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Tank deicers

I guess I am lucky!

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@keepjumping and @OnAMission That’s what I was thinking- running the cord through a pipe. I have never actually done it but heard of it working. But how can I secure the pipe so she doesn’t just pull it out, too?

Ours is wired to a nearby post, provides no entertainment value lol

I agree with keepjumping to use pipe. I’d personally use PVC since it’s easier to work with (IMO). I’m picturing a section of PVC topped with a PVC u-joint that together looks like an upside-down “J” when fitted over the tank rim. It can be attached using pipe straps bolted directly onto the tank. I’d use two straps, one on or close to the rim and one about three inches (at least) below that for stability. If tightly bolted with flat rubber washers, you shouldn’t have leaks. Since it would be bolted near the top, a leak would be a minor issue anyway. But a good seal should prevent that. Pipe straps come in plastic or metal. I might consider getting 2” PVC so I could attach it then leave it permanently, 2” should allow plenty of room to install/remove the cord depending on the season. You could consider PVC caps for the summer to prevent algae growth inside, if that’s a concern.


We use these in our Rubbermaid tanks: https://www.miller-mfg.com/product/DTS15.html

When my horse was younger and more mischievous we used a PVC pipe setup similar to @AwiUsdi says. Ours only differed by: Ours was an upside down “U” instead of a “J”. This allowed the cord to be covered nearly to the ground in the back and nearly down the inside, to a point where we would be refilling the tank anyways. Basically, they couldn’t drink it down and expose the cord.

For security, we drove a stake into the ground between the fence and the back of the tub and used zipties to secure the back of the pipe to the stake. It made the whole thing pretty secure. Now this was 3 board fence, in a corner, behind the water tank…so we were confident that our stake was not a danger for boy curious. Stake would come up when the de-icer set up was removed. Zipties made it possible for the set up to be removed, tank flipped, reinstalled, and filled as needed.


We use a sinking heating in the trough.
We cover one side of the trough with wood (we actually screw the wood lid onto the trough ledge), that is the side we put the heater in. There is a notch in the cover for the cord to run thru and the cord goes right out the fencing from there.
I have been lucky with this set-up, even my naughty pony does not seem to notice the heater/cord and play with it.

I personally can not imagine doing winter without heated buckets and a trough heater.
Breaking ice is frustrating/time consuming and I hate the thought that my horses do not have access to drinkable water whenever they want it.
I do not have time in the morning to refill the trough every day. Or the desire to dump it every night so it does not freeze into a trough ice block over night.
Buckets in the barn would also freeze overnight, since my stalls are open to paddocks, so inside the barn is the same temperature as outside the barn.

I do not find the heated buckets or the trough heater make the water a temperature that anything I have cared for has found unwilling to drink.

I do clean my heated buckets frequently because heated buckets do grow the same slime as your summer buckets do. I dump what is left and wipe them clean (I use paper towels) before refilling them.

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Good idea! My horses are too old to be bothered with such nonsense as playing in the trough but if they ever get the notion, or if we add to the herd someone who will, I’ll keep this in mind.

Do lots of people put their trough some place not near their fence?
That is what it sounds like from some of the posts.

Mine is near the fence but since it is an electric fence, I leave a foot or so to prevent electricity arcing as allegedly can happen.

Also, my older horses would never both a cord behind the trough, but my weanling is into everything! She is like a mischievous puppy, probably because she doesn’t have same age friends.

This is what I was thinking of doing with the U. The stake is a great idea.

That makes sense. I had not thought of the situation about an electric fence. It is funny the things do not think about. It makes perfect sense to have it a distance away from the electric fence.

Thank you for the reminder. We installed the trough in an area that is no climb with a board on top and no electric.

What we did which has worked for us because we have ones who like to play with them too, was cover half the trough with plywood. Then made a hole for the cord through this at the edge. Then put the de-icer under the covered portion, and put the cord coming out of the plywood into conduit or PVC piping.


I’ve used the sinking deicers for almost 20yrs in my 50gal barrel trough.
Just replaced one well over 10yo, only because the cage had totally rusted away.
To keep horses from pulling the cord & de-icer out of the barrel, I’ve cobbled together a length of PVC pipe into a U shape.
Cord runs through the pipe, an elbow joint allows the de-icer to sit on the bottom of the barrel while cord in PVC goes over the side if the barrel, into a cinder block, where it’s wedged in place by rocks & from there a short distance along the ground (also covered by rocks) then into the outlet inside the barn.
No more coming home to find the de-icer hissing on the ground. :blush:
Barrel sits just outside front sliding door.
ETA pic:


When you all are running power wire through PVC for a plug-in trough heater , do you use PVC large enough for the already installed and sealed plug to fit through? Or cut off the plug and use smaller diameter PVC, then re- install a plug? I am getting ready to do this and debating with myself about which approach to use.

If I go with my second option, I am also toying with the idea of splicing in a longer line with a plug so I can plug directly into my barn GFCI outlet without having to use an extension cord. What are your thoughts?

Yes. We do not mess with the cord…we just feed the whole thing through the PVC and attach to the extension cord.

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I do the same as @Displaced_Yankee - PVC is probably 3" diameter.
Plug goes through, with some cussing :roll_eyes:, and plugs into the extension cord in the elbow.
If I need to get to it, I just cut the duct tape, elbow is not glued in place.

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Good piece in THE HORSE online today. Horses prefer water at 45 to 65 degrees F.

I’m going to borrow your plywood idea so I can secure the heater, hopefully out of sight and out of mind. Horse was playing with the tank heated yet again this morning.

The BO where my youngster is kept had drinking posts installed. They provide 50°F water year round and don’t freeze. I thought for sure that they would, somehow, but it got down to -15°F and the water still worked and the horses were happily drinking.

Might be a bit costly for some, but man, are they worth it for the winter. No heaters, breaking ice, etc.


I am sure you have gotten something by now but thought I would give my reviews.

I have 2 of the blue Allied Precision and I absolutely recommend them. The problem you can have with deicers( especially floating) is the shock risk not to mention a mouthy horse having a grand time ( as mine would).

I am home so I fill it morning then mid day then evening and my 3 are never without water. What I like best is no exposed element and they are so much more economical to run. I just replaced one I had for 11 years. The second one I have had for about 5 years now and it is doing fine.

I had a green one and it was fine but it stopped working after 2 years. It heated well while it worked.

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