hard core winter. I'm going to need to use a short extension cord. Any suggestions about the specs for that?

    Thanks.
    Funny...this is EXACTLY my situation to a perfect T, right up to the horses who don't like water too warm and the rubbermaid tank that I don't fill all the way! LOL!

    I have a 150 gallon Rubbermaid tank, and I use the drain plug heater that is made for the drain hole of those tanks (the universal drain plug heater has a smaller piece that goes through the hole, and they are known to leak around the seal). Use this one: http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.h...FUQw4AodxG4AqA

    Anywho, use this with an outlet that has a ground fault (the ones that will shut off power at the plug if something goes wrong).

    Also, you must ground the tank (if metal) or the water itself (if in plastic, as yours is). If you follow the instructions in the package, you'll be fine.

    Basically, you install the heater, fill with water. Then, near your tank, you need to pound in a ground rod. Clamp a piece of wire that will conduct to the ground rod. Take the other end of the wire, and put it up over the tank side, and into the water, so that the metal is ALWAYS in the water. Any stray voltage that may happen into the water will follow the wire and ground out so the horses don't get shocked.

    And they CAN get shocked if you don't properly ground the water this way. Ask me how I know! BUT...as soon as I followed the directions adn installed the ground rod and wire, they never had an issue.

    With a metal tank, you would do the same, only instead of the wire going into the water, you can clamp that end right to the tank.

    I fill my tank, they drink it down, and then I scrub, dump, rinse, refill. Probably lasts a week and it never gets yucky.

    I unplug it during the day if its warmer because my horses don't like WARM water. Wierdos.

    I'm in Vermont, we've had nights with 30 below zero temperatures, and the heater has NEVER allowed the water to even ice over.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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    • #3
      That is good to know! I have never grounded mine, but it is a great idea.

      I would definitely go with the plug de icers if you use a rubbermaid tank. I used a heater with a cage in mine last year; the horses somehow got the cage loose so the heater was directly in contact with the tank. It heated a hole in the tank. The floating blue heaters have never worked for me in the extreme cold; they de-ice a small area around the heater but don't seem to get hot enough to de-ice a large section of the water. Plus my horses always enjoy playing with them and they end up on the ground!

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      • #4
        you described my situation exactly. 2 horses, 24 hour access to a run-in and also to stalls if the weather is really bad. Buckets in the stalls just doesn't make sense in my situation at all.
        I tried a 50 gallon trough with a floating de-icer and that was a disaster. One or both of the horses thought that it was great fun to take it out and play with it. Switched to a 100 gallon trough (because I needed the drain hole) and the drain hole de-icer. First winter, leakage. Why? Because one of the horses liked to play in the water and bent the heating element all up. I raised the trough up on blocks and that problem has been solved.
        I drilled a hole in the side of the barn for plugging in, and the hydrant is right there with about a 10 foot section of hose for filling. It works perfectly for my situation.
        The only thing I'd watch out for is the extension cord, I remember my instructions sounding pretty opposed to using with an exension cord, luckily that wasn't an issue for me but before you burn something up you'd better check on that.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Is this ground wire thing an absolute fix for taking care of the stray voltage? I don't want my horses getting shocked at all--ever!

          Our soil is super rocky and it's difficult to pound in a ground rod very far. How far is far enough?

          I'm starting to have second thoughts. Stray voltage is scaring me. I didn't know about that. Good thing I posted here before just plugging in the de-icer and dropping it in.
          Horse'in around in Upstate NY

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