Can I De-ice My Entire Lake?

Match Your De-icing Goal with What’s Possible

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-Written by Joe Holz, International Sales Manager

In life, having a clear goal or objective will allow you to make the best choices and determine what is realistic or not for your situation.  The same can be said for de-icing bodies of water. Knowing what you are trying to achieve will help you and us determine the best means of addressing the situation.

Art Vs. Science

When it comes to de-icing, we often say it is more of an art-form than an exact science.  Many factors come into play besides geographical location.  Water depth, bottom contour, obstructions in the water like dock pilings, and local weather conditions all factor into de-icing.

The common denominator is always the same; temperature differential.  It is the key behind de-icing bodies of water.  You must have warm, bottom water that can be moved to the surface to keep the water temps at the surface above freezing.  The earth will warm the bottom water and the air at the surface will cool it.  To produce and maintain open water, you must have and maintain that temperature differential.

Too Much or Too Little

If you de-ice too aggressively, especially in small and/or shallow bodies of water, you can actually create more ice.  By keeping too much water open, you will cool the water faster than the earth can heat it and gradually shrink your open water area.  We often get requests to keep entire bodies of water open.  These requests come from industrial applications as well as residential.  The answer is virtually always the same though; it just isn’t possible without adding heat to the water.  (The only exception is if you are in an area that gets very short periods of ice and are usually above freezing temps.)  You cannot expose enough warm water to the surface to maintain a completely ice-free body of water without cooling it so much that ice will begin to develop and close in the open areas.

What’s Your Goal?

If we go back to our initial idea of identifying goals and what you need to accomplish those goals, we can better address the actual requirement.  If your goal is to keep the entire body of water open, you simply have to adjust your goal.  However, most of the time, the real objective isn’t to keep the entire water body open, but to maybe keep enough open to maintain water fowl in a residential application or to keep equipment running in an industrial application.  With these more refined and obtainable goals, we can successfully address the situation with de-icers or diffusers and accomplish what is needed.

We’re always happy to assist in the design and layout of your de-icing project. We’ll need a little information to get started such as the size of the body of water, depth, any obstructions in the water, geographic location, and also, of course, that clearly defined goal of what you want to accomplish with de-icing.

Contact us at and let us help you achieve those goals.

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De-Icer in operation

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