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Offline klintdog

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Waterer Keeps Freezing
« on: December 18, 2010, 12:44:53 PM »
Hoping to pick some brains with this topic. I'm about out of ideas already.

We have a Franklin Poly livestock waterer setup in a fenceline to service 2 pens. This is the 100 head capacity waterer. One side of the tank is plugged, so water is only available on one side. We keep having issues with the water line freezing in the tank. There is an element in the tank that is keeping the bowl open though. I have heat tape (36" long, thermostat controlled) that runs down the hole to keep the line open below ground. I believe the line is freezing between the valve and the float. Tried putting a light bulb under the tank, but there's not a whole heck of a lot of room in there, and the bulb keeps shattering from moisture hitting it.

Any ideas on what a person could put in the limited space under this tank to generate some heat and keep the supply line thawed? I'm trying to find either some kind of sticky heat tape, or even looking for a light that could be plugged right in to the outlet.

Would love to hear some ideas!

Offline Shady Lane

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010, 12:50:49 PM »
How cold is it getting where you are at?

I've had good luck with the lightbulb trick, I've often bought "trouble lights" that only have about 2' of cord on them for this purpose. The steel cage helps keep the bulb from touching something it shouldint.

I also used a small hallogen "clamp light" that I normally would have used for clipping one time and that seemed to work well.

If space is a real issue in your waterer, and it sounds like it is, Peavey Mart sells rubberised "heating pad" type things that are about 1/4" thick and come in different sizes for these types of things. Maybe something like that would help?
Shady Lane Shorthorns

 Saskatchewan

Offline jackpotcattle

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2010, 01:03:28 PM »
They make heat tape that is small (like the thickness of yarn) that you can run up and wrap around the faucet. Normal heat tape is normally too wide to wrap around the faucet. You can also get a heat lamp bulb that is shatter proof if contacted by moisture, I have had best luck with these. Another thing, if it is possible for you to do, they make propane heaters that you set in the bottom of most automatic water tanks.
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Offline klintdog

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2010, 01:38:49 PM »
We've been sitting at around 0 for raw temp, -20 with wind chill for the past couple days. We have the splatter proof lights in the rest of our metal tanks and typically don't have any problems. The door on this Poly tank is small enough that you can't get a splatter proof bulbs below, so you're restricted to just a standard light bulb.

Other issue to consider - this tank is setup with the hose system, so whatever is placed next to it to keep it thawed can't be too hot, or it'll burn through the rubber hose.

The propane heater option probably isn't the worst idea, but would it get too hot and melt through the poly?

Offline CAB

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2010, 02:02:40 PM »
I think that Richie makes a little heating unit that sets under the valve/float in the water so that the heat from it rises up and keeps the valve thawed out. Can you get your valve placement somehow under the water so that it's not as vulnerable to the cold? Is there a way to put more insulation in the float compartment area? The smartest thing that these water tank companies could do is to put the valves @ the bottom of the tanks instead of @ the top, out in the open per say. The valve is always the first thing to freeze on the coldest mornings. Hope these ideas may help you out. Good luck!! Hope it warms up for you soon.

Offline Okotoks

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2010, 04:06:19 PM »
I'm not sure we are talking the same type of systems here but I just came in from replacing a heat tape on one of our waterers. It was a an HB03 120V heat tape 10 feet( 3 metres) This waterer has plug ins inside so I had to put an eletrical end on it (I guess some you just wire in)and taped it to the water line starting just over a foot from the bowl where ours has an electric element to heat the bowl. You tape it to the pipe down to where it goes below ground and drop the heat tape down so it heats down the 8 feet to the waterline. Of course we put our water lines down 8 feet so they are below the winter frost lines. Lots of areas they may not be this deep so the heat tape would be shorter. We have one waterer where the float freezes when you get a good wind and it's minus 20 or colder.That one we pour boiling water inside the bowl and it immediately starts running. It's an old one that I hope to replace next year.

Offline bluffcountrycattle

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2010, 04:12:51 PM »
we have a mirafount double sided waterer...we put an electrical box in the bottom by the heat tube, with 2 outlets.  1 outlet is for the heat tape that runs along most of the pipe into the heat tube.  The other outlet is connected to a "plastic safe" alum doughnut heater that runs up past the valve, and then lays in the plastic pan to keep the water above freezing.  We also put a thick layer of insulation between the valve unit and the cover.  We never seem to have any problems...until the doughnut heater fails, which seems to have a life expectancy of one winter!

Here's the funny part...we work to keep the water open, and the cattle don't drink there!  Our farm is "blessed" with natural springs in the cattle yard...there is an old cistern that fills with fresh spring water, and a metal pipe in the bottom runs out the side of the hill and into a big galvanized stock tank.  The thing runs year round!!  But I'll guarantee the day I turn off the water line to the blue waterer, the springs will stopped running.  Go figure....   :-\
Mark - Bluff Country Cattle
Lanesboro, MN

Offline jackpotcattle

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2010, 05:34:10 PM »
Another thing that I have done and had good luck with is taking old carpet and using as extra insulation around the top where the float is. Then I just use 2x4's on each side to hold it down. The biggest problem I have with doing this is that if the water does freeze, then it is a pain to get everything taken apart because the cows drip water all over the carpet and it is normally froze down pretty good. Hope you get it fixed, nothing worse the having to mess with a water tank everyday! (especially when the wind is blowing 40!)
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Offline justintime

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2010, 05:42:53 PM »
I have installed heat tapes that go inside the water line under the water fountain, and they are the greatest invention I have ever seen. We have 10 water fountains and I have not touched a fountain that has one of these installed. I have only 1 fountain left to do, and winter arrived before I got it done. It has froze a couple times, and if I can get a nice day, I plan to install the inline heat tape yet. I can install one in about 1/2 hour. 

I have an old fountain that has rusted out along the bottom ( I have a new one sitting here that I did not get installed before winter arrived as well!) and there is about 2 inches that is completely open under the fountain. It has an inline tape in it and it has not frozen  in temps down to -30 so far. I wish I had found these things years ago, and I could have saved many hours of thawing fountains each year.

I
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Offline CAB

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2010, 07:44:28 PM »
I have installed heat tapes that go inside the water line under the water fountain, and they are the greatest invention I have ever seen. We have 10 water fountains and I have not touched a fountain that has one of these installed. I have only 1 fountain left to do, and winter arrived before I got it done. It has froze a couple times, and if I can get a nice day, I plan to install the inline heat tape yet. I can install one in about 1/2 hour. 

I have an old fountain that has rusted out along the bottom ( I have a new one sitting here that I did not get installed before winter arrived as well!) and there is about 2 inches that is completely open under the fountain. It has an inline tape in it and it has not frozen  in temps down to -30 so far. I wish I had found these things years ago, and I could have saved many hours of thawing fountains each year.

I

 Grant do have a link to info on your inline tapes? Thanks.

Offline CAB

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2010, 07:48:43 PM »
Here's a link to what I think is the best energy-free livestock water available. Note that the valve is @ the bottom of the tank. I may have to break a thin layer of ice from time to time, but have never had it freeze. I used to have a number of the Mirafonts. They all wanted to freeze in the valve on the coldest days. It's the last thing that you want to  have to deal on those -20/-30 degree days.

http://www.cobett.com/

Offline justintime

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2010, 08:19:38 PM »
I'm not sure if there is a link to the inline heat tapes. A local feed supply store gets them made by an electrician and sells them. They cost about $90 each but they are worth every cent!
Experience is what you get when you don't have it when you need it.

Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and bad breath!
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity
If love is blind... why is lingerie so popular?
The only thing worse than an idiot ... is an educated idiot!

Offline cowsrcuddly

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2010, 10:18:01 PM »
Klintdog
Have you tryed moving the heat tape up over the valve?  Our heat tapes are started at the top going up and over the valve, then let it drop down into the heat tube or culvert using plastic ties to keep it next to the valve and the upcoming water line. Don't use a bulb to heat, as the heat from it causes the thermostat in the tape and the drop in heater to shut off and not turn the heaters on.   I have also seen the bulb burn a hole in the poly tank. I would think that a propane heater would do the same thing in melting the poly.  I agree with Okotoks, that usually pouring a gallon of hot water over the valve will free it up.  We also use the 500 Watt drop in heater vs. the 250 Watt one.  Hope these ideas help and good luck!

Offline GoWyo

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2010, 12:18:29 AM »
Ditto on the Cobett.
May you always have cows around . . . ~ Corb Lund

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Offline Torch

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Re: Waterer Keeps Freezing
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2010, 02:10:27 PM »
Is the unit sealed to the ground?  Is the heat tape in contact with the supply line (all the way to the elbow at the top)?  Might take 2 tapes. Is the supply line deep enough?

I have learned (through experience) that many waterer problems are installation problems. If you need some help call the people at Franklin  800-422-3561
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