Winter Preparations For Barn Owners
Hello RRC Members!
The purpose of this RRC Bulletin is to share important information regarding our limited power circuits during winter weather. Please review this information carefully, as it contains guidelines for using power at RRC for critical items such as water bucket heaters. We also want to share some practical tips for water storage and fire safety.
RRC provides water and electricity to the common grounds and to Members leasing barns. Our electrical circuits are limited, meaning the breakers may blow when they are overloaded. When multiple barns utilize too much power at one time, the breakers blow and thus require re-setting. If this occurs during hours when no one is at the Club, the power keeping critical items like heated water buckets will shut off, which means your horse’s water supply may freeze. We need all Members to be aware of this issue and prioritize electrical use during the winter months. Other than lights, the big priority needs to be keeping circuits available for heated water buckets or bucket heating devices.
Richland Riders Ground Rules notes the following regarding water and electricity (Section 17.3): The RRC provides water and electricity to members. During cold winter months, a boarder may use a tank heater and a heat tape. In the winter, the use of space heaters, heat lamps, or Christmas lights is prohibited because of fire hazard.
Other Important Details Regarding Power, Water and Fire Safety:
Thanks for taking a moment to review this Bulletin. Careful power management and sufficient water for emergencies are critical for all barn owners. Fire safety at RRC is critical for all Members. Please feel free to email me with any related suggestions and I will send out another Bulletin. I don't think you can over-communicate regarding power, fire safety and water!
- If someone plugs in a device that draws too much electricity it will trip the power on that circuit. It will not only shut off your power, it may shut off power to your neighbor’s barns. To restore power you have to go back to the fuse box and flip the switches. Unless the large power draw is stopped, resetting the switches is only a temporary fix (may only last minutes).
- Barn equipment such as refrigerators and microwaves draw too much power when you add a heated water bucket/tank heater. Power loss may occur. To resolve the problem you must take some of your devices off the circuit. As noted above, flipping the fuse box switch on again only restores power for a minute or so and then the overdrawing device will trip the switch again.
- If you do reset breaker boxes, don't forget to CLOSE the box. Leaving the box open subjects the breakers to rain and ice, which could result in costly repairs.
- Carefully inspect all power cords in your barn. Electrical problems are one of the most common causes of barn fires. Most barn fires occur in the winter months (January-March). For this reason, do not use worn, frayed, split or cracked power cords. Consider use of a conduit for power cords, to prevent damage by rodents or curious horses.
- Under no circumstances should you utilize extension cords, power strips or extra cords to access extra power. All power cords should be rated for use in a barn, meaning commercial ratings. A cord rated for residential (home) use is not appropriate for use in a barn and could cause a fire.
- With freezing weather we may experience a burst pipe at the Club. This could result in having no water available until a plumber can come and conduct repairs. Here’s a tip from our Webmaster, Dave and his wife Amanda: keep all water bins full during the winter. This helps if the pipes freeze and water becomes unavailable for a few days. They keep three days of water in their bins. They utilize tank heaters attached to timers, which ensures that only one tank heater is running at a time. One timer runs for four hours and then goes off, then the other one comes on for four hours. Another idea is
to utilize tanks with built-in thermostats that monitor the temperature and only come on periodically, to prevent freezing. Either way, make sure you have extra water in case of emergency.
- Some handy specifics on wattage to prevent blowing circuits: any single barn drawing more than 2000W may trip the fuse box, which may shut off power to multiple barns. Please review the wattage of any electrical devices you have plugged in at your barn and make sure the total wattage does not exceed 2000W. If your devices are new, this information will be on the box. You can also look up your devices online.