It's no secret that freezing temperatures during winter can damage crops, harm livestock, and freeze water tanks. Don't worry, careful planning can prevent a frozen water tank and costly, long-term repairs. Here are crucial steps to combat winter weather and save your water tank from the elements.
A Frozen Water Tank Is A Serious Issue
Colder climates can freeze your water storage tank, potentially ruining your irrigation system, drinking water, or home plumbing. Water is the only molecule known to expand when it freezes. That means your water tank can expand in freezing temperatures and cause cracks in your tank walls. If big enough damage happens, your tank can rupture completely, leaving you with no water and expensive repairs.
Preparing Your Tank For Cold Temperatures
An insulated cover is a cheap and low-effort option to protect your water tank. These covers can be made of fiberglass, mineral wool, ceramic fiber, or some other cushioning material. First, measure your tank and buy the appropriately sized cover. Then, wrap your container tightly in the insulated cover. However, one crucial tip to remember is not to wrap the bottom of your tank. Warm air rises from below the tank, which prevents the tank from freezing. Insulating the bottom of the tank can prevent this, putting you back at square one.
A few different water heating methods prevent ice from forming inside your water tank. For example, heating blankets can wrap around your tank and generate heat from an electrical source. There are also submersible electric water heaters that use a current to warm the water inside the tank. However, these heating methods can only be used if the water is not used for drinking.
Any water tank that is exposed to the elements is vulnerable to freezing, but taking these steps to reduce the risk of freezing from the get-go can be beneficial in the long run.
Tips to Reduce Freezing Potential
Tank Size and Material
Small water tanks or tanks made of metal are more likely to suffer heavy damage in the event of freezing. As water freezes, it expands, making metal tanks more prone to rupture. Plastic tanks are more malleable and can stretch slightly to accommodate the extra width from freezing. Also, larger water tanks hold a larger volume of water, making it harder to freeze through. Simply put, the more water there is, the harder it is to freeze.
Pro tip: Round water tanks are better at retaining heat than rectangular tanks
Water Tank Maintenance
Any crack, no matter how small, can speed up the freezing process in cold temperatures. This includes cracks in the pipes leading to the water tank and the tank itself. Cracks allow heat to escape the tank and for cold air to enter. Checking your water tank periodically for damages or even getting a professional examination is a great way to ensure your water is ready for winter.
Keeping The Water Moving
When water is moving, it creates energy. This means that moving water is more difficult to freeze than standing water. In cold weather conditions, using your water can agitate the water in the tank, preventing it from freezing. This is as simple as running the taps every now and then (if your water tank is connected to a plumbing system) or using an agitator or tank mixer to keep the water in the tank moving.
In short, it's easier to prepare your water tank for winter than it is to defrost a frozen tank. Your best bet to avoid a frozen water tank is to find a tank built to withstand the elements and intelligently made from durable materials. Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we've created a comprehensive buyer's guide to finding a water storage tank that'll best meet your needs.