The Cost Of Winter Ice Damage
The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BOATUS) reports that ice damage is one of the leading causes of boat insurance claims, particularly in colder regions. In a 2018 survey, 17% of respondents reported experiencing ice-related damage to their boats, with an average repair cost of $2,500.
NOAA conducted a study that showed $1.1 billion in annual damages from winter storms and ice jams in the US, likely including some dock and boat damage.
Dock manufacturers and repair companies also notice the impact. Many report a surge in ice-related damage calls and repairs during and after harsh winters, with costs varying depending on the severity of the damage and the type of dock or boat affected.
The town of Sheboygan Wisconsin experienced a particularly harsh winter that caused $350,000 in damage to docks in the Harbor Centre Marina in 2013
Overall figures remain challenging to calculate, but these examples paint a clear picture: ice damage to docks, boats, and other waterfront structures is a significant and costly issue for many property owners.
How Do Pond and Lake De-Icers Work?
The solution to protecting your property against ice damage is aptly named a "de-icer". This device is simple in design as it uses a waterproof motor, with an attached propeller. De-icers are typically oriented horizontally so that the prop can drive water away from the unit...as it does this, it moves warmer bottom water to the surface. Adding the warm water in with agitation often proves to be very effective at controlling ice build-up in a targeted area.
Options To Consider When Purchasing A De-Icer
There are several variables you'll want to consider when choosing a water de-icer. The first, and most important, is the size of the motor (the larger the motor horsepower, the more thrust will be produced). Most brands work in sizes from 1/2 HP up to 1 HP. Choosing the best size for your needs would depend on your common winter temperatures and the size of the area you want to keep ice-free.
The second consideration is how you want to mount or deploy the de-icer. Mounting options include:
- Rope or mooring lines with the device suspended under a boat or structure.
- Dock mount assemblies provide an excellent mounting option where the direction and depth of the de-icer are easily controlled.
Finally, once you've determined the size of the motor, and how you'll mount the de-icer, you'll want to note how far you have to get to a power source. The power cable length will vary by installation but most brands and models will work with cables up to 200' long.
Use Case Examples: Boats, Docks, Marinas
Pond and lake de-icers have developed a reputation for keeping certain settings safe from ice damage. These commonly include boats, docks, and marinas. We've included some examples below of how de-icers saved the day and some significant dollars, against the encroaching ice.
Boat owners rely on Kasco de-icers as an essential component of winter protection for their boathouses and docks. These de-icers ensure that water stays open, allowing easy access to vessels even in icy conditions.
For boat protection, a de-icer serves as great insurance against ice damage. Normally the device is deployed under the boat using opposing mooring lines and angled upward to create a constant flow of warm water around the hull. Multiple units may be required for larger vessels.
When protecting docks from ice, a dock deicer could be suspended under the structure using suspension ropes but a more effective method of mounting is usually the universal dock mount kits. This includes durable metal base plates and bolted-down brackets, with a sliding pole that can be adjusted based on the direction and the depth you want to place the de-icer. This mounting approach provides a very strong, durable way to deploy the de-icer along the length of the dock. Multiple units may be required for very large structures or if conditions can get extremely cold.
Marinas use de-icers to prevent ice damage to boats, docks, and other aquatic assets during subfreezing temperatures. The key to properly sizing or fitting deicers in a marina is to consider the size and shape of the structure. There is a bit of art and a bit of science to getting the right deicing system right for complex marinas. We will often utilize the experts at Kasco Marine to get the size and placement right.
How To Choose The Best Pond And Lake De-Icer
By far, the most important thing to consider when choosing a lake deicer is the size of the motor. The larger the motor the more area a device can keep open, relative to the water temperature. You want to estimate the size of the desired area when planning your protection strategies. In cases where the docks are larger or you are working with a marina, you will likely want to use multiple deicers for the best coverage.
Listed below we've included data from Kasco Marine, on the estimated coverage area based on temperature and the horsepower of the motor of the de-icer.
Air Temperature: 34 to 20° F (-1 to 6.5° C)
|Open Water Diameter
|Open Water Diameter
|30 ft. x 100 ft. (9 m x 30.5 m)
|65 ft. (20 m)
|35 ft. x 120 ft. (11 m x 36.5 m)
|85 ft. (26 m)
|40 ft. x 150 ft. (12 m x 46 m)
|90 ft. (27.5 m)
Air Temperature: 19 to 0° F (-7 to -18° C)
|Open Water Diameter
|Open Water Diameter
|25 ft. x 60 ft. (7 m x 18 m)
|50 ft. (15 m)
|30 ft. x 80 ft. (9 m x 24 m)
|70 ft. (21 m)
|35 ft. x 90 ft. (11 m x 27.5 m)
|80 ft. (24 m)
Air Temperature: -1 to -20° F (-19 to -29° C)
|Open Water Diameter
|Open Water Diameter
|25 ft. x 55 ft. (7 m x 17 m)
|35 ft. (11 m)
|30 ft. x 75 ft. (9 m x 23 m)
|50 ft. (15 m)
|35 ft. x 85 ft. (11 m x 26 m)
|65 ft. (20
Mounting And Deployment
As mentioned previously, there are several mounting options to consider with any deicer. Most manufacturers include mooring lines with the unit and these could be used for a suspended installation under a dock or boat. Dock mounting kits are also available in various sizes to accommodate even the largest deicers. These are particularly useful for their durability and allow for full directional and depth control. A modified, oscillating dock mount is also available. Finally, in some installations, a float attachment is an effective way to deploy a deicer.
Power access will be necessary to run a deicer, so you'll need to estimate how far your power location is from your point of deployment. Smaller motors can be wired for 120v operation while most models can work on 120v or 240v power. Submersible power cords for most models can go up to 200' in length.
Control Panels And Timers
Optional control panels are available for most models and some of these not only come with timers but also thermostat sensors so the deicer will only come on when the water gets cold enough to create ice buildup. This is a great way to save on operational costs.
Common Questions About Pond De-Icing
Here are some of the more common questions we get when pond and lake owners want to know more about their deicing options.
Is A Pond Circulator And De-Icer The Same Thing?
Pond circulators and deicers are very similar. Both use a motor with a propeller to move large volumes of water around. The main difference between the two is the type of guard around the propeller. For weed and vegetation management, the AquatiClear circulator has multiple prongs on the front to minimize clogging and build-up around the prop.
A de-icer has a protective cage around the propeller, designed to keep ice away. Mounting options are similar as well, however, circulators may be suspended under a float, whereas deicers are more commonly mounted to docks or piers.
How Much Does It Cost To Run A De-Icer?
The cost to operate a deicer will vary greatly on a number of factors. Some of these would include the horsepower of the motor, the voltage it's running on, how much it will need to run, and your local electrical rates. Kasco has created a useful cost calculator that can be applied to all their products including their deicers which would include examples from the 2400D (1/2 HP, 120v) to the 4400HD (1 HP, 240v) units.
Simply select the model of deicer you want to check on, along with daily run hours, and your local k/w per hour cost, and the calculator will provide you with estimates for daily and monthly electrical costs.
How Do De-Icers Compare To A Pond Bubbler Or Aerator?
Both deicers and diffused aerators can be used to manage icing conditions in ponds and lakes. Diffused aerators are more efficient and cost less to run, but are less effective in shallow waters. To determine what might work best for your particular setting, it would be best to contact us for additional recommendations.
One way to save on the operational costs of a deicer is to use a thermostatic controller which will only run the device when temperatures are cold enough to freeze the water. With an approach like this, a deicer may end up costing less to run than a typical aerator.
How Do I Maintain My Lake De-Icer?
This is a great question! For the most part, maintaining a deicer is fairly easy although after 3 years or so of use, it may be required to have a service center (Kasco brand) do a seal and oil replacement on the device. Here are some things you can do to keep your deicer in great shape.
Operating equipment should be observed on a regular basis (daily, if possible) for any reduction or variation in performance. If you observe a change in performance, the equipment should be disconnected from power and inspected for any material that may have clogged the system or wrapped around the shaft of the motor, especially plastic bags and fishing line. Even though Kasco De-icers are among the most clog-resistant on the market, it is impossible to protect against all items that can clog equipment and still maintain a flow of water. These materials can be very damaging to the equipment under continued operation and must be removed as soon as possible. ALWAYS DISCONNECT POWER TO THE UNIT BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO REMOVE CLOGS.
Remove equipment from the water at least once per year to clean the exterior of the system, especially the stainless steel motor housing (can). The motor housing is the surface that dissipates heat into the water, and any algae, calcium, etc. buildup will become an insulator that blocks heat transfer. In warmer regions, we recommend removing and cleaning the motor at least two to three times per year depending on conditions. In most cases, a power washer will be sufficient if the unit and algae are still wet. Avoid power-washing the mechanical seal area directly.
Seal And Oil Replacement
This is a sealed motor assembly, and seals will wear out over time (similar to brake pads on a car). Replacement of the seals and a change of oil after three years may add longevity to the operation of the motor, saving you the cost of more expensive repairs.
A sacrificial anode is supplied on the shaft of all Kasco Marine De-icers for protection of the equipment from corrosion and electrolysis. The anode should be replaced if reduced to half the original size or if white in color. Corrosion from electrolysis is more commonly associated with saltwater or brackish water, but as a matter of precaution, it is important to periodically check the anode in all installations, at least every two to three months.
Seal replacement and all other repair services should be performed by Kasco or a Kasco-trained Authorized Repair Center.
When storing units during the off-season, it is important to store them with the cage down if they are going to be sitting for long periods of time. Units that sit upright on a shelf for many months, or even years, have a greater likelihood of seals drying out. Storing upside down will ensure oil is lubricating the seals and help prevent drying.
Kasco Marine Product Testimonials
Customers across North America have raved about the performance and reliability of Kasco De-icers. One customer from Minnesota stated, "I was amazed at how well the de-icer worked in subfreezing temperatures, keeping our marina ice-free all winter." Another customer from Ontario mentioned, "The ease of installation and effective operation of the Kasco De-icer has made it a crucial asset for protecting our boat dock from ice damage." The testimonials highlight the widespread satisfaction with Kasco De-icers' ability to safeguard aquatic assets during harsh winter conditions.
A testimonial from a marina owner in Michigan emphasized, "The consistent performance and durable construction of Kasco De-icers have significantly reduced maintenance costs for our boat dock." These testimonials showcase how customers rely on Kasco De-icers to prevent ice formation and protect their boats and waterfront property throughout colder months.