55 gallon waterer in northern Wisconsin winter?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by blucoondawg, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I have been thinking on some sort of large capacity water system for my coop for the last few years since it's just simply a pain in the rear to carry pails of water out every day. I am considering ordering some horizontal nipples and running them into a 55 gallon blue plastic drum, insulating the drum somehow, and sinking something like a stock tank heater into it, then I could just drag a hose out there once a month or so instead of dealing with buckets daily.

    I don't know if any one had tried this but how much wattage do you think would be required to keep an insulated barrel thawed, we see cold spells between -15 and-30F quite regularly with the extremes being over night generally. One website suggested a 750 watt unit in my area but that is considering a stock tank outdoors not an insulated barrel, I think I could get by on far less wattage?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  2. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    There have been and a recent discussion on the Post your chicken coop pictures. thread.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/596294/post-your-chicken-coop-pictures-here/10330#post_16108710

    Down the page post number 10334 @MeepBeep is an awesome source

    deb
     
  3. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is what I want to do but not hear my coop, I want to insulate my barrel and heat that, wondering if anyone has an insulated barrel and has an idea on how small a heater I can get by with
     
  4. TheGonzo

    TheGonzo Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi!
    how much your heater is going to use depends entirely on the type and thickness of your insulation.
    When the website is sugesting you use a 750 watt unit it doesn't mean it actually uses 750 watt (per hour), but of course this depends on your setup. I would probably use a thermostat with a setpoint 5-10 deg. C (40-50F) that regulates the heating element on/off. This safes a lot of electricity and makes sure the water doesn't get too hot. I would probably use a 2kW heater in stead.
    But if you just plug it in directly so it is running constantly it of course will use 750 watt/hour, which does seem like quite a lot. You can get 1 gallon of water from faucet temp to boiling temp in about 35-40 minutes (incl. 20 % energy waste) with that. I'll run some quick calculations and get back to you if you give me some estimations on the following:

    - How much water do you use per moth?
    - how much insulation and what kind will you use? ( estimation will suffice. just so I know difference between 200mm styrofoam or 2 layers news paper)
    - Will you be using a thermostat or just just have the heating element running constantly?
     
  5. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The stock tank heaters have their own thermostats they are meant to keep the water a little above freezing in thinking maybe 34-40 degrees. I could see having to refill barrel maybe one every 3 or 4 weeks the insulation would be something fairly simple maybe foil bubble wrap or a thinner fiberglass wrap with plastic and duct taped in place
     
  6. TheGonzo

    TheGonzo Out Of The Brooder

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    I would use a little more insulation than that. It will save money in the end.
    The 750 Watts should be more than enough to keep it ice free, but with those cold temperetures I'm not sure the nipples can stay ice free if the water inside is not warmer than that
     
  7. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well with horizontal nipples there shouldn't be any water in the nipples the back side if the nipples are always in the barrel however the bit that dribbles out could freeze and keep building up that's my biggest worry I'll have to see what I can find for insulation the nipples should be here any day
     
  8. TheGonzo

    TheGonzo Out Of The Brooder

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    Did you order from China?
     
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    As a general rule you need about 5 Watts of heat per gallon of water for stock heaters in open tanks, unless the extreme temps are sustained for extended periods of time...

    When you consider a 55 gallon barrel is fully enclosed, thus providing protection from wind and the heat exchanges of the open surface water, as well as providing some degree of insulation it potentially lowers that wattage requirement over an open stock tank or pond...

    In extreme cold the outsides of the horizontal nipples will freeze to some degree, but in may cases the birds can peck the ice away pretty easily and or it doesn't take much effort to liberate the ice yourself with a little heat or picking...
     
  10. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ordered them from a guy named Rich on eBay others here have used him, they are solway brand supposedly made in the UK
     
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