Lakes in Winter: Dock De-Icers


Learn more about the do’s and dont’s for Dock De-Icers: 

What is a Dock De-Icer? In an effort to protect permanent docks from ice damage, many property owners use a mechanical/electrical device that keeps ice from freezing around a dock or crib structure. These devices provide an ice free zone by moving water in much the same way as a flowing stream does. If not properly managed or installed these devices can create larger than necessary open water areas and thin ice that are unsafe for recreation during the winter months. These large open water areas can also lead to greater ice damage to a dock during the spring melt.

Lake water temperature and light conditions are altered by dock de-icers, which may have an impact on algae and plant growth, and alter feeding habits of fish and other aquatic organisms.

Key Tips: 

  • When purchasing or replacing a de-icer, choose the smallest size possible to maintain an ice free zone around your dock.
  • Set up your de-icer to form a narrow open water area around your dock (a bubbler device works best with this technique) creating space for ice to expand.
  • If using a circulator type of de-icer, be sure to point it in a vertical direction not at an angle towards the middle of the lake as dangerous thin ice conditions will likely occur that are hard to see.
  • Use a thermostat and timer to run the de-icer device only when air temperature drops below the freezing point and for a few hours a day

Learn more here from the Lake Sunapee Protection Association: Click here to learn more about de-icers!