Is Frost Dangerous For An Ibc Water Tank?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:25 pm

Is frost dangerous for an IBC water tank? Winter is approaching and with it frost and cold. It is slowly time to empty the rain collectors and make them winter-proof.

But do you actually have to empty IBC water tanks in winter or can you store the valuable rainwater until next spring?

Is Frost Dangerous For An Ibc Water Tank?

What are the options to secure the IBC tank against heavy frost? These and many other answers to this exciting topic, you will learn in this article and thus save your IBC water tank from frost damage. Promise. Let’s go!

Is frost dangerous for an IBC water tank?

Yes, frost is dangerous for an IBC water tank. It can be damaged by frost to such an extent that it cracks and leaks. If you want to be safe in winter, you should keep a close eye on the IBC water tank when temperatures are permanently below zero.

A damaged IBC water tank is often not easy to repair and must be replaced in case of doubt at a not inconsiderable cost.

Why is frost dangerous for an IBC water tank?

Freezing water has the property to expand. If the IBC tank is filled with rainwater and the first heavy night frosts occur, the water can freeze and expand.

This can cause significant damage to the shell of the IBC tank. Fine cracks may appear, rendering the IBC water tank unusable. In the worst case, the IBC tank can no longer be used as a rain collector.
There are several ways to protect an IBC water tank from frost. This allows the collected water to be stored during the winter and then used again in the garden in the spring.

Before choosing a product that protects the IBC water tank from frost. Should think about what low temperatures are expected in the winter. Electric heating mats, for example, protect even during severe night frosts, whereas thermal hoods provide protection only against light to moderate frosts.

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When should you empty an IBC water tank?

If you do not take any protective measures against frost, you should empty an IBC water tank in late autumn. At the latest when the first light night frosts appear, you should prepare the rain collectors in the garden and in the property for the winter. In this way you can be sure that no costly damage will be caused by freezing water.

To do this, simply drain or pump out the IBC container. If you have an underground cistern, you can pump the rainwater into it. The last summers were very dry and one should also store the collected water in autumn, if it is possible.

After draining the water, it is a good idea to clean the IBC tank. For this purpose, you can use a high-pressure cleaner. Use the lance to rinse out the inside of the tank and remove any organic debris.
You should always set the drain cock to open and tilt the tank so that no rainwater remains inside. You should also wash out the inlet filters and remove any dirt. Now the IBC water tank can be covered with a sturdy tarpaulin, which is secured by cords. Now the IBC tank is ready for the winter.

Insulate IBC container

To protect an IBC container from frost, you can insulate it. For this purpose, you can take insulation material, which is used in the construction of houses or use polystyrene sheets.

An IBC container protected with insulation can survive light frosts well without the water inside freezing. If possible, the container should be placed as close as possible to a house wall to get some of the radiant heat from the building.

Insulation protection is good for light to moderate frosts.

IBC Tank Heating

Heating jackets
Heating jackets for IBC tanks are mostly reserved for the industry. Since their purchase is not quite cheap. If you decide to use a heating jacket privately, you could choose the HM 4 heating jacket. Heating mats However, there are also cheaper alternatives. Heating mats for IBC tanks also offer the comfort of protecting the water from freezing in winter. The difference to the heating jacket is that the heating mat is placed under the IBC tank and the water is heated from below.

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Heating mats e.g. the REKUBIK IBC Bottom Heating Mat IP54 and heating jackets reliably protect IBC water tanks even against heavy night frosts.

IBC thermal hood

A thermal hood is an excellent way to protect an IBC container from freezing. Not only do thermal hoods look smart, they also withstand adverse weather conditions and protect rainwater from freezing.

In summer, a thermal hood protects the collected rainwater from algae growth. A thermal hood also reliably keeps out dirt and moisture.

It can be easily put over and all functions, such as draining the water, reading the water level and emptying the tank are still possible despite the installation.

IBC water tank

An IBC water tank provides ample volume to collect rainwater. Typically made of compacted polyethylene, plastic water tanks are very sturdy and are commercially available starting at 300 liters*.

However, most IBC water tanks hold 1000 liters of rainwater. Either they are placed on steel or wooden pallets. Since steel is more durable and lighter than wood, you should choose an IBC water tank on steel pallet*.

Weak point outlet tap

Despite their robustness, IBC water tanks are not frost-proof. Without protective measures, you should empty the IBC water tank in the fall and leave the spigot in the open position.

Although an IBC tank provides plenty of space for freezing rainwater to expand in winter (Usually only the water surface freezes due to the large capacity.), the outlet tap is a weak point.

Often directly in the tap the water freezes (especially on the sealing ring) and the spout breaks. If you open it and let it dry out in winter, you avoid potential damage.

Beautify IBC container

A “naked” IBC container in the garden is not really an ornament. For those who want to beautify their rain collectors, there are countless ways to do so.
There are no limits to creativity. You can paint them with waterproof paint, stick them with foils or, depending on your mood, cover them with wood or reeds*. If you are short of time, you can also order printed protective covers; these have the advantage of protecting the water against the sun’s UV rays.

If you are a bit handy, you can also clad your IBC container with wood yourself.

IBC Container Cover UV Protection

Besides frost, heat is also problematic: If the water heats up too much, there is a risk that the water will tip over. Unpleasant bacteria multiply and the water smells foul – it becomes unusable. All this can be avoided with an IBC Cover UV protection.

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In general, IBC containers should be placed in the shade and near a wall if possible. There the containers are protected against cold in winter. In summer against strong sunlight.

If you do not have a shady place for an IBC water tank, you should protect it with a UV cover e.g. the REKUBIK IBC Cover UV protection* or cover it with a white tarpaulin. Otherwise, the water may tip over after a short time and start to stink.

IBC Container Accessories

There is a wide range of accessories

for IBC water tanks. Every garden and home owner should choose these accessories according to their needs and purpose of use.

It is important to choose high quality materials. IBC water tanks are exposed to the weather all year round and the material is subject to high temperature fluctuations. I had bought a very “cheap” ball valve for my IBC water tank. This lasted a whole 4 months 🙂
Ball valve for IBC water tanks
To drain the water from an IBC water tank you can use a ball valve or a butterfly valve. Neither of these are frost proof. A ball valve has the advantage that you can adjust the amount of water that is discharged. It is easy to install. .


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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