Sometimes it's the heater that has failed, and sometimes it's something else. Lately, we may be dealing with a loss of voltage - the outlets are a fair ways from the barn, which results in a loss of voltage, and since we're using extension cords, that reduces the voltage even further, which I've learned results in an increased amperage draw. So the heaters may not have sufficient voltage to operate properly. So tomorrow we're going to swap out the extension cords for ones with a heavier gauge, and also get extension cords that are shorter. We'll see if that makes a difference - I certainly hope so, as wrestling with water, heaters and extension cords when wind chills are below zero F isn't my idea of a good time!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Watts and Amps and Volts, Oh My!
We've been having trouble with some of our tank heaters. We use 1,500 watt aluminum sinking heaters, which should be drawing 12.5 amps, in our dry lot tanks. Due to the placement of the tanks and the electric box, we have to use extension cords to reach the tanks. Lately, when I go to inspect the tanks at morning turnout, often one or the other tank heaters has stopped working, with resulting ice (and associated swearing as I remove the ice). To restart the heater, I have to get down on my hands and knees - the outlet box is almost at ground level (don't get me started on what I'd like to do to the person who installed it that way) - and put my face almost down to the ground in order to see the GFI (ground fault interruptors) and reset them if necessary. Often, the GFI has not tripped but the heater has just stopped working, which presents a mystery. And then other times the GFI is tripped.