Livestock need water in winter as much as in warm weather. Without
using tank heaters, the water will freeze. the animal wont get water and
the costly tank will likely be damaged too. These heaters are plugged
into an AC outlet and submerged in the water. If a break in the cord or
short in the heating coil develops, you can end up with dead animals,
and this used to be common on farms.
I have horses, and I nearly learned the hard way years ago when one
horse could not let go of a tank as the AC surged thru his body. He
fell, but was still stuck to the tank. Luckily I saw this happening
outside my window, and ran out the door barefooted on freezing snow, and
ripped the power cord out of the outlet which was on a pole about 25
feet from my door. The horse survived and is still alive some 10 years
later. The next day I bought a whole case of GFI outlets and replaced
all outlets that these tank heaters are used. I even made up some plug
in ones by putting a GFI into a waterproof electrical box with a cord to
a regular outlet. Those are for when I need to plug in a tank heater
for temporary, and dont feel the need to replace the built in outlet for
a one time use.
If it was not for these GFI outlets, several horses may have likely
died. Some of them seem to like to chew on strange things, like wooden
fences, plastic feed bowls, and power cords. Damaging all of these
things tends to piss me off, but chewing on cords can and will kill the
animal. That's where the GFI comes in. I have never lost any animals,
yet each winter at least one tank heater cord gets chewed up or chewed
completely in half. At around $50 a piece for these heaters, that
really makes me quite angered, but knowing the animal is ok, is what
matters most. (even if they are stupid <lol>).
But I've noticed a pattern. It seems that once they chew a cord, they
never do it again. This makes me wonder if they do indeed get a shock
for a very small milli-second, before the GFI trips????????
Horses are intelligent, but there must be some reason they dont chew a
Heck, if they chew on the fence boards, I paint cayenne or jalepeno
pepper powder (mixed with mineral oil) on the board. That stops them
for awhile, but they seem to always try chewing wood again. Yet, when
they chew off a power cord, I have never seen that horse or pony chew a
Somehow I cant get myself to grab a GFI protected hot wire while
standing barefoot on wet ground (remember, horses, cattle, etc are
barefoot, or bare hooved) In other words they are grounded. This is
the reason electric fences keep them contained (but that wont kill
them). Therefore the question arises, while the GFI trips extremely
fast, there must be a brief moment that they feel the voltage.
Otherwise why would they stop chewing cords?
Of course, I'm glad they do. At $50 a pop, the cost would add up fast
if they did it over and ober.....
Yea, I do my best to run the cords thru steel pipe, and try all sorts of
things like that, but if they want to chew the cord, they will pull the
heater out of the water and pull it out of the pipe, sometimes unplug
it, and .... well, they can just be a major pain in the ass at times....
At the same time, they are the best pets anyone can have, and fun to
ride too. I would not want to lose any of them from electrocution.