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Author Topic: tank heater...shocking???  (Read 1106 times)

wjminin

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tank heater...shocking???
« on: December 03, 2014, 06:01:37 pm »

This winter I got a new tank...a rubbermaid 100 gal. one...and I am using a electric tank heater that sinks and has the "cage" to keep it from touching the sides and bottom.  I've used these heaters before in metal tanks with no problems.  My horses seem to be very aware when the heater is plugged in, and they stand there and "work up the nerve" to put their heads down into it, like they are afraid of getting zapped.  They don't do this when it's not plugged in.  I've put my bare hand in it to see if I feel anything, but I don't get shocked.  Has anyone else observed this?  I'm wondering if they are getting slightly zapped or they hear/sense something from the heater?
I'm just curious....and I'm leaving it unplugged whenever possible so they get enough to drink!
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kathypa

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2014, 06:43:00 pm »

I saw where someone said the only time they felt current was when they had a cut on their hand or arm in the water.  Are you using a grounded gfi plug? You can ground a water tank too.  I would test the water..voltage meter?
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stablemind

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2014, 06:47:28 pm »

Horses are very sensitive to the least bit of "escaping" current. I have a mare that will check an electric fence by sniffing it. So it's entirely possible your horses are feeling some current when the heater is plugged in. I've had it happen with a heated bucket in the past. I use the same kind of heater in my tank so I know that type of heater can work really well. If you haven't had yours long, perhaps you can return it as defective. Otherwise, you should probably replace it because colder temps are coming.
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kckc

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2014, 09:19:34 pm »

sounds like something is going on - I'd trade it if possible.   
my horses also nose the electric fence, I thought they were touching it with their whiskers to see if it was on    ??
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NC

TN Trail Rider

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2014, 11:54:17 pm »

I have the same Rubbermaid tank.  For about the last 8+ years, I've used the tank heater that floats on top and has a wire rim around it.  I've had no problem at all with this heater and the horses drink more water because it keeps it warmer in winter.  The heater turns on when the water temp reaches 40 degrees.  I've never had to chip ice out when using this heater, but did have to when I used the one that sat on the bottom because it was just too much water to keep warm.  I stick my hand in the water frequently to make sure I'm not getting a shock and I never have felt a thing.   They aren't expensive -- most places like Tractor Supply stocks them, and I ordered mine from Valley Vet.
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Karen

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2014, 06:27:01 am »

We purchased the K&H Ultimate Deicers this year for our troughs.  They can be used floating or they sink, and the wattage is lower than the drain hole heaters by half....and they're not super expensive.  For our zone, we can use a 750 watt heater for a 100 gallon trough.  We can heat 2 troughs without blowing the electrical circuit, which was our big concern.  And as an added plus, my electric bill this time last year was $183.  This year (with 4 days left) it's $130, so I do believe we ARE saving $$ with these trough heaters too.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QXN1HS/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3O88P8V9WW2SX

BTW, we bought them from horse.com for around $35 each....not the price showing on the link above.
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Karen

wjminin

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2014, 06:47:57 am »

Thanks, everyone.  I think I'll go to TSC soon and see what they have in stock.  My current heater is fairly new...I'll have to look and see if I still have the receipt, because I can't remember where I got it!  Not TSC, I don't think.  Anyway, I definitely think it's sending out current -- they will drink when it's on, but they seem afraid to do so, poor babies!

Karen, reducing the energy use would be a definite benny.  We get these mailings from our power co telling us that we use more energy than the average household...blah, blah, blah.  Well, the average household they are comparing us to does not have a huge barn, and electric fence, and water tank heaters!  So even though we have all the energy saving tips they send "covered" in the house, we are always going to use more than average!  We feel like they are sending these little "hand slaps" our way every month ::)
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KysaSD

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 06:48:44 am »

Yes, horse are very sensitive to enoeast little bit of stray voltage.  You can test for it with a volt meter, but your horses are telling the truth.  Replace the heater.
Horses can also sense stray voltage in horse trailers.  If a horse suddenly decides it doesn't want to get on the trailer, test for stray voltage while the trailer is plugged into the truck and he truck is on.
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Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, a Curly Foxtrotter, a TWH and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

PAWalker

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 07:29:09 am »

There's a thread about this, somewhere on this forum and it's recent.

Your horses are getting shocked, plain and simple.  Humans are not near as sensitive to current as animals.  When one of my tank heaters went bad, the current on the volt meter only read .5 (that is POINT five).

We put a new heater in that didn't have a reading on the volt meter and whaddayknow, the horses started drinking again.

1.  Get a volt meter and test the heater.

2.  Then ground your tank, that's a must.  Either your heater was bad, right out of the box or your tank is not properly grounded.  I put instructions on how to test tank heaters and properly ground the tank on that thread that I'm pretty sure isn't more than 90 days old--------
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fancysfoxtrotter

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 01:34:40 pm »

Also, putting your hand in the water will not be a true test...you will ground it and not feel the shock (well, maybe if you try it in bare feet).  A friend tried that last year, and no shock.  Got her horse to drink (lured her in with a carrot), and when the horse touched the water, the shock dropped her to her knees!
A volt meter is the only way.  My horse and I went through this last winter also.  A low volt is still a shock, and they won't drink.
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wjminin

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2014, 05:41:43 pm »

PAWalker, is that thread in Stable Staples or elsewhere?  I tried to find it.

We have at least a week to figure this out before the temps go below 30 again.  I think we'll just need to ground the tank...my dh checked and rechecked all the wiring and that seems fine. 
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NoBite

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2014, 05:34:50 am »

Not sure I can find the thread, but I did copy and paste the instructions for future use. Here they are!
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wjminin

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2014, 06:53:19 pm »

Thanks!
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Laurie

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2014, 06:03:32 am »

Thanks nobite.....I saved the copy of the post to my desktop for further reference.  Never used a tank heater.....because I was afraid of the shock :( so this has been an interesting post to me.......we usually only have to break the ice on top the tank a few days in the winter, but if we do have an especially cold winter that might change. 
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zab

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Re: tank heater...shocking???
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2014, 10:48:34 am »

I saw someone the other day who had built an insulated water tank by making a box around it of wood and had a spot for a candle in the box. The kind you buy for graveyards that burns for a long  time.

I reckon the fire risk s minimal since it's only used when it's cold and most probably no dry  grass near it + the candle is built in steadily and can't be reached by the animals.
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