Creating A Siphon To Prevent Frozen Water Tanks and Lines 

Yesterday we finally had some snow. We got about 3-4 inches, with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees during the day, and dipping down into the teens at night. We have 240 head of cattle. They need to have water, even in these temps. So, you might be asking yourself how to go about keeping the water tank and lines from freezing. Do you head down to the local farm supply store and buy heated tanks, lines and valves? Sure, if you have the luxury to do so. However, most of us do not.

There is a very simple solution to this problem. Create a siphon! Here are the tools you will need to create a siphon.

  • Heavy object like a hammer
  • Twine/rope/string/wire
  • Garden Hose
  • Step-In Post or two
  • Two people is best, but it can be done with one

To create a freeze-proof siphon here are the steps you will need to follow.

  • Tie the hammer or other heavy object to one end of the hose
  • Run the garden hose downhill, away from the tank and somewhere (along a fence line) the cattle cannot mess with it
  • Place the hose on the ground to start
  • Fill a bucket with water from the tank
  • Have someone else plug the downhill end of the hose with their finger
  • Pour water into the hose and have your helper release their finger after a few seconds and watch the water flow
  • When your helper hollers at you, submerge the garden hose and hammer in the bottom of the tank
  • The water should be flowing out of the hose
  • You can adjust the flow of the water coming out of the hose by raising or lowering it and securing it to a step in post
  • I like to look for a flow that is equivalent to a man peeing
  • You are done!

Now you can sleep well at night knowing that your water system will not freeze. On particularly cold days/nights you can leave the end of the siphon hose on the ground to assure that nothing will freeze. On nights that aren’t going to be that cold or windy, you can use a siphon that has a lower flow, by raising the height of the hose off the ground as I mentioned above. Additionally, you need to make sure that your cattle/livestock cannot access the hoses. This can easily be achieved with a strand of electrified polywire that splits the tank in two halves. You would then place the siphon and hose on the side of the tank where the animals cannot mess with it.

I hope you all can enjoy this low-cost simple solution.

What are some other strategies that you all have used to prevent your water system from freezing?

Chris Stelzer

Chris Stelzer is a published Author, founder of Agricultural Insights and creator of many resources that help family farmers and ranchers grow their businesses. His flagship courses are the Grazing Mastery Program and The Farm Marketing Mastery Program. 

Chris Stelzer

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