One of the most commonly asked questions we receive around the winter time is “are de-icers or diffusers better for ice prevention?”. With so many factors at play for the success of de-icing, it is hard to give a definitive answer. Both systems have distinct advantages in specific applications. This means that in the right application, both can do a terrific job of preventing ice, However, in the wrong application, either one could leave you with ice problems.
De-icers are the standard way to remove and prevent ice. They are ideally suited for use around boats, docks, pilings, etc. The powerful motors provide incredible thrust and water movement which moves warm, bottom water to the surface to create a temperature differential. Even if the temperature differential is not all that great, the velocity of water movement produced by the unit is enough to help prevent ice formation.
De-icers are extremely easy to adjust and are very portable. This allows for the user to adapt to changing conditions or needs midway through the season. They also work better in shallower depths. However, in most applications, you still need at least 6ft. of water. Another great quality about de-icers is that they are considered very modular. You can develop a complete de-icing system. Mounting several units in different ways allows for excellent customization of your unique situation.
Diffusers are also a great tool for de-icing, but work differently than de-icers. Air bubbles rise from the diffuser sitting at the bottom of the pond or lake, slowly pulling up warm, bottom water to the surface. Since the water movement is slower than de-icers, diffusers rely solely on a strong temperature differential with a bulk of the water being 39° F or warmer.
ALL THINGS ELECTRIC
Another advantage to diffusers is that they are great to use when power source location is an issue. Tubing can be run long distances very inexpensively. This allows for de-icing in remote areas or where there is no dock or boat available to suspend a de-icer. Also, because diffusers are run from compressors in a shore mounted cabinet, there is no electricity in the water. Although this may not be a huge concern in the winter, it still eliminates electrical liability in the water and can make maintenance easier.
Finally, diffusers offer excellent electrical efficiency. A single 1/2HP compressor can run up to three diffusers. If each is placed 10 ft. deep, you can experience three different areas of up to 30 ft. of open water for the cost of running a single 1/2HP compressor motor.
Diffusers are suitable for de-icing large, deep areas where portability and the ability to adjust after installation is not needed. They also do an exceptional job of aerating and improving water quality in the summer months.
In a nutshell, the answer to the initial question, which was “are de-icers or diffusers better for ice prevention?”, all depends on the specific application. If you need to de-ice a boat or dock system while requiring portability and adjustability, then de-icers are the way to go. On the other hand, if you have deep water and want to de-ice large areas a long way from power, then a diffuser may be what you need. For larger projects, you may have to incorporate both systems to provide a complete solution to prevent ice damage.
As always, Kasco is ready to help. Send us a layout of the application you need de-iced to firstname.lastname@example.org. With some dimension and depth information, we will happily develop a plan that saves you time, money, and effort this winter in preventing ice damage.
If you have any questions, please email us or call 715-262-4488.