Wood & Cement board water heater

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Hooligans7, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Hooligans7

    Hooligans7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been following the Cookie Tin water heater thread with great interest and had planned to make one, however cookie tins are scarce in my neck of the woods. That may be hard for some to believe, but there are no usable cookie tins within an hour's drive, a two-hour round trip. The only one I found was an "antique" at a thrift shop 14 miles away, but it was too small — and 6 bucks! No sale.

    So, I made a heater out of scrap pressure-treated 2 X 4s and new cement backer board, which was readily available only 15 minutes away. I settled on a 12'' X 12" exterior, which provided a 9" X 9" interior (minus a half inch for the backer board thickness). In addition to the wood scraps, I already had in my possession a used lamp socket and lamp thread, light bulb(s), 18 ga. electric cord, screws, masonry cutting wheel, and dust mask. My only expense for this project was a sheet of 1/4-inch thick, 36" X 60" cement backer board, which was $11.65 out the door. By the way, cement backer board is fireproof and nonconductive.

    I tested the unit last night, when the low temperature reached 22 F. I had placed one bowl of water on the heater, which was equipped with a 60-Watt bulb, and a second bowl on the porch railing; both were 100% outdoors. I checked them this morning just before dawn: The second one had frozen solid, while the heated one remained liquid at a temperature of 75.5 F. That's nice and warm, and therefore unnecessary, so I will test again with a 40-Watt bulb tonight, then again with the actual chicken waterer, which was frozen this morning (not the reservoir, just the bowl portion).

    I have applied Thompson's Water Seal to the exterior in the hope that the unit may be easier to clean in the event my birds make "deposits" on it.

    Here are some pics, and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.


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  2. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like it!
     
  3. JesseK

    JesseK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks fantastic! Great idea :)
     
  4. Hooligans7

    Hooligans7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would add that the Hardie backerboard is also a non-slip material, so the waterer does not slide off. This heater has worked flawlessly all winter. I just put it away yesterday, but will install a new bulb before putting it back into service next winter.
     
  5. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    How did the 40 watt bulb test out?
     
  6. Hooligans7

    Hooligans7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Short answer: I don't know because I didn't test it.
    Long answer: I had planned to measure the water temperature with a 40 watt, but needed to get the heater into service immediately last fall so I just went with the 40, which kept the water liquid.
    Lows seldom drop below 10 F here; so perhaps I could have used a 25-watt instead. Next fall I may test a 25-watt in a second heater on a freezing night and report it here.
    Since the treated-wood and cement-board framing provides some lateral insulation (R 2.01 according to R-factor tables), perhaps a smaller bulb could work as well.
     
  7. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Thanks! I ordered one of these to build a 5 gallon or so enclosed waterer. I like to raise the waterer in the coop fairly high to keep it cleaner and was thinking a shelf constructed like your heater would keep it thawed. Might use 2 40 watt bulbs for even heat as the shelf won't be square but rectangle shaped and sized depending on the container I come up with.
     
  8. Hooligans7

    Hooligans7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a good idea. Please post photos of your project as it progresses. You could also use "1-by" lumber framing to save weight if needed, but still provide plenty of strength.
     
  9. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will. 1x1 wouldn't it be hard to find a bulb that thin? :)
     
  10. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 29, 2012
    Twin Lakes, ID
    My Coop
    Sorry, you are thinking 1x4 or so?
     

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