Learn how to create a homemade bird bath from a recycled electric hot water heater. This virtually indestructible bird bath will last you for years and years. You can place this bird bath on a pedestal (e.g., terracotta pots) or use as a hanging bird bath.
Birds rely on water for drinking, grooming, and staying cool. During the hot and dry summers days, finding water can be difficult for birds. By placing a bird bath in your yard, you can help birds beat the summer heat. Bird baths are great for attracting bluebirds, chickadees, flickers, house finches, house sparrows, kestrels, nuthatches, owls, purple martins, tree swallows, warblers, woodpeckers and wrens. Start attracting feathered friends to your garden or back yard today.
Where to Place Your Bird Bath.
- Place your bird bath in a sunny spot, where birds flying overhead can easily see it.
- Mount your bird bath at least 3 feet high.
- Keep plants around the base to a minimum so that cats cannot hide waiting to pounce on a bird.
- Place your bird bath on level ground. There should be trees or shrubs nearby where the birds can land. Ideally, place the bird bath where you can view the birds from your window or from your patio.
How deep should the water be in a bird bath?
The ideal bird bath is shallow. Not more than 2 inches (5 cm) deep. It is recommended that you place a few stones in the bird bath so that birds can judge the depth of the water.
How to Create a Homemade Bird Bath from an Electric Water Heater.
With just a little searching, you should be able to easily find a free old “Electric” hot water heater – allowing you to create an inexpensive bird bath. A local plumber or appliance dealer can provide you all the electric water heaters you would ever need!
Do not use a “Gas” water heater for the following reasons.
1. Gas flumes could have entered the tank.
2. The flue goes though the spherical covers – in effect creating large holes.
3. Do not use a tank, if you think anything other than water was ever in it.
Step 1. Remove the covers on both ends.
First remove the screws holding the top and bottom covers.
Next use a chisel, punch, pry bar, or crow bar to remove the covers.
Step 2. Remove the steel case and insulation around the hot water heater.
Use a combination of chisels and pry bars to remove the steel shell and insulation around
the water heater.
Step 3. Remove the bottom.
Safety Note: Do NOT use a tank, if you think anything other than water was ever in it. The tank could explode if flammable gases were ever stored inside. Smell the tank before cutting. If there are any suspicious smells – do not continue. As an extra level of security, fill the tank completely with water before cutting. If you completely fill the tank with water, the tank should not explode – even if a flammable gas was stored inside.
Use a an angle grinder with a “cutting wheel” to remove the bottom. This is only a “rough” cut.
Step 4. Create a “finishing” cut.
Use an angle grinder to create a finishing cut just above the circular bottom (spherical cap). By creating the “rough” cut earlier, you should now be able to clearly see where you are cutting in relation to the spherical bowl.
Step 5. Smooth the edges.
Next use an angle grinder with a “grinding wheel” to smooth the edges.
Step 6. Optionally Drill Holes.
To create a hanging bird bath, drill three holes (equally spaced apart).
Step 7. Optionally paint your new bird bath.
Optionally paint your new bird bath. Keep in mind that birds are attracted to bright colors. So feel free to paint your bird bath with bright shades of red, yellow, blue, etc.
Step 8. Enjoy your bird bath for years to come.
You can place your new bird bath on a pedestal or use as a hanging bird bath. Your virtually indestructible bird bath will last for years and years. Because of the spherical shape, even freezing water will not damage your bird bath.
I created my first bird bath from a hot water heater over 20 years ago. It still looks just like the day I made it. You can easily add a solar powered fountain or bird bath heater to this design.
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