Everyone knows how important water is, and anyone who has horses or farm animals knows what a pain it is to chip away at ice in buckets during the cold winter months. So, as the cold weather moves in, one of the main questions we are asked is: “which de-icer should I buy?”
Here are four tips from Farm Innovators to help you select the de-icer that will best suit your needs:
Floater or Sinker –Floating de-icers float on top of the water. They are typically the most efficient, however they are not as safe for animals as sinkers. Sinkers, or submergible units, rest on the bottom of the tank. These de-icers are much safer for animals, but are not typically as efficient as floating de-icers. If you want a semi-permanent solution, consider a Drain Plug De-Icer. It is secured in a fixed mount position and has the added benefit of the cord coming out of the bottom of the tank, going unnoticed by livestock.
Metal or Plastic Tank – Any de-icer can be used in a metal tank. If the tank is plastic, you MUST use a de-icer that is safe for use in plastic. Almost all of the Farm Innovators de-icers are safe in plastic without the need for a guard.
Copper or Cast Aluminum – While less expensive, de-icers with copper or incoloy heating elements MUST have a protective guard to use in plastic. These units are generally not as efficient as Cast Aluminum models. All Farm Innovators “Ice Chaser” Cast Aluminum De-Icers are safe in plastic without the use of a guard. These units are virtually indestructible, and are much more cost efficient than the open heating element de-icers.
Size and Temperature – The larger the tank size and the colder the temperature, the higher wattage will be required. Wattage is the measure of electrical flow to the unit. When it comes to a de-icer, the higher the wattage in the de-icer, the faster it will heat your water, and the less overall energy it will use to do so. The higher the wattage, the faster it will heat your water, and the less overall energy it will use to do so. For our area, you will typically want 250 watts for every 25 gallons of water.