Officially called the "BT Sun Tank," the unit is manufactured by Pine Ranch Products in Utah. I ordered mine from Country Supply on September 10 and it shipped 11 weeks later. Why it took so long is anybody's guess.
See this round thing? It's an insulated float that bobs atop the surface of the water.
The animal has to push it with his nose to get a drink.
I'll move out of the way and let Hank show you how it's done.
Hank and Alan figured out how to use it in no time at all.
George took a little longer.
Of course, as soon as I set up the tank, the weather got freakishly warm so I wasn't able to thoroughly test it. But Wednesday at dawn, when the temperature was about 24, there wasn't a speck of ice to be found. The unit is guaranteed to work down to minus 20 degrees.
Overall, I'm satisfied with the Sun Tank, and I'll sleep better knowing that the electric meter isn't spinning out of control all winter. I hope it's as durable as the manufacturer claims and that it will last a very long time.
But here's the part that bugs me. As I look at the unit, I can't help but wonder why it costs so darned much. It shouldn't. It's just a bunch of plastic - no fancy mechanical parts, no high-tech wizardry. And the workmanship is sloppy; for example, there are gobs of sealant sticking out from around the solar collector panel and some of the screws that attach the bucket to the housing are misaligned. It looks like something I might have assembled in my garage.
As far as I can tell, this brand is the only solar-heated water trough on the market. Maybe if they had some competition, the price would go down and the workmanship would go up. It's a great concept, just not a very good value.