Another possible solution to freezing water

BgNH

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 25, 2010
21
1
24
Mont Vernon, NH
Hello all,

I recently completed a new solution to freezing water. My implementation is different to most . Since the coup is 100+ feet from the nears water source I use a 40-gallon tank to feed automatic waterers both inside of our coup and out in the run. The run waterers are turned off in the colder months, but the waterers inside of our insulated coup are mounted directly below the water tank.

Last year I surrounded the waterers and associated plumbing with a carpet remnant and placed a thermostatically controlled space heater inside. This worked very well but cost allot in electricity.

So this year I rethought the situation and came up with a design where an aquarium heater is used to heat a small "plenum" of water. The plenum is created using 4" PVC pipe and fittings, mounted inside an insulated box. The waterers are installed directly to the PVC pipe.

You can get the details with pictures on my web site (see my signature line below).
 

camalianus

Songster
11 Years
Jan 7, 2009
136
1
109
bgNH. I admire your creativity. I'm always looking for new ideas on how to keep the water from freezing during the winter time. It is amazing how this forum provides with so many excellent ideas, even though some might be more suitable for some people than others depending of their circumstances/area where they live. Keep the good work.
 

critterrun

Songster
8 Years
Oct 6, 2011
365
0
101
NJ
sounds like a great idea

I will be looking at it to see if it will work for me

THANKS FOR SHARING



There are many ways to do things
some work for many some work for a few
but we all need ideas
 

jmagill

Songster
10 Years
Mar 9, 2009
473
21
143
Western Wyoming
I would be interested to see if this keeps the cups from freezing. The cups just do not work where I am. Keep us updated.
 

BgNH

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 25, 2010
21
1
24
Mont Vernon, NH
Hello All,

I have an update on the performance of this water heating system.

During this past week the outside temps have fluctuated around the 20-degree point, with the same temps being experienced inside the coup at those times when the auto chicken door is open. The water froze in the cups on the first day of these temps, however the thermostat was turned down low at first.

I experimented with the heated plenum prior to it being set into the insulated wooden enclosure and its later being installed with the water tank in the coup. At that time I recorded that the temp within the plenum ranged from 80 to 158-degrees based on the high and low settings on the thermostat. The temps during this testing were measured using a common food thermometer from our kitchen (the kind you stick into cooking meat).

The marked range stamped on the thermostat is 58 to 90 degrees. The difference with my application reflects that the heater was designed to keep an even temperature in a 50-gal aquarium.

Since cranking up the thermostat, the small drinkers/water bowls have been completely free of ice and the water is actually warm to the touch.

I will continue to post updates as we proceed through the winter here in southern NH and the the temps drop.
 
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wyododge

Chirping
8 Years
Sep 30, 2011
485
16
90
Wyoming
We have a somewhat similar system, except we had to use nipples. We have a separate water tank in an insulated box with a pump to fill our water bucket. We use a bird bath deicer in our bucket and a stock tank heater in the tank. We get really cold here usually. But so far only -15f. It will easily get 20* colder by winters end though.

Looking forward to your updates. I love Yankee ingenuity!!!
 

omegorchards

Songster
8 Years
Jan 5, 2012
102
17
121
Columbia Gorge, Oregon USA
Very innovative design. Far more complicated and time consuming than what I would prefer, but it seems like you had a good time coming up with the idea and implementing it. Nice website too!
 

BgNH

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 25, 2010
21
1
24
Mont Vernon, NH
I have another update to share. This past few days the temps have been below freezing, with wind chills putting the temps at around -11F in the overnight hours. I went out to check on how the heater was doing and both drinkers were frozen. So I cannot declare success yet.

Obviously, although the drinkers attach directly to the plenum, the heat from the hot water in the plenum is not being transferred out far enough to prevent the watering valves and possibly more specifically (as others have mentioned) the drinker cups themselves.

So I am hand-carrying water for now until I make some modifications.

What I am planning to do to correct this is to run some small tubing out and around each drinker. I will use a small aquarium water pump to circulate the hot water from the plenum out to the drinkers/drinker cups, running the tubing around and directly against the cups, and insulating between the tubing and the outside air.

Here is a (very) rough drawing of what I have in mind, showing the direction of water flow.



In this enhancement to the original system, I am running the water up high on its return. This is for couple of reasons. First, the small pump that I have found is capable of 40 gph, which is probably twice what I will need. The nearest pump with less gph provided only 3 gph, which I think is not enough. So, pumping the water up another foot will help reduce the flow rate. Pumping it up toward the top of the system will also bring heated water closer to the tank, which should help to keep the water in the lower part of the tank warmer as well; just an extra precaution.

So far the cost to run the original designed system was about $4/month. This is based on it being in service for 1/2 of a month with a $2 increase in the bill. This is not a very accurate figure however as the power for the coup comes from a panel in our detached garage. People use power tools, lights and other things in the "shop" so it's difficult to determine the actual impact of the heated waterer. However, at this time last year, the electric bill for this detached building shot up by $30! So far, there is no indication that this system will do anything like that to our electric bill.
 

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