What a odd winter and spring we have had in Iowa! Now that we are in the middle of May, I think it's safe to say that the threat of freezing is over.
So what is the best practice regarding the heaters on your heated Ritchie waterer? Obviously the heat is no longer needed. Is it best to turn the electricity off or leave it on? Should the heaters be disconnected or removed?
These questions are best answered by taking the model you have, how you installed the electric to the units and ultimately what is best for you and your situations.
All Plastic - Heat Added Units
Ritchie all plastic units, such as the WaterMatic Family, do not come standard with heat. Heat can be added, however with the Immersion Heater 16311 for the trough and the Self-Regulating Heat Cable #16276. It is best practice to remove the Immersion Heater during the summer and store it in a dry place. This allows the heater to stay clean of any debris or mineral deposits that may accumulate by sitting in the water. The Self-Regulating heat cable can stay installed, however, you can unplug the unit should you choose.
Just remember to install the Immersion Heater and plug the Self-Regulating Heat Cable before the cold set in again!
Heat Standard Units
Ritchie Heated Waterers, such as the OmniFount 2 #16619 are thermostatically controlled, giving you two options, depending on your electric set-up. Essentially, you can leave the units alone without shutting off the electric or disconnecting the heaters from the source. The thermostat will not be activated during the warmer months giving you a worry free environment.
If the units were installed with a dedicated switch, then yes, you can shut the electricity off. This will not hurt the unit or the heaters. Remember to turn it on when the weather turns in the fall!
There may be a possibility that the newer models will be wired through a junction box that can simply be plugged into an outlet. Should Ritchie roll out with this on all new models, we will address this update as it comes.
Do what is best for you, your time and ultimately, if you can remember to plug-in/turn the electricity on to the units in the fall.
For more information on Ritchie waterers and other products, visit our online store.