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Before You Buy Heated Hose for Livestock

I recently purchased a pretty expensive heated hose for our horses and cows. I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’m going to keep it. Let’s talk about what you should consider before you buy heated hose for livestock.

Why I bought Heated Hose

Unfortunately, we do not have water down by our barn and animals. During the warm months we run hose from the house down to the troughs. All told it is about 225 feet.

Water isn’t exactly fun in the winter but we have managed alright, sledding down buckets each morning and evening for chores. Since adding two horses to our farm we go through a lot more water than before. Depending on the day it can be between 40-80 gallons.

We are upgrading our water troughs to one 144-gallon tank and one 100-gallon tank so we can just do water every three days or so. My thought was a heated hose would be perfect for this.

What is a heated hose?

Heated hose is made primarily for RVs but is also manufactured for livestock use. I would not buy the stuff used for RVs for livestock, as it is made of different material and is made to sort of coil up in small contained spaces vs. stretch out and sit in the farmyard.

Does heated hose warm the water?

No. It is just getting the water warm enough to flow through the hose.

Do you have to leave heated hoses plugged in all the time?

For the most part, no. Most of the brands I looked at said you could plug the hose in 20-40 minutes prior to use (depending on the air temperature and how much water was in it when it froze) and it should be good to go. Most did recommend draining the water out of the hose after use but didn’t say it was totally necessary.

water filling a bucket rough and tumble farmhouse
99 buckets of water to fill…99 buckets of water….

How much does heated hose cost?

The Pirit 100 foot length of hose was $259.00 plus tax and shipping. All told it was almost $300. Expensive, but if it saves hauling buckets of water twice a day every day, it pays for itself in terms of time pretty darn quick.

There are some cheaper options out there and some more expensive ones too.

What to Consider Before Buying Heated Hose for Livestock

Outlet Location

A heated hose needs electricity to function. If you don’t have an outlet right by where your hose plugs in, this is a problem. Every single heated hose option I looked at said under no circumstances should you use an extension cord. Their reason being that it affects how well the product functions, meaning it might not thaw when you need it to.

At our house the nearest outlet outside is 25 feet away. The closest one inside is about 12. The cord on the hose is only 6 feet, so you can see the issue.

This means you either need to have a new outlet installed or you need to run nonheated hose from the spigot to wherever you can plug in the heated hose. Not a total deal breaker but definitely a pain in the ass.

Additionally, you need a specific type of outlet which we are about to dive into.

GFI Outlets

Another consistent necessity for a heated hose for livestock is a GFI outlet. This stands for Ground Fault Circut Interrupter.

Basically, if any electricity goes somewhere it shouldn’t, the outlet automatically shuts off. You probably have these type of outlets in your kitchen or bathroom as they are a safeguard anywhere you have electricity and water in close proximity.

Now you can run your hose on a non GFI outlet, but it comes with pretty serious risks (like death!) and it isn’t too terribly expensive to replace.

Length of Hose

This might seem like a no-brainer, but turns out I am in fact a no-brainer. I am terrible at estimating distance, age height, or time. I’d be a terrible police witness.

From what I saw, heated hoses seem to come in lengths of 10, 20, 40, 60, and only one or two had 100 foot hoses. I was convinced all I needed was 100 feet. Turns out I needed slightly over 200.

Be sure to double check how much you need before you invest in the hose.

farm in winter rough and tumble farmhouse
From our back door to the horses/cows it is about 215 feet.

Can You Connect The Hose

This is one I didn’t pay attention to well enough in the fine print, and that is the fact you might not be able to connect them.

The hose we bought says they do NOT recommend connecting them and in fact, if you do connect it to another hose it will void the warranty.

It so happens there is a building right at about 100 feet, so we COULD possibly plug it in. But then we’d have to use an extension cord which of course we aren’t supposed to do.


Part of the reason I went with the Pirit brand hose is it offers an 18 month warranty. That’s pretty darn good as far as I’m concerned. That guarantees it will work for one whole winter and hopefully two if you store it well.

Metal vs. Plastic Fittings

Part of why I chose the Pirit hose is that the fittings on the end are all metal and very solid. I noticed some hoses had plastic fittings and reviews noted that they froze up and didn’t thaw even when the hose was plugged in.

I can’t imagine anything more frustrating than spending the cash for heated hose, only to have it be frozen over a two-inch section.

What am I gonna do with my heated hose?

Chances are I’m just gonna return it and eat the return shipping cost, and count it as a “live and learn” moment. I was so excited to have an easier solution to my winter watering I didn’t read the fine print well enough.

My new plan is to get a heavy-duty hose cart that is fairly compact and on wheels. Something like this maybe from Northern Tool. Then with my big troughs, I’ll just use my normal hose, then roll it up on the cart, and push it in the basement.

It isn’t perfect, but it might be my best option.

If you have any hot ideas about how to get water from my house down to my animals please comment below! I am very open to suggestions.

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filling a bucket for livestock water rough ad tumble farmhouse

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