While a frozen water tank is not a common problem for people in Australia – sometimes it may be a concern for water tank owners, especially in southern Victoria or Tasmania. Preventing your water tank freezing during cold snaps in winter is an easily preventable task:
1. Use Larger Tanks
This is a straightforward one. A larger volume of water takes a longer time to freeze completely, compared to a smaller volume of water. When the tank is refilled the new water is a little warmer than what is already in the tank and thus delays freezing further. This cycle relies on regular water usage and replacement.
2. Use Round Shaped Tanks
For the same volume, round shaped tanks have a smaller surface area compared to rectangular or cube shaped tanks, causing less heat loss and providing better insulation.
3. A Sloping Tank Cover Helps
Flat top tanks may have a gradual buildup of ice on top mostly due to water remaining from rains, reducing the temperature of the water in the tank and increasing the chance of the water freezing. A sloping water tank cover or top prevents ice formation on the top and keeps the water tank a little warmer.
4. Ensure Proper Tank Insulation
Proper tank insulation is a must if you want to avoid freezing of the water during the winter. A good insulating material covering the tank from the sides and the top will prevent heat from leaving the tank, keeping it warm enough to avoid freezing. Many tank suppliers sell optional covers with their tanks.
5. Avoid Insulating the Bottom of the Tank
Although as mentioned above, tank insulation is important, it is a good idea to avoid insulating the bottom of the water tank as warm air from below increases the temperature of the tank and prevents the water in it from freezing.
6. Use a Water Heating System
You could use a water heating system which keeps the water temperature above the freezing point. This heating system could be a simple electric heater immersed in the water or it could be an elaborate heating system installed in the walls of the water tank.
7. Check the Connecting Pipes for Leaks
Any leaks from the pipes near the tank can hasten the heat loss from the tank and result in gradual freezing of the water inside. It is therefore a good idea to get a professional evaluation done to identify and fix any leaks in the pipes, no matter how small they are.
8. Keep the Water Moving
Moving water is much less likely to freeze than standing water. In very cold conditions, if the water from the storage tank is not going to be used for a few days, the tank water should “used” or moved around somehow to prevent freezing. Water usage should be high enough to ensure that the rate at which heat is added to the tank from new water is faster than the rate at which the tank is losing heat, as in the first tip.
Preventing a water tank from freezing is a lot easier than dealing with a water tank once it is frozen. When water freezes, it expands, which could cause possibly irreparable damage to the tank by splitting it. But with some knowledge, care and preparation such disasters can be avoided – and you should be able to avoid the hassle of a frozen water tank.