How to Prevent a Water Tank from Freezing in Winter

The bottom of a stream of water pouring into a water tank, creating bubbles.

When the cold weather arrives, it’s important to take steps to prevent your water tank from freezing. If the water freezes, it can damage the tank and the associated plumbing and equipment connected to it, which can result in costly repairs. There are several things you can do to protect your tank from the cold weather.

Follow these tips to keep your water flowing!

What are the Consequences of a Frozen Water Tank?

Because water expands as it freezes, it can cause the sides of the tank to crack or even collapse, which can lead to costly repairs. Additionally, if the water in the tank is not properly drained before it freezes, the ice can block the outlets and valves and prevent you from accessing the water when you need it. In addition, if the water inside the tank is not completely frozen, it can create a “slush” that can be difficult to pump and use. Once the water inside the tank freezes, it will be more likely that the pipes connected to the tank to freeze and possibly burst.

6 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Your Tank from Freezing

Here is a quick list of actions you can take to help ensure that your water tanks won’t freeze this winter:

1. Keep the Tank Full

If the water level in your tank drops too low, it will be more susceptible to freezing. Make sure the tank is full throughout the winter months. Adding a tank level monitor will help you to ensure you maintain a high enough water level until freezing temperatures subside.

2. Add a Blanket Heater

A 275 gallon tank covered in a black Tank Depot PowerBlanket.

Blanket heaters, like ours from Tank Depot, are a great way to prevent your water tank from freezing. They are much more efficient than regular band heaters. Plus, a lightweight and durable blanket heater requires virtually no maintenance, which saves you time and money in the long run.

3. Insulate the Tank

Wrapping your water tank in insulation will also help keep it from freezing. Be sure to use a material that does not absorb water, such as styrofoam or fiberglass.

4. Place the Tank in a Sunny Location

If possible, place your water tank in a location that receives direct sunlight during the day. The heat from the sun will help keep the water warm and prevent it from freezing.

5. Wrap the Pipes Leading To and From the Tank

Insulating the pipes leading to and from your water tank will also help prevent them from freezing and bursting. You can purchase ready-made styrofoam pipe insulation in 8- to 10-feet lengths that is easy to custom cut to fit your specific needs.

6. Check for Leaks Regularly

Leaks can cause your water tank to freeze faster, so check for them regularly and repair them promptly.

Keeping Your Off-Grid Water Tank from Freezing

A 1175-gallon white water cistern storage tank with two black manholes on top.

Living off-grid presents a few challenges to those trying to keep water from freezing in the winter. If your off-grid home has electricity, you can easily add a heat blanket or some type of water heater, but if you need to protect your water supply with non-electrical solutions, consider these options.

Larger Tanks

The more water in the tank, the longer it will take to freeze completely. When the tank is refilled, new water enters that is warmer than what is already inside, which can slow down freezing. This process relies on regularly using and replacing water.

Round-shaped Tanks

A cylindrical, green, 300 gallon plastic water tank.

Round tanks, compared to rectangular or cube-shaped tanks of the same volume, have a smaller surface area. This means less heat loss and better insulation for your tank.

Angled Tank Covers

Slanted or top-heavy tanks are more likely to prevent ice formation and retain heat, as rainwater slides off rather than pooling and cooling the entire reservoir.

Add Tank Insulation

If you don’t want your water to freeze during winter, make sure to insulate your tank properly. A good way to do this is by using an insulating material that covers the tank on all sides including the top. This will prevent heat from escaping and keep the tank warm enough so that it doesn’t freeze. Many suppliers who sell tanks also offer optional covers.

Tank Depot Has the Supplies and Know-How to Keep Your Water Tanks from Freezing

Purchasing a water storage tank is a big decision, and you want to be sure that you purchase from folks with years of experience who can provide the best materials and the best price. 

At Tank Depot, we take advantage of the low costs of selling our products online by passing the savings on to you! We carry tanks and accessories for all types of liquid and solid storage.
Contact us today for more information!