We have just had our first taste of temperatures below freezing on the Great Plains. Many folks may be left with a thin layer of ice on their bird baths. The weather is going to warm, but this is just a reminder of what is to come.
Now is a great time to check that bird bath de-icer to make certain it is functioning properly. After-all, it is easier to address this matter when the temperatures are in the sixties than when they fall to below freezing.
Here is a simple method to test your bird bath de-icer. Unplug the de-icer and place it in your freezer for 30 minutes. This is necessary as the thermostat will not function until the de-icer is in an environment below 32 degrees. Remove the de-icer and immediately plug it in. Give it a minute or two and feel if the de-icer is beginning to warm up. They are designed to either work or not. If it feels warm you are good to go.
If the de-icer does not feel warm after the freezer test check the following:
Is the de-icer covered with a coating of deposits from last year? Try placing the de-icer in a solution of vinegar and water to soak. Then using a stiff brush scrub the deposits off and re-test the de-icer using the freezer method.
If the de-icer still fails to warm up check to make certain the outlet you are plugging it into is functioning. If you are testing the de-icer using an extension cord make certain the extension cord is working properly. Avoid extension cords over 25 feet as the resistance in a long cord may not allow enough energy for the de-icer to work properly.
If after cleaning and making sure the power source is working properly and the de-icer still does not begin to warm up after the freezer test it may be time to replace the bird bath de-icer.
Bird Bath De-Icers at Wild Bird Habitat Stores