Insulating stock tanks for winter - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 22 Old 10-30-2012, 11:18 PM
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DimSum That water heater looks like a great idea. I think I will give it a go so I don't have to rely on the water heaters as much. Thanks for that
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post #12 of 22 Old 10-30-2012, 11:44 PM
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we insulated are metal water tank with the blue styrofoam insulation and built a plywood box around it with a lid, so the only part that is open is the side the horses are on, so they can stick their head in. Insulating makes a huge difference, on the power bill. Now I need to insulate a bigger round plastic one. And figure out how to keep the small water buckets from freezing so quick. It hasn`t been to terribly cold yet, but I have to smash ice and add hot water 2x a day, so they can drink... frustrating, and alot of work. We need to invent something better than whats already out there.
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post #13 of 22 Old 11-02-2012, 01:18 AM
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I don't know if this will work, since I just did it and haven't had any freezing temps to speak of yet.

I took a leftover sheet of styrofoam type insulation and cut it to fit the bottom of the tank. I set the tank on top and I piled river rock around the bottom of the tank, all the way around up to about 2 inches. Because it stays sunny here most of the time (but certainly not warm!) the rocks will act as a heat sink and hopefully release heat into the tank during the night.
This is all theoretical, and I am waiting to see if it works! Worst case scenario, it looks nice!

I also keep a wooden board in the trough because the lizards here tend to jump in and drown unless I keep a ramp for them. This did come in handy the one night we got to 16 degrees F and had a thin layer of ice. I simply swirled the board and it broke the surface ice up. I don't know how well that would work with any thicker layer, though, and I suspect it wouldn't work very well.

I think insulating is a good idea in the long run.
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post #14 of 22 Old 11-02-2012, 02:46 AM
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I also figure about $1/day added to my electricity bill for a tank heater (150 gal tank). I attached my tank heater to a thermo-box so it would only kick on in temperatures far below freezing (lower than 20°F). That was, of course, not enough to keep ice from building up, but only very little which I just broke in the morning and evenings if the horses didn't already do that. Now, I have a frost-free hydrant above the tank, it's easy to refill if I have to scoop ice out. The tank heater was only in use when it was so cold that ice yould build up too fast and too thick to break. I did try to leave part of the tank covered with ice for insulation, though. This saved somewhat electricity, but was, of course, more work-intensive.
I would rather spend $75 on insulating my tank, but my horses would chew on any exposed wood and play with styrofoam, so I couldn't figure out how to insulate. Also cleaning isn't really possible if I can not tip the tank over anymore.
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post #15 of 22 Old 11-03-2012, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DimSum View Post
Perhaps this DIY project would work for your needs:
Build a Solar Stock Tank
Very cool! Unfortunately, I don't think we get enough hours of sunlight during mid winter for this to be effective. We can also get 2-3 months if very cold temps in the -20s and -30s.
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post #16 of 22 Old 11-03-2012, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by caljane View Post
I would rather spend $75 on insulating my tank, but my horses would chew on any exposed wood and play with styrofoam, so I couldn't figure out how to insulate. Also cleaning isn't really possible if I can not tip the tank over anymore.
Stick your tank 2/3 outside the pen with only 2-3 feet for them to access. Cover the part that is outside that they can't reach. Even an old door over the top will greatly improve heat retention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolio View Post
Very cool! Unfortunately, I don't think we get enough hours of sunlight during mid winter for this to be effective. We can also get 2-3 months if very cold temps in the -20s and -30s.
Building such a cover will not completely solve the icing over problems. You will still need the tank heater but the heater will run 50% less thus dramatically reducing your operating costs.
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post #17 of 22 Old 11-03-2012, 02:36 PM
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Very cool! Unfortunately, I don't think we get enough hours of sunlight during mid winter for this to be effective. We can also get 2-3 months if very cold temps in the -20s and -30s.
wow that's cold!

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post #18 of 22 Old 11-03-2012, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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wow that's cold!
Ah, but its a DRY cold... If you don't count the snow. We usually get at least a few days a year that dip into the -40s range, so -20 isn't that bad. I don't know what will be in store for us this year though. So far, we have had the coldest October since they started recording temperatures in the 1880's. We haven't seen a day above freezing in just over 3 weeks.
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post #19 of 22 Old 11-03-2012, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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We insulated one of our two tanks today (OK hubby did). He built a frame using 2x2 lumber and fit 1 1/2" styrofoam insulation with reflective backing (facing in) under an outer layer of 1/2" plywood. He cut a 12" x 18" opening in the top for the horses to drink out of.

This first tank is made of galvanized steel and has straight sides, so hubby was able to make a box with a pretty snug fit. The second plastic tank is tapered toward the bottom and has a thick lip on the top, so the fit in a rectangular box won't be near as snug. I am thinking of we may need a different design for the second tank. Any suggestions?
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post #20 of 22 Old 11-03-2012, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Koolio View Post
Ah, but its a DRY cold... If you don't count the snow. We usually get at least a few days a year that dip into the -40s range, so -20 isn't that bad. I don't know what will be in store for us this year though. So far, we have had the coldest October since they started recording temperatures in the 1880's. We haven't seen a day above freezing in just over 3 weeks.
((shudders)) and I complain when it gets 0 here

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