I have found the secret to the problem that I have had with my water bucket insulators during the winter. And I found it out by sheer accident. But my discovery  is so incredible I just had to share it with you!

The Secret to the Bucket Insulator

But, let’s go back to last year, when I got the idea to add bucket insulators to my horse(s) stalls. And I apologize, my bucket holders are dusty and dirty. I don’t realize how dirty until I take some pictures of them!

And this is what it looks like at my house right now. The snow melts during the day and turn into an icy mess every morning that the snow remains.

It’s a crunchy, icy mess! And I don’t think it does anything to help the situation. Unfortunately, I have no say in it. So I have to try and deal with it. I am already counting down to the summer!

The Secret to the Bucket Insulator

Cold, Cold Winter Days

I live in Colorado. And the Winter’s can be very cold with some days never rising above freezing. Which also means the nights, well they are well below freezing. So I wanted a way for my horse to be able to have access to water, without having to break the ice.

water bucket insulator for winter time horse care

I found these bucket insulators on Amazon. They have them in other places, but Amazon had the best price, plus free shipping.
The insulators come with a 5 gallon bucket, along with a sort of cover that acts like a float, and is supposed to keep the water ice free.

Well, that didn’t happen for me and my barn.

Solution To Frozen Water Buckets

The Secret to the Bucket Insulator

So last winter the buckets in the insulators became 5 gallon ice cubes. And neither of my horses would drink from the buckets with the float in it.
So out of necessity and wanting to make sure Frisby had access to clean water in his stall earlier this week, I brought a 5 gallon bucket to keep in the house, so I can add warm water to the bucket that is in the insulator.

And yes, it is a Home Depot bucket. They work great! And they are really affordable too.

The Secret to the Bucket Insulator

I did this because we had an early snow storm that left us with over 12 inches of snow, and day time temperatures around 12 degrees, wit the night time temperatures dropping to about zero degrees. And while I do have the large water tank that has a heater, I wanted to make sure Frisby had access in his stall to water.

Having an extra 5 gallon bucket makes it easy (well as easy as lugging 5 gallons of water from my house to the barn can be) to bring out water and either top off his stall bucket, or just exchange them. You can buy (or find) 5 gallon buckets very easily. Which is an affordable bonus tip. That is if you have a bucket insulator already.

Accessible Water

And this is where I learned something magical about the bucket insulator.
Wednesday morning it was zero degrees when I fed him in the morning. This was around 6:30 AM. So I exchanged the buckets, giving him a full 5 gallons of warm water in his stall. And when I fed him in the evening, around 6:30 PM, the water that was left in the bucket was still water! There was no ice, and only about 2 gallons of water left!

The Secret to the Bucket Insulator

And again, the outside temperature was around 4 degrees. This was my a-ha moment. And the outside tank had about 2 inches of ice on it because we had unplugged it. But the stall water bucket was still ice free.

Yes, Bucket Insulators Do Work!

So the bucket insulators DO work, you just have to know how to use them. And honestly, I didn’t know, because nowhere on the manufacture’s website do they talk about this. But I am so happy that I figured out how to make this work!

And every morning, and every evening I bring out a bucket filled with warm water to either fill the stall bucket, or to replace it in case Frisby has drunk most of it. And it is working out very well. Not only do I know how much water Frisby is drinking, but I think he likes the warm water. And if that’s what it takes to make sure he is getting enough to drink, I will continue to do it all winter long!

Eureka Moments Do Happen

With just having Frisby now, I can kind of monitor how much water he is drinking from the big tank, but honestly, I am not sure how many gallons of water it holds. Which is why I like the 5 gallon bucket. It is a lot easier to tell how much he is drinking, and easier to warm up 5 gallons versus 250 gallons of water.

The Secret to the Bucket Insulator

So while last winter I was not pleased with my purchase of the bucket insulators, this year I am very happy I have them.
So if you too have the bucket insulators, and were having problems keeping the water clear, and ice free, I hope you find this post useful. And I hope your horse too can have access to ice free water this winter!


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.

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