Heat and running the coop, electric wise.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by folgerrd, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. folgerrd

    folgerrd Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    We are going to run electricity in my coop, well most likely.
    Do any of you use solar or battery powered heat lamps? What brand? How much did they cost?
    How much do you think it would cost to wire our coop electrically?
    Are there any alternatives to running it with electricity you suggest?

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You could use propane. Solar is a great alternative source of electricity but not for heating anything.
    Heat is a super energy hog for electricity.
  3. seanb

    seanb Songster

    May 24, 2011
    Central PA
    I've been an electrician for 25+ years and I don't know of any electrical means of heating besides running wires. None of the 'green' alternatives will reliably or cost-efficiently provide you with the wattage you'll consume. Adding to the problem is the fact that you'd mostly need the electricity for heat when the sun isn't shining so you'll need a battery to store the energy.

    As far as cost, it depends mainly on distance from the nearest source to the coop. Most folks want the wiring underground so digging a trench 18 to 24 inches deep is one of the more significant costs you'll encounter. The good news is that most home owners can do some or all of that in order to keep costs down. Even if you have to rent a trenching machine, and if you're capable of operating it, you'll save considerable money over paying someone else to do it. That part is not skilled labor. Installing the wire is though. Expect to pay $40 to $60 per hour for an electrician to do his or her part. If your coop is within 100 feet of the house where the wiring will be run from, you shouldn't be into more than a few hundred dollars for a 120 volt, 20 amp circuit to be installed once the trench is dug. This is very general info. I'll try to offer more specific info if you can provide more specific detail. I guess the big question is how much wattage do you need? I have a 25 watt lamp in my coop just to keep the water from freezing. You could probably do that with solar but heating the coop? Probably not.

    Again, solar is nice when it's feasible but it doesn't work very well for things like heating and heavier loads. And even though solar energy sounds great, you still need to replace batteries and other components regularly even if it would work for heating. And Canada isn't exactly proving grounds for solar applications.
  4. gale65

    gale65 Songster

    We don't heat the coop here. I realize you're way north of me but there is a member here that lives in Alaska (not sure which part) and she also does not heat her coop. We do have a heated waterer and for that, we ran cable to the coop and dh installed an outlet inside. We have a power shed close by though (it holds the breakers for all of our farm stuff).

  5. Nslangton

    Nslangton Chirping

    Jan 19, 2012
    Agree!!! We are electrical contractors too. Just building our coop and I wanted a solar door opener and my husband shot that idea down immediately saying it was junk and would not work properly. Our coop is heated because we built it inside the building that has the water supply to the barn and needs to be kept from freezing. Too many variables figure into price, so post when you have a better idea and we could try to help you out.
  6. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    First off, you do not NEED to put a heater or heatlamp in your coop. But it is nice to have electric run out to it for a simple light and a water fount warmer (To keep the water unfroze in the winter). Forget about solar, expensive for the little bit of power you get from it. The cost of running electric to your coop depends on how far from the house it is. I just ran electric out to my coop this past weekend. I tied into an outside outlet on my house. I used my tractor to dig most of the ditch, but still had a lot of manual labor to clear the ditch properly to run the wire in it. As far as costs, 250' of #12 copper wire cost $140, 200' of 1/2" conduit(Gotta have conduit) was about another $30, GFI outlet and various boxes and fittings was about another $30. So the cost for me, going just under 200', was right around $200, give or take a few bucks. Doing it yourself can definently cut expenses, But it is work. Getting that ditch properly dug was a job, even with a tractor.
  7. suzeqf

    suzeqf Songster

    Mar 17, 2011
    I live in w ky and i don't have electric or water to my coop i didnt' see a need for it, it would be nice to have electric to it so i could see at night but my flashlight works pretty well and my well is close to the coop, if i need light i just use an extension cord and drop light i brood in the shop so there really wasn't a need to run power to the coop

  8. moetrout

    moetrout Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    My coup is wired with a GFI on the outside then from there is goes inside to 2 outlets and 2 lights (one inside light and one outside motion sensor light). Power is run to the coup through a long sort of extension cord to the outside GFI box on the coup. I already had some heavy gauge 4 wire cable in my scrap heap and reused that to power the coup. Think of the coup as a big device of some type with a really long power cord on it, that is what i have. This kept me from having to pull any permits since I can unplug and move the thing anytime I want, not that I ever will. I use this more in the summer than anything else, and just for lighting mainly. So if a permanent underground run is cost prohibitive then think about a hard wired power cord that can be plugged into your existing outside house outlets.
  9. Here's that post. I bookmarked it:


  10. folgerrd

    folgerrd Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    This may sound crazy but even parts of Alaska and northern-er parts of Canada sometimes don't get as cold as it does here, where I am. Where I am we have extreme wheather it gets to plus 40, in the summer, and minus 40(or lower in the winter).

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