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Splashy Spotlight: Bearon Aquatics - PowerHouse Ice Eater Review

Bearon Aquatics is the new home of the Power House Ice Eater, and the high-quality dock de-icer keeps getting better! Read our Ice Eater Review so that you can see our experiences with using it to keep our docks protected when freezing temperatures arrive.

Bearon has been manufacturing the Ice Eater for over 40 years, so you know that they have a quality product. The Bearon Aquatics Ice Eater features a Venturi shroud that combines with a reliable 1/4 hp, 1/2 hp, 3/4 hp, or 1 hp ice eater motor to keep your dock protected more efficiently than other brands. We have been using dock de-icers for about 30 years with the Ice Eater being our favorite. We couldn't give it any higher of a recommendation and we will tell you more about why as you read on.

We are going to give you an overall ice eater review and give you some history behind the Ice Eater.  We want you to know all about the Bearon Aquatics - Power House Ice Eater and how it is become what many consider the best dock de-icer on the market. 

Our Ice Eater Experience

 We have used PowerHouse Ice Eaters for many years on our docks at the Lake of the Ozarks. The lake does not completely freeze over across the main channel every year, but most years you will find ice in coves. Even if the bigger coves don't freeze over, the coves that have shallow water or that are more shaded from the sun will.

When the lake freezes over, it is best to be fully prepared. I have seen ice do some tremendous damage to docks, and the cost of repairs can get unbelievably high. Sometimes docks even have to be completely rebuilt!

Using an Ice Eater at 'The Lake'

Docks on the Lake of the Ozarks float on the water. They are attached to land via an access ramp or gangway and cables. Some docks have mud poles for extra support, but most do not. While mud poles are helpful in normal conditions, they can be a nightmare when a deep freeze shows up and the lake level is also lowered via the Bagnell Dam by area electric company, AmerenUE. They operate and control the dam and the water levels to produce electricity.

The double-whammy of deep freeze conditions is that not only will the ice wreck docks, but the frigid temperatures will require people to run their heaters more often at home. This creates a higher demand for more electricity, which requires the need for water flow through the dam to create that electricity.

The unfortunate side effect of running water through the dam is that, of course, lake levels will go down quickly. That is when iced-in docks can really get damaged. Snapped cables, crushed dock floats, twisted roof supports, broken walkways, and even total losses. When it gets bad, it can get really bad.

Frozen Dock at the Lake of the Ozarks - Courtesy of KOMU TV

Since the docks are floating, the most often used dock de-icer or ice eater setup is using the included mooring ropes. Ropes are most often attached to both sides of the ice eater on the top end. They are then attached to either side of a dock well that will often have the boat still in it; either on a hoist or sitting in the water. 

The Ice Eater will then be located in the middle of the well a few feet below the water's surface. A third mooring rope is sometimes used if you want to slightly angle the ice eater shroud. This will create more of an oval shape as you angle it more. This can allow you to open up a longer, but narrower area. 

You can see in this article that in 2021 homeowners were arriving at their Lake of the Ozarks vacation homes for Memorial Day Weekend, the official start of summer. Much to their chagrin, they were just finding out that they had damage to their docks.

How Does the Ice Eater Work?

The Ice Eater features a motor and propeller that thrusts warmer water from deeper below the surface up through a shroud and to the surface. This warmer water will melt existing ice and keep an area open around your dock. Depending on the model it can open up a circle with a 20 ft - 80 ft diameter. 

We found the PowerHouse Ice Eater to be highly effective and the aforementioned set up was not difficult at all. We have used and seen some other dock de-icers used with varying levels of success. After dozens of years of combined experience, PowerHouse Ice Eaters are our go to choice when protecting our docks from ice damage.

The Bearon Aquatics - PowerHouse Ice Eater doesn't waste any time getting to work either. If you have existing ice you can break a hole in the ice, attach mooring ropes, and lower the ice eater down into the water. Plug it in and watch the ice eater go to work. It won't take long for you to see the ice start melting. It can be downright amazing to see how quickly an opening can be created.

Ice Eater Mounts and Accessories

If you find that a dock mount is better for your situation, the ice eater dock mount is a great option. You can easily adjust the ice eater up and down to your desired depth and setup is not difficult and only requires common tools. If you need to create more of an oval shape water opening with a horizontal water flow, a dock mount will often be the preferred mount.

Not all de-icing solutions are the same. You may have to consider water flow, changing water levels, prevailing winds, and if there are any obstructions underwater. Sometimes the natural terrain can alter the course of the water or you could have a crappie bed, logs, or other debris that can get in the way. Most people don't have a problem with underwater obstructions, but it is something to think about. 

For our own personal dock we normally manually turn the ice eater on and off as needed. If you are protecting a dock at a vacation home, or just want something more convenient, then a thermostat or timer is a great option.

Thermostats are best if you are going to be away from your dock. (They are oftentimes the best option if you are going to be around also.) That way you can set it to only turn on once the temperature hits 32 degrees, or whatever temperature you want, and you will be able to conserve energy.

Timers work best when you are going to be around to adjust the settings if need be or if your situation were to dictate that you only needed to run it at night. Personally, we have found the thermostat to be the better and more convenient option.

When Should You Have Your Ice Eater in Place?

When you need to have your Ice Eater ready to go is of course determined by the weather and geographical location. In the northeast United States, we have customers that start getting ready as soon as September or October. Here in the midwest, there can be more variance. Sometimes we will start seeing ice in December, other years it can take until January or February for the temperatures to really drop.

It is always better to be prepared and get the ice eater in place and tested with time to spare before the water starts freezing. This will give you time to make any corrections or adjustments and make sure that you are prepared when the time comes. As we mentioned earlier, you can normally break through the ice and get your ice eater in the water; but will damage already be done? That is a question I don't want to find out the answer to!

Dock Ice Damage at the Lake of the Ozarks

Who Uses Ice Eaters?

Most of our customers are homeowners looking to protect their dock and boat with 1 to 3 Ice Eaters. However, coming in a close second is owners/operators of marinas. Sometimes a marina will require dozens of ice eaters to keep everything protected. Seeing all of those ice eaters working together is an impressive sight!

Another group of our ice eater customers is made up of owners/operators of piers or community docks. If there is a lake that is part of a community, subdivision, etc there may be a dock or pier that needs to be protected. When you have something that is used by an entire community it is extra important to make sure nothing is damaged. A lot of people can be inconvenienced, and they will be inclined to voice their displeasure!

We also have some customers that use their ice eaters in the spring, summer, and fall. That's right, there are other uses for the ice eater also. You can use it to keep muck, algae, and debris away from your dock or divert it away from any area. The dock mount works best in this situation as you will be wanting horizontal water flow.

You can check out our handy infographic for more information on the how's, why's, and when of ice eaters and dock ice protection. Recently Bearon Aquatics has introduced the new Weeds Away water circulator. It is similar to an ice eater but designed specifically for the removal of weeds, muck, silt, and other debris. We have started using the weeds away on a large pond and you can look for a future review from us in the future.

A slightly different demographic that uses the PowerHouse Ice Eater is duck hunters. Ice eaters do a great job of keeping a pond's water from freezing so that ducks have a place to land. A duck will fly right past a frozen lake, but if you can have the only open water around the ducks can flock to it. A dock mount or a stand that can be placed in the water are the most popular mounts for duck hunting.

Bearon Aquatics - PowerHouse Ice Eater History

Power House received the patent for their Ice Eater over 40 years ago. The first Ice Eater was 1/3 Hp and drew 11.5 amps. By comparison, today's P1000 1Hp Ice Eater runs at 7 amps.

It was originally created for the same reason many use it today; an insurance policy against dock ice damage. Why risk expensive damages, repairs that take longer than you want, and not getting to have a functioning dock when the weather starts getting nice? Dock repair companies will be backed up and you might miss an entire summer, I have seen it happen.

As PowerHouse Ice Eater use began to grow across the upper United States, the way people handled boats in the winter changed. With the ability to keep areas of water open and keep damage from happening to docks and boats, boat owners and harbor masters could now leave boats in the water over winter. This was a complete change for the boating industry. 

After equipping the ice eater with a floatation collar and using it to stop a fish kill in the Chesapeake Bay, Power House began manufacturing their first surface aerator in the late 1980s and then fountains in 2012. Both products are directly inspired by the ice eater.

After the beloved owner and founder John Blumenthal passed away in 2017, Power House was acquired by Bearon Manufacturing and renamed Bearon Aquatics. Bearon has been making key components of the ice eater for years so this was a natural and seamless transition.

What is the Difference in Ice Eater Models?

The Bearon Aquatics PowerHouse Ice Eater has 4 models: The P1000 (1 Hp Ice Eater), P750 (3/4 Hp Ice Eater, P500 (1/2 Hp Ice Eater), and P250 (1/4 Hp Ice Eater). Which one is right for you depends on the weather conditions, water conditions, and size of the area that you need to keep ice-free. Another thing to consider is that the higher the horsepower, the more electricity that you will use.

Under normal conditions, the P1000 can keep up to an 80 ft diameter circle open, while the P250 will keep 20-25 feet open. Estimate the area that you need to keep open and then add a little comfort room. When temperatures become extreme the ice eater won't be as effective. It will still keep water from freezing, but not as well as it does under normal freezing conditions. All Bearon Aquatics - PowerHouse Ice Eater also comes with a 3-Year Warranty.

Bearon Aquatics PowerHouse Ice Eater Performance Chart

 Ice Eater Review Final Thoughts

We have been using the Bearon Aquatics - PowerHouse Ice Eater for years and don't have any plans to change. While we also use other models, this ice eater is our number one, go-to for dock ice protection. There is no substitute for experience, and we have a lot of experience with all dock de-icers. The PowerHouse Ice Eater is better in just about every category. 

On top of the high-quality design and top-notch performance, you will also get great customer service from Bearon Aquatics. They have service centers across the country to help serve you better. We have always gotten quick and reliable answers and they have a very helpful staff. The Ice Eater also comes with a 3-Year Warranty.

If you have a need for dock ice protection we could not recommend the PowerHouse Ice Eater any higher. Please contact us; with any questions, we would be happy to help. If you would like to buy an ice eater you can click here to see the selection or click here to see replacement motors, dock mount, and accessories.

You can download the article here: Download

You can download the infographic here: Infographic

You can download the brochure here: Brochure

Helpful Ice Eater Resources:

What Do Others Have to Say About the Ice Eater?

Bearon Aquatics - Power House Ice Eater Reviews

 


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