Solar Heated Stock Tanks -- Reducing Drinking Opening Heat Loss

This is a great idea from Art for making the solar heated stock watering tanks more freeze resistant during periods of not much sun and lots of wind.

The drinking opening in these tanks is the last high heat loss area, and we have been looking for a simple and practical way to reduce the heat loss -- this looks like like a good solution to me.

I'd like to hear if anyone has tried other alternatives -- Gary...

Thanks very much to Art for providing this!


From Art:

 I built a solar tank and it works but the surface of the water would freeze over night when it got below 20 degrees due to the wind in Wyoming.

Here is a tip that keeps it from freezing for a lot longer period of time. Take a piece of canvas awning that is 18”to 24” wide by 72” long if your hole is 18x18 and staple it around the inside of the hole. Make sure the weather side of the awning canvas faces in.

Click on pictures for full size

The canvas creates a wind and additional insulation barrier. Only the 18” by 18” surface water is exposed to the cold and the rest of the water stays warmer a lot longer and keeps the hole from icing. The horses had no problem with the canvas. We got down to 40 below for 3 days straight and all the horse had to do, to get water, was push on the 1” to 2” thick ice for it did not stick to the awning canvas. The water in the tank behind the canvas did not freeze. Here is a picture of the tank I built.


You can email Art questions at 

For much more on solar heated stock tanks...

Gary March 9, 2011