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Old 04-15-2011, 06:42 PM  
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Talking Heating for barn in Maine

Has anyone put radiant heat in the aisleway? We are in the planning stages and our builder wants to put radiant heat in the aisle of the barn, the wash stall (floor and walls), tack room and feed room. Is this a reasonable thing to do? Would love to have a barn that graced the cover of Dover Saddlery, but can't afford it! Our horses are now in Cleveland where weather is similar to area of Maine and they are fine, but are getting older. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:13 PM  
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If you heat the barn than your horses are not going to be used to the cold outside.
perhaps your builder is looking at coins instead of logic.
ask around at other boarding facilities and barns and get your ans.
here in new york, it is not as bad as maine but the horses inside are cozy, and out of the wind. in my arena i have a heater in the lounge ,office and boarder tack room, in the main barn I have black top for an aisle way, as for shower room, we use a hose in the summer.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:18 PM  
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Oh Maine is a whole nuther world.... Most of the barns have covered halls leading to the houses. I don't think it's unusual to have some heat in the barn.

Beautiful part of the country. Where exactly are you headed. I visited Camden a afew years back and fell in love with the area.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:31 PM  
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I think that if your aisles have radiant heat the horses will not acclimatize to the cold outside and be more chilled when they are out and blankets will need to go off and on every time they go in or out. Sounds nice and toasty for the humans when they are in the barn though.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:47 PM  
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Radiant heat is actually the reccomended way to heat horses - provided your barn isn't sealed tight. The readiant heater will add heat to your horses, not the barn. Usefull when you have a season of soaking cold and damp. It will give your horses a chance to dry off, and take the chill off for visiting humans too.

Just don't run it all the time. Once the horses are dry and in their stalls, thier body heat and breath will make the barn warm enough.

They do use a fair amount of power, though, so if you install them in your barn, make sure the power supply and wiring is well up to the task. Most barn fires are caused by wiring faults.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:27 PM  
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If you live in a place that gets really cold in the winter, heating a barn for horses can be a really bad idea as noted by others (temperature shock when the horse's leave the barn).

If you have a reasonably 'tight' barn and you close all the windows and doors, horses will keep a barn at about 35-40 degrees F even if it is 20 below outside. Cows will keep it at about 50-60 degrees in a reasonably 'tight' barn. Interestingly enough this is why years ago when horses were the main mode of heavy farm labor that horses weren't kept in the same barn as cows.

Radiant heaters are OK to dry off a horse but a wool 'cooler' is better and more effective. I'm not a fan of heaters that use electrical resistance because they tend to overload electrical circuits without tripping the breaker before a problem results (most barns notoriously have insufficient electrical systems as per safety issues and besides, who wants a 4-digit electric bill each month?
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:23 PM  
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I disagree, It's no where as cold here as Maine and my barn is new and reasonably tight...there were many days here that the barn was 5degrees or lower. If the animal heating theory was true, why do we all have to break the ice out our buckets from December to March???

Keeping a barn warm usually means heating it to 35 or 40...you're not talking making a balmy 60 degrees.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:49 PM  
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I should have qualified that statement (my error) and note that you would have to have a lot of cows and horses in a given barn (a lot more than most people would have, at least in the horse department) to get the heating effect.

I've been in dairy barns that held 100+ milkers that kept a nice 45 degrees when it was 10 below outside and the barn is closed up.

But you are right about the horse heating effect - you would need a good amount of horses to get a heating effect. I had about 50 horses in one barn up in Vermont one time and there was a heating effect, enough to keep the water from freezing when it was zero outside, but the bar was extremely tight. If there was more than 10 or 15 degrees difference between inside the barn and outside, we usually let the temperatures equalize over 15 or 20 minutes before letting anyone out.
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:47 PM  
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I grew up in New England and never had horses in a heated barn, and actually rarely saw heated barns. I went into one in MO, and was knocked over by the stench of urine; they had the barn SO tightly enclosed to keep heat in, it had too little ventilation. I can see some benefit of having a heated area to dry sweaty horses in (there are coin-operated heat lamps at the barn I'm riding at!), but personally, I wouldn't want to heat a barn. While you're talking new construction, so likely to be safe, having all that "extra" wiring and possibility of an electrical short would make me worry too much.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:45 AM  
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Hi the animal heating effect is true it also depends on what your barn is made of POLE Sheds are COLD .......... even with hay on top and all doors and windows shut water will freeze and you need to wear gloves doing chores worked in one for years ( 30 stalls & full morton horse barn no hay above but insulated walls doors ) and friends built a 3 stall pole type horse barn with 2 horses COLD! sometime in spring early summer is was colder in barn than outside. We have a old dairy barn with 7 stalls ( 4 horses now) and 2 pens with young cows/ yearlings barn is always 30 to 40 water doesn't freeze much unless it's real cold are barn being old is not air tight either hay mow on top the north side is mostly in ground and the south side is above (barn is built into a hill kind of) love it!! also many barns airtight is not good dusty and smelly wind is a big factor in chilling horses (and humans) if your going to work your horse in winter i'd say a cooler and walking him out would be better
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:02 PM  
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One of the nicer barns in this area has two options for stall board. One barn is heated the other is not. A lady that I know has boarded there for years and could afford to keep her four horses in the heated barn (her and her husband are LOADED) but chooses to keep them in the unheated barn because of the fact that she had constant health issue's when they were in the heated barn. Since she has moved to the unheated barn she has virtually zero issues.
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:50 PM  
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Ok, I'm in MN and it gets darn right COLD here! I've boarded at 3 barns that were all heated. 2 of them kept it right around 35-40 degree's just enough to get the chill out and keep things from freezing. Both those barns had a system like this: http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies...heaters.ht ml

The other barn I have no idea what type of heating system they had as I NEVER saw it, they had a regular digital thermostat on the wall like you'd have in your house and it was set at........65....yep! That was crazy if you ask me. It was horrible in there, not to mention the urine smell was about enought to knock you over. They cleaned every day and kept it very clean, but I don't know that they used any type of stall dry/lime or anything. My horse HATED coming in that barn in the winter. He was luckily a pasture horse but we came in to tack up and what not and we did so very quickly!
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:28 PM  
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Heat your tackroom and invest in frost-proof hydrants or automatic waters. Having heat in the barn is risky because there is so much fine airborne dust and you don't need a flash fire.
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:09 PM  
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Our barn only has heat in that you can turn it on (once it hits 0 Celcius, 32 F for some of you , it shuts off) only if needed e.g. it's ridiculously cold and there's a beginner clinic going on and you don't want potential students to die from the cold, you have the farrier out and your fingers and toes are about to fall off from standing there for four hours with the horses, etc. It's an overhead heating system and has to actually be turned on to work, it won't just turn on itself when it gets to a certain temperature. The arena is heated in the same fashion, but again, rarely gets turned on and only when really cold. We ride for lessons until it's -20 (-4 F) so you need a bit of a break when you come in after trying to catch your horse for ten minutes in two feet of snow and nasty winds.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:57 PM  
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Just read of a big barn fire attributed to a heater to warm a calf.
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