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water butts and frost

I'm quite anxious about protecting my water butts as the plastic ones are quite thin and can split in frosty weather, I bought two new butts earlier in the year and while I got a good deal on them they still cost around £70 for the two, my intention would be to empty them before the frost came but I didn't bargain on the weather being minus freezing for so long, they are now frozen solid and even though I have belatedly opened the taps they are at the complete mercy of jack frost, anyone know when the temperature is likely to get balmy again I suppose it will be Christmas day before we see double figures again?


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,490
    It's supposed to be a bit warmer in Somerset by Saturday. I also forgot to empty my waterbutts which are probably all frozen but I haven't had any split on me yet. Fingers crossed! We can't do anything about it now so useless worrying I think.
  • The BBC weather app says that here it will be +8 on Sunday and +12 on Monday without overnight frosts but we will have two nights of -5 before then, as you say we can't do anything about it so fingers crossed for the water butts.
  • LunarSeaLunarSea Cheshire / Derbyshire borderPosts: 1,138
    I posted about this very issue in an earlier thread, having previously lost two myself. The splitting problem arises if there is a partial thaw followed by a further deep frost (like in 2010) whereby the newly thawed water re-freezes into a gap between the old ice block and the side, usually on a 'corner'. The increase in volume then cannot be accommodated and - crack!

    I empty mine every year now and turn them upside down but I was also caught out this year and had to do some emergency thawing and emptying on Sunday. Luckily the initial frost hadn't been too deep and they had partially thawed anyway so it was just a matter of getting the taps open and thawing out the inside around the nut on the inlet tube.

    Good luck!
    Delusion is the ideal place to rest on a painful journey to the truth
  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 1,095
    It'll probably be March before we are in double figures here @barry island  .... woke up to -11.5 C this morning  :#

    I have some small empty plastic water bottles floating in our water butts. They have a old popsock tied to the neck ... with a stone in the toe. This seems to keep them floating at the surface. The idea is that any layer of ice will crush them before splitting the sides of the butts. 
    Has worked so far .... fingers crossed.

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • @barry island fill plastic bottles  with water and then add some salt.  Put the bottles into your water butts.  The salt stops the water in the bottles from freezing and the bottles will stop the water butts from freezing completely.

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,597
    edited December 2022
    @rossdriscoll13  Thanks that sounds like a good idea I'll have to wait until the butt thaws first though.
    @Bee witched I've just visited my allotment plot to take kitchen waste it's minus 5 here and cold enough for me.
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