Originally Posted by Coop de Grass
This sounds like a great set up! Do you have any photos? I would really appreciate it because it sounds like a logical way to deal with cleaning out the water systems.
OK! Here are some photos and more detail about a watering system with Uniseals and PVC Ball Valves for draining purposes. This might be more detail than you were looking for, but I figure if someone else sees this and gets an idea, it would be good to have all the info in one place.
Good reasons to have a drain at the end of a PVC pipe, especially outside, with poultry cups/water nipples include a way to drain the bucket itself without actually touching the bucket or moving anything- if some small debris is clogging the waterers along the way, it can be flushed in a way that just bleeding the cup or nipple cannot accomplish- and my favorite: an easy way to drain that small amount of hot water from the pipe on a hot day so the chickens have access to the much cooler water in the container.
Good reasons to have a drain at the bucket itself include a way to remove water without ever lifting the bucket that is attached to all the PVC pipes. To me this became especially important for the waterer inside the coop- being able to control the draining water is important to keep bedding clean. On a hot day like we had today, being able to drain the warm water into a dump bucket was SO much easier than trying to lift the whole set-up out of the coop and drain it without tweaking anything. This includes my back AND all those waterers, pvc connections etc. Having a ball valve allows you to turn the draining water off, so if you can't lift 5 gallons, you can just drain the amount you can lift, dump it, return, drain etc.
An edit: ** I'm adding one more good reason for both drains, but especially an end of pipe drain for outdoor waterers. Eventually many of us face the winter issue of water freezing. If water freezes in a PVC pipe it will expand and it could crack the pipe or fitting. Empty pipes don't have this problem. If there's a drain at the end of each pipe, you can be sure of emptying the bucket and all the 'arms' without ever lifting the bucket and trying to invert the whole system. **
I like to have both the drain on the end of PVC pipes and at the bucket because the $2.50-$3 per valve installed at the beginning will save lots of awkward bending and lifting later. (learned the hard way)
1st, a Uniseal (backside shown) next to the 1 1/4" hole made with a hole saw. To the left you can see one already in place. No caulk, tape, glue- nothing.
For anyone not familiar with a hole saw, it is an attachment to a regular old drill. Search "1 1/4" hole saw" at Home Depot, Lowes, or Amazon- some say "with arbor" or "with mandrel" - do make sure it has the stem that attaches it to the drill- from the picture you'll see if it comes with the normal hex that fits into the power drill. I don't think I would try and cut this hole by hand.
The bucket hole for Uniseal-- both 1/2" PVC pipe and 3/4" PVC pipe is 1 1/4".
Next picture: Uniseal on the left has the 3/4" pipe that feeds all the poultry cups. Uniseal on the right will become the drain with 1/2" PVC.
For outdoor system drain, I just use a straight piece of PVC and a ball valve. The end that fits into the Uniseal is on the right- no glue, no caulk, no tape, just the pipe.
The piece in my hand is the "1/2 in. PVC Sch. 40 Slip x Slip Ball Valve" -- "Slip x Slip" just means there are no threads inside so the pipe just slides in after it is glued.
I used purple PVC primer and Wet/Dry PVC glue any time I'm connecting PVC pipe to any connector- elbow, ball valve, whatever...
Then I slid the 1/2" pipe side (bare pipe, no glue) into the Uniseal opening, and voila! a bucket drain.
While glue sets, I like to leave the valves open to allow air flow.
Below you can see part of the 3/4" pipes with the same kind of ball valve at the end.
A quick note here- I just happened to have a bunch of 1/2" PVC ball valves hanging around along with the do-dads that allowed me to attach a 3/4" pipe to the smaller, 1/2" ball valve.
The very simplest way to add a drain to the end of a 3/4" PVC pipe is to get a "3/4" in. PVC Sch. 40 Slip x Slip Ball Valve"
The red bowl below is one of those fountain type drinkers. This particular one leaks like nobody's business but I used it while waiting for more poultry cups to come in the mail. Now that they're here, I will convert it to the poultry cups.
Now for the inside waterer:
To me, having a controlled drain inside the coop is more important inside the coop to keep bedding dry.
Pictured below: Supply bucket, left side is the supply line to poultry cups which ends with a blue-handled PVC ball valve. This pipe drain location is temporary while waiting for more cups in the mail- obviously a corner dead ending to a 2x4 isn't a good spot for a pipe drain. A shallow bucket would be needed to catch water draining from the PVC pipe inside the coop- so good for flushing a small amount here and there, but the primary means of cleanout is from the bucket itself. On the right side is the bucket drain. (off-kilter because the bucket was empty for this picture)
For an inside bucket drain, I add a 90 degree elbow to the set-up so the drain is pointed straight down into the dump bucket. This can be done outside too.
Here it is in action:
Anyways- hope that helped, any questions, let me know!
Edited by Shezadandy - 6/6/16 at 9:36pm