Silly question... do horizontal nipples let air into the pipe or tank?

SteveE

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May 2, 2020
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To help make a low power low temp non freezing water system I may stick an aquarium heater in a horizontal run of PVC with horizontal water nipples. I've decided to use a rectangular cooler for a tank so the pipe with the nipples can make 90 deg bend and be tucked right up against the side of the cooler. Add a shop made outter box to keep away the weather and a few inches of extra insulation. Of course the nipples in the pipe will still be exposed, but as much as can be wrapped up with extra insulation will be. So I'll have this horizontal pipe with a low power heater. (There may be another heater in the tank itself.)

Here's the present design challenge.... If that length of pipe is at the same level (or lower) than the tap into the tank reservoir, warm water will exit the pipe to rise in the tank, and cold bottom water from the tank will replace it. If I use enough power I can warm the water enough to not worry about it. And maybe a pump for circulation would help. I'm exploring another way with just one or two lower power heaters. If I can trap the warmed water in the tube with the nipples, it will get really warm since its a small volume. In theory that should ensure the nipples won't freeze up. To trap the water, I could simply rotate that 90 deg fitting 45 degrees and add a 45 deg fitting to turn the pipe horizontal again. Likes this, pardon my lousy art.
chickenscratch.jpg

In theory that's looking good for trapping the warmed water where I want it.

BUT..... as the girls peck at the nipples, should I expect an air pocket to form in that pipe? That might kill this idea and send me back to thinking of higher power heaters and/or mechanical circulation.

Thanks for thoughts
 

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cavemanrich

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I understand what you are trying to accomplish. I also understand the airlock possibility. That can be eliminated by installing a small tube that would connect back into supply tank. That small tube would not allow much flow, but air would escape if it was trapped.
All that sounds like a complex way to achieve,,,(with multiple places to spring leaks):idunno,,,But I see a much simpler way.
If your chickens are already used to using horizontal nipples, construct your waterer from a 5 gallon bucket with cover. Get NEW bucket, and install 3 nipples on the side. Place them about 2 to 3 inches from bottom. Elevate the bucket on some blocks so nipples are at correct height for chickens to drink from.

Insulate bucket best you can, and install your aquarium heater inside. The insulation will prevent water inside from freezing, and the low wattage aquarium heater should be able to maintain the above freezing temps inside bucket.
You can use a stock tank heater, inside bucket, but those usually come in high wattage sizes. They are supposed to only maintain water from freezing, and turn off with built in thermostat. I have not used a stock tank heater, so no recommendations for one that would be for a small volume, like 5 gallons.
I recall @aart has a setup waterer using on aquarium heater. and worked well.
Maybe can share some pictures , and advice on that one.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and:welcome
 

aart

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The first issue I see here is putting an aquarium heater in the horizontal pipe,
aq heaters need to be fully covered with water at all times or they'll fry,
good chance that could happen with what you propose.

Pipe systems needed heated water and circulation.

I dinked around with pipe system ideas for quite awhile, finally conceding to KISS.
Popped some HN's into a jug with a large enough neck to accept the aq heater for winter.
After a first fail due to a cheap heater, it's worked flawlessy for about 5 years now.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/aarts-heated-waterer-with-horizontal-nipples.67256/
 

U_Stormcrow

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A closed loop system would do what you propose, and moving water, due to its kinetic energy, freezes at a lower effective temperature than does standing water because the whole of the water volume has to be brought to freezing, not just the surface. That would allow you to put the heater in the main reservoir and use just a small submersible pump to drive warmed water thru the loop. Which would also help to prevent any air let into the system from causing problems (though I think those concerns are overblown, since the reservoir itself should be vented.

Basically, tank, two bulkheads. Piping that connects one bulkhead to the other, on which nipples are attached. Tiny pump directs flow into one pipe, heater located any convenient place.
 

aart

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A closed loop system would do what you propose, and moving water, due to its kinetic energy, freezes at a lower effective temperature than does standing water because the whole of the water volume has to be brought to freezing, not just the surface. That would allow you to put the heater in the main reservoir and use just a small submersible pump to drive warmed water thru the loop. Which would also help to prevent any air let into the system from causing problems (though I think those concerns are overblown, since the reservoir itself should be vented.

Basically, tank, two bulkheads. Piping that connects one bulkhead to the other, on which nipples are attached. Tiny pump directs flow into one pipe, heater located any convenient place.
Not really a closed loop, need a 'vacuum breaking'(open hole up top) vent for nipples to work.
Depending on type of heater, it can't just go anywhere.
 

U_Stormcrow

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All good, worthy of repetition.

on the subject, anyone have any experience attaching horizontal nipples to PEX? Pro: PEX isn't damaged by freezing cycles, unlike PVC. Con: PEX substantially more expensive than PVC per foot of length (though at these lengths, its not prohibitive), and degrades in sunlight.
 

aart

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on the subject, anyone have any experience attaching horizontal nipples to PEX? Pro: PEX isn't damaged by freezing cycles, unlike PVC. Con: PEX substantially more expensive than PVC per foot of length (though at these lengths, its not prohibitive), and degrades in sunlight.
Might be better in a new thread ;)
Link here or tag me, I have some thoughts.
 

SteveE

Songster
May 2, 2020
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Central PA
I dinked around with pipe system ideas for quite awhile, finally conceding to KISS.
Popped some HN's into a jug with a large enough neck to accept the aq heater for winter.
After a first fail due to a cheap heater, it's worked flawlessy for about 5 years now.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/aarts-heated-waterer-with-horizontal-nipples.67256/

Makes sense, thanks!

MORE COFFEE!!!
Speaking of bulkhead fittings and circulation pumps, just hook me up to he pot!
 

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