Recently, there have been questions about size of waterer needed and reasons for freeze ups. Both of these issues can walk hand in hand. Here are some questions to consider when facing either of these issues;
- What is the current number of animals this waterer will service?
- Do you have plans to increase or decrease the number of animals?
- Is the heater and thermostat, if so equipped, working correctly?
- Does the water flow properly when the float is manually moved to open the valve?
You should consider each of these questions both when you are deciding what size waterer you need and when trying to diagnose a freezing problem. Incorrectly sized units don't take advantage of Ritchie's features to provide your animals with a clean and abundant water supply.
A malfunctioning thermostat or heater is an obvious problem and one relatively easy to diagnose and correct. You should first check the physical condition of the power connections, thermostat and heater. Then test for power coming to the waterer. Test power into the thermostat and exiting the thermostat to the heater. Don't forget to check your grounds (negative) connections in the circuit. If power is present to the heater but the heater still is not heating, the heater is probably malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. With a disc thrmostat, check the location of the thermostat on the bracket in relationship to how close it is to the tank. Moving the thermostat will change the temperature setting. Ritchie shows how to adjust this on the installation videos that can be linked to from any page on our site. Replacing the thermostat at the same time as the heater is good procedure and could extend the period of time before you have to deal with this issue again. Correct installation procedures for the heating element that installs beneath the stainless tank style can be found in the section labeled,
Water flow is very important for many reasons. The waterers are tested and designated for size of herd serviced. Too small of a waterer and it won't be able to keep fresh, clean water present for your animals to drink while too large of a unit will allow the water to sit without enough flow to keep the water clean and fresh, and in some extreme weather conditions, the water could begin to freeze without proper flow. When a waterer that has been working correctly stops doing so, manually move the float and check for water flowing. If there is either a no flow or a low flow condition, first check your water source. Then remove the valve behind the float and check for obstructions. If you need to change a valve consider changing the float at the same time. The standard valve installed in the waterer from the factory is based on most common needs. A valve flow chart is included on all parts breakdown pages if your PSI/GPM needs are different. All valves are color coded for easy identification.
If your herd dynamics have changed and your herd being serviced by a particular waterer is much smaller than that unit is intended to service and in extreme cold weather ice begins to skim on the water, consider reduced water flow as a possible culprit if the heaters are working properly.