Farm Innovators 250 Watt Stock tank deicer - question!

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
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Yes! This is what I have - I found this setup from another article on here. I have a heavy duty extension cord and a clamshell connector (I think that’s what it’s called) to cover over the connection point.

The thing about the rod in the ground still is kind of freaking me out, but know on wood, it is working well so far. The water has been kept around 55-60 degrees. I like having the water hanging so it’s less filling and less mess.
OK. I read this scary review on your heating element on Amazon.com which addresses the rod issue. I don't have this product and don't have any first hand knowledge if this review is correct or not. But it does address your concern about the rod.

"I think this needs to be made a little more clear. J. Bush came close but is in my opinion off by a little on implying that the heater was somehow double grounded and that the ground line is redundant. It's NOT and the use of a ground fault circuit alone will in many cases will not protect you very well.
This item has the ground line connected to the outer case. This is the part that contacts the water. Not connecting the ground line is tempting fate.
The heating element inside the case is isolated/insulated from the case but this is where a failure would typically occur. If you are lucky it will short to the low(ground) side of the power lines.
I would expect it to short to the case some place in the middle where the actual heating element failed or over heated. When this happens, if you don't have the ground line plugged in, this would make the water that the unit is in electrified. You may not know until you see dead animals at the water. Or worse it could be you.
At the very least you should make sure you plug the plug in to ground. The addition of a ground fault circuit would be even better.
The ground fault alone is not as good as you might think. This is because you are likely placing this heater in a plastic bucket or bird bath. Since this plastic will isolate the water and element from ground,it will only fire once it finds a ground.If you did not plug that in, that could be you or your pet/live stock. see less
By JCassel on February 20, 2015"
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
1,682
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I think the big difference is that a dog bowl heater, or the metal base heater for metal waterers, never come in contact with the water itself and therefore risk of shock is very unlikely. This has been an interesting thread for me. Thanks to OP for question and to BYC community for the discussion. I learned a lot.
 

Emak2323

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2019
22
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How do they want you to hook up the ground rod? This seems odd. Of course everyone uses extension chords.
This is the online version I found. The printed version I have said 8 feet.
"Drive ground rod near tank. Securely clamp the uninsulated Copper wire to ground rod and drape the other end of uninsulated copper wire into the water inside the plastic tank. Drive rod minimum of five (5) feet into the ground."
 

Emak2323

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2019
22
30
42
It is important to use a very heavy duty extension cord, rated for outdoors, and to have things plugged into GFI outlets. That stock tank deicer is meant for stock tanks, not small containers. @gtaus has the right idea!
Mary
For the zone I'm in (Mass), that wattage is appropriate for a 5 gallon plastic bucket and says it can be used up to 30 gallons. It's really a matter of the grounding rod being a major setback.
 

Emak2323

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2019
22
30
42
I just dug up some more info as well, because I was really curious about it. Turns out, there is good reason to use one. First, the link where I found this: https://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/rural-living/389608-stock-tank-deicer-grounding.html

Second, the pic...

GCFI alone don't cut it.
Thanks for looking this up! However, from what I read of these posts, most of the other comments disagreed with what that poster had said, and indicated what he had done had made it more dangerous. There were a few electricians that weighed in and said it should be fine. However, I plan to call the company and get their input. If they insist the grounding rod is necessary, I will come up with a plan b for my winter water! I will keep the thread "posted" :)
 

Emak2323

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2019
22
30
42
@ShannonR @Ratchnick @gtaus @mamajos - I tried to tag everyone on this post because I usually miss updates. Def missed some people, but anyway.

I called Farm Innovators. While of course I knew they weren't going to say, "Oh yeah, do whatever the hell you want", I wanted to get a feel for their tone and what what they feel is actually a risk. She was hemming and hawing. She essentially said, "Yes, people do use it without the ground rod. (But of course had to add), but we do recommend it". She also said she uses it at home with stock tanks and that they are grounded, but she "understood" I might not want to do that for my 5 gallon set up.

Will I continue to use the product? Honestly, I most likely will until I find another option that works well for me. I don't like having to fill up the water every other day when it's so cold out, and the 5 gallon bucket lasts quite a while for my 9 chicks.

I appreciate everyone's input!!
 

mamajos

Songster
Jun 2, 2016
33
172
129
St. Paul, MN
I can say I’ve had the metal base heater, and it worked fine. I now have two of the Farm Innovator heaters in two different water buckets, and I really like them-have had no problems. You decide.
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
1,682
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Northern Minnesota
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Will I continue to use the product? Honestly, I most likely will until I find another option that works well for me. I don't like having to fill up the water every other day when it's so cold out, and the 5 gallon bucket lasts quite a while for my 9 chicks.
Based on the hundreds of Amazon.com reviews, most people are using this heater without a grounding rod and it works fine for them.

FYI, I have the Little Giant metal base heater and an old fashioned metal 3 gallon waterer which lasts my 10 hens about 7-10 days. It works well for me and I would recommend it if you ever consider a backup option. No grounding rod required, or even suggested.
 
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