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Old 01-20-2022, 08:15 PM   #1
Lakegeezer
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Default Bubblers

It is time for another thread on bubblers. Those that use the frozen lakes for winter activities are increasingly challenged by new docks with bubblers and existing bubblers that are run too hard. Snowmobile water access points, both club and private trails are late to freeze and early to thaw when near aggressive bubblers.

What's required to keep a dock from damage? Can you bubble just a few hours a day to keep the ice weak or is a daily view of open water required.

One bubbler near me keeps about 70 yards of shoreline open. Then, when the big wind storm happened a few days ago, there were whitecaps in the fetch and the hole opened up another 30 yards downwind.

Do tarp curtains, trying to contain the moving water, work?

If you bubble your dock, how do you keep the melted area on your property and what are the strategies early, mid and late season? Are the fans the only way to go or is there an alternative?
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:03 PM   #2
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I am on a very open area and have had poor luck with bubblers. I gave up using them.

You can definitely keep the area around your dock open and free of ice. In the spring, as the ice breaks up, when that 8,000,000,000 pound section of ice that was 200 yards away moves with the wind and hits your dock, all that bubbling didn't help a bit. People in a cove or more sheltered area would have a much better outcome.

I don't know why, there must be some parallel here but it reminded me of a Ron White story:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7Fu-v490-c
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:04 PM   #3
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FLL will tell you about the "noise annoyance" factor!
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:21 PM   #4
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Eventually, there will be so many bubblers, there will be no such thing as ice in, and the water will be so warm, the milfoil will grow all year round.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:26 AM   #5
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It depends. My bubbler turns on 3 or 4 times a day. Temps in the 20s, that's fine. Days like today, it needs to be on longer. I have a camera pointed at my bubbler and can control the times remotely. Those systems cost more than just a basic timer, plus they take a little savvy to install and use.

I'm tired of using a bubbler, you need to keep ice from forming around the piers or the ice will move the dock. The bubbler is good for that. What it doesn't help with is when the ice breaks up and the wind drives it into your dock. That can destroy your dock quickly and the bubbler doesn't help.

Like I said, I'm done with the bubbler, so I'm installing a crank up dock this year. But that is an expensive undertaking and not a viable solution for most people.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:54 PM   #6
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I have had a similar issue, with circulators/bubblers running on either side of me. One often opens up the ice all the way over to my dock, 150-200 feet away. The same thing happens on the other side, with that circulator around 100 feet away. My own dock is crank-up.

I oversee the operation of another pair of circulators elsewhere. What I have done there is to use frequent ON intervals of short duration. Right now, I set eight intervals of 45 minutes each, and it seems to work well for the time. Later, when the weather moderates, I'll cut back the length of each interval, then reduce the number of intervals, relaxing things during daylight.

What works well clearly is a function of location. One protected from large expanses of ice that can be moved by wind, however slowly, won't need as much circulator ON time as, say, a location facing W or NW into the Broads.

In most locations, I do think that spreading out total ON time over more intervals is more effective that few long intervals. In general, once a circulator has opened up the ice around the outer half of a dock, staying on won't gain much. When a circulator is running, it moves water, giving it momentum. The longer the device is on, the more momentum the surrounding water gains. We're not talking fast flows away from the circulator, but the mass involved is enormous. It does take time for the energy given to all that water to dissipate, regardless of how slowly the water is creeping, and movement will continue long after the circulator turns off.

Having short ON intervals, coming every few hours, limits ice reforming to any thickness that has much strength to it. Sure, a layer of ice may reform during the OFF time, but it is quite fragile and easily melted out by the next ON interval. Here is but one of many references that discuss speed of ice formation vs air temperature: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/ice-growth/
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Old 01-22-2022, 07:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Here is but one of many references that discuss speed of ice formation vs air temperature: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/ice-growth/
Thanks DickR. The site you linked is one of the best I've seen on ice and had my interest for several hours. A wealth of info there.
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Old 01-22-2022, 11:31 AM   #8
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Default Bubblers

We also have a camera pointed at our dock which allows adjustments.

Agreed - does not do much for when the ice breaks up - however we are sort of sheltered and the wind is not "normally" in our direction.

Seems like there are 2 different types of bubblers:
1. Sort of a surface bucket type that sit up towards the surface - make lots of noise and one can really see the turbulence
2. One that sits on the bottom that directs warmer water up - quiet - less turbulence - maybe more expensive to run?

We use the 2nd and it seems to work well (we have it towards the end pointing up and back towards the shoreline) but it is critical to have the angle and direction right so it clears the dock and not much more. When it is done right the results are a clear dock with thick ice only feet around the opening.

We use this device - connects to the WiFi and has a phone app that allows you to set almost unlimited ON/OFF times per day or week. Like others have suggested, examine the camera - look at temps - adjust as necessary by turning on and off schedules. Seems to work well and we have never had an issue with the device being over powered by the circulator current.

http://www.etekcity.com/products/sma...utlet-eso15-tb

This is our "Wow it's really cold" schedule aka this weekend. We normally do not have all four scheduled to go on but again we just tweak from what we see in the camera. These devices are not expensive but I suppose if you do not have any WiFi year-round that could be an issue.

We also use the standard outlet and light switch options they offer - can remotely turn on the driveway lights when we are driving up..
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Old 01-22-2022, 01:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 for Boating View Post
We also have a camera pointed at our dock which allows adjustments.

Agreed - does not do much for when the ice breaks up - however we are sort of sheltered and the wind is not "normally" in our direction.

Seems like there are 2 different types of bubblers:

1. Sort of a surface bucket type that sit up towards the surface - make lots of noise and one can really see the turbulence

2. One that sits on the bottom that directs warmer water up - quiet - less turbulence - maybe more expensive to run?

We use the 2nd and it seems to work well (we have it towards the end pointing up and back towards the shoreline) but it is critical to have the angle and direction right so it clears the dock and not much more. When it is done right the results are a clear dock with thick ice only feet around the opening.

We use this device - connects to the WiFi and has a phone app that allows you to set almost unlimited ON/OFF times per day or week. Like others have suggested, examine the camera - look at temps - adjust as necessary by turning on and off schedules. Seems to work well and we have never had an issue with the device being over powered by the circulator current.

http://www.etekcity.com/products/sma...utlet-eso15-tb

This is our "Wow it's really cold" schedule aka this weekend. We normally do not have all four scheduled to go on but again we just tweak from what we see in the camera. These devices are not expensive but I suppose if you do not have any WiFi year-round that could be an issue.

We also use the standard outlet and light switch options they offer - can remotely turn on the driveway lights when we are driving up..
Those Etekcity WiFi outlets are solid! I’ve used several in the past with good performance.


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Old 01-26-2022, 04:34 PM   #10
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Default Bubblers

We use an agitator, not a bubbler. Though I think a bubbler is a much better alternative. We use a thermostat and the bubbler does not run when the temp is above 27 degrees. We also have a web cam monitor the area so we are aware if there is a power outage.
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