As part of our project to make our garden a wildlife garden, I wanted a way to keep at least one of our bird baths from freezing. My Dad and I set about making a heater, here’s what we did!
Dad designed this but we are happy for everyone to try it, the more water available for birds to drink over winter the better and I know things like this have been done before. Just make sure you know what you are doing and are safe. Get advice if you aren’t sure 🙂
[AN: I am not an electrician and have no idea what I am writing about! I will check facts with my Dad but any errors are mine]
As you can see below it is basically two bulbs mounted on a piece of wood. The bulbs are 10 watt and connected in parallel, they are drawing 9volts of a possible 12. Another couple of small bits of wood have been used below the piece the bulbs are mounted on to raise them slightly, below this all the wiring is hidden.
This arrangement has been placed in a wooden box we made from wood we had in the garage and surrounded by foam insulation off-cuts. A hole was made for the wire to exit the box.
It is all very low voltage and it won’t get very hot. The aim is for it to be just warm enough to prevent the water from freezing or to defrost it enough for the birds to drink as we won’t have it on all the time and do not want to use a lot of power (which is why insulation is handy).
We bought a sheet of aluminium and fixed it to the top of the box as the lid. This overhangs the edges of the box which will help to keep it dry, though the wood has been coated with cuprinol.
I painted the metal sheet green with metal paint so it blends in with the garden.
It has been placed in the meadow on concrete slab and our stone birdbath has been placed on top. The cable runs along the edge of the meadow to the border where, for now at least, it runs above the plants on a large metal wire that runs along it (to fix canes to, to support plants), up the garden to the workshop. A switch mode power supply has been used to convert mains power to 12 volts.
Remember to think about safety when running the cable, make sure it is out of the way so no one trips or mows it!
[Photos of the heater in the meadow to come]
This is the birdbath used:
We have not had to use it yet, but I don’t think it will be long.
Have you tried something like this and how did it go?
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For past Garden project posts see the garden project tag.
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Update blog: It works!