Geothermal waterer breaks the electrical habit

Producers who have a problem with their livestock waterers icing over in the winter may have an option – the Thermo Sink Watering System.

Instead of using electricity, Thermo Sink taps into heat from the earth to keep livestock water ice-free.

Developed by George and David Hofer 15 years ago at the White Lake Hutterite colony near Lethbridge where the product is manufactured, the system consists of two lengths of heavy polyethylene pipe.

One is topped with a 14 inch wide drinking basin while the other is connected to the water pressure line. The second pipe contains a float valve that controls water flow.

Both 275-litre pipes are connected at the bottom by a circulation pipe.

“The bottom of this unit is not insulated so ground heat can get in and keep the water at ground temperature,” said Ed Hofer of the White Lake colony.

“If the bottom is ground temperature then the top will be too, because heat rises.”

Water is circulated enough to prevent freezing. The pipes are insulated with urethane.

Hofer said water in a Thermo Sink product is guaranteed not to freeze. At temperatures between -20 and -30 C, he said a little ice may form on the bowl, but it is easily removed.

“At most, you’re only going to be watching that thing for two weeks in the winter.”

Hofer said the thermo tank saves producers time and money and eliminates deaths caused by animals falling through icy dugouts or freak electrocutions as a result of power surges at electrically warmed troughs .

And if power is lost in the winter, producers don’t have to worry about dealing with solid ice in the troughs.

“We had to come up with a watering system that would work for us,” Hofer said.

The time and money lost to repairs, power costs and malfunction on electric models were too great for the colony, which now uses the troughs.

Colony members said the units are almost maintenance free.

For more information, call the colony at 1-403-824-3688.