Sunday, November 2, 2008

Well, It Ain't Pretty..............

But it's efficient... So what is it?? Well, it's Tom's latest and greatest money saver for one, and the newest item of concern for the horses's a insulated box that encloses the stock tank. In winter time in Montana, everyone pretty much uses some kind of stock tank heater. Since we happen to live in one of the windiest parts of the Flathead Valley, we find that the tank heaters , even running full on, can't always keep up. You can literally watch your pennies rising with the steam coming off of the tanks. Besides, with the latest buzz of conserving energy and all, we're just trying to do our part. Turns out , it saves alot of those pennies too.
We have built these boxes before out of a myriad of materials we scrapped together, but they never really held up well to the abuse of the horses using them as a chew toy. This time, we got smart and took our window and door cutouts from our SIPS panel home to use as the box structure. The walls of our home are made out of these panels which consist of 6 inch foam, sandwhiched between OSB. HIGHLY EFFICIENT! Tom then covered all corners with drip edgeand caulked all remaing rough edges. The lid is also built out these panels and is coevered in metal roofing material we had laying around. For safety , he took careful measures to cover the sharp edges here as well. Nothing a can of calking can't take care of. Once all of this is done , before you screw on the lid, you can drop the emty tank into it's new home. In our case, the tank is setting up on small cement bricks that were placed on previoulsy leveled ground. You could put another panel on the ground and set the tank on that, but would first have to use something to waterproof the OSB board so it does not absorb ground moisture. Using the ground panel would minimize heat loss and optimize efficiency but being that we are late getting this contructed, we opted to forego this project until next year.
The end result ? Your water tank heater doesn't need to work so hard to keep the water above freezing and therefore, doesn't run up the electric bill as bad. The benefit of using these SIPS panel cutouts is that they will help to hold the heat in for a longer period of time.
As a note: Anyone who uses water tank heaters for thier stock should take caution and install what is called a GFI, or Ground Fault Interuptor, along with a good ground. Otherwise, your livestock could recieve electrical shocks. I would suggest you have a qualified electrician install it for proper use.

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