Water Tanks - Metal or Plastic

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Water Tanks - Metal or Plastic

This is a discussion on Water Tanks - Metal or Plastic within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

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    01-14-2009, 11:06 AM
Water Tanks - Metal or Plastic

I am planning on building a solar water tank for our horses and was wondering if anyone would know if metal or plastic tanks are better for absorbing/transferring heat from the sun to the water.

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    01-14-2009, 11:40 AM
Well you can get plastic rubbermaid tanks in black. And black absorbs heat the best, so that might be your best choice.
    01-14-2009, 11:47 AM
That seems to be my thought; the plans I found on the Internet used a metal tank painted black. My thought is that the plastic tanks would have a better insulating factor once the water is warmed.
    01-14-2009, 02:07 PM
Welcome to the forum!

I've used the same Rubbermaid tank for over 25 years - 18 of them in PA. I can see virtually no reason why that tank won't last forever.

If you can get power to it then you can get a heater that installs instead of the regular plug. Even without that, the tank can withstand nearly anything a horse or the weather can throw at it.
    01-14-2009, 02:34 PM
Originally Posted by mnprairieman    
That seems to be my thought; the plans I found on the Internet used a metal tank painted black. My thought is that the plastic tanks would have a better insulating factor once the water is warmed.
Yeah, I don't think painting them is a good idea. It could chip off over time and it might make the water have a funny taste. And that could make the horses drink less - then you couldhave a case of impaction colic...
    01-14-2009, 06:05 PM
We have the rubbermaid ones as well. I really like them- easy for cleaning and sure are tough!
    01-14-2009, 11:17 PM
I have a question for you. Many years ago when I lived in Kansas the Vet I worked for had a solar water tank heater that he used in a rubbermaid tank. This was super handy, but I don't remember where he got it, and he passed away several years ago when I didn't need a SWH. Does anyone know of any place to purchase a Solar Water Heater for stock tanks? I even asked several of the Amish if they know where I can get one, and they don't know.
    01-14-2009, 11:40 PM
Plastic is definitely a better insulator than metal. And, yes, black is best for absorbing heat.
    01-15-2009, 02:19 PM
We have concrete stock tanks plumbed into the natural spring we have here. There are 6 tanks all together and as one fills, instead of spilling over it goes on to feed the next tank and so on. The last tank is plumbed to dump back into the creek. (not really relevant to the OT but I think the tanks are cool)

I have another black rubbermaid that I use in the catch pen and it's been fantastic. I haven't a clue how old it is as I got it used. It's worth its weight in gold. It's easy to clean and dump. If it's frozen a good thump will crack the ice and not damage the tank. They're 100 times easier to clean and work with.
    01-15-2009, 08:17 PM
Just make sure that you have a guard on the heater and the horses can't bite the wire (not sure if there would be an electrical shock if its solar powered)

My BO uses the black rubbermaids.

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