Drain Back River System

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Blavidais

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Ok, so, I am 90% finished with a drain back set up; but the dang bleeder orifice valves DO NOT work. They trickle, but don’t really jet out unless I hit them or bang on the pipe—not something im gonna be down there doing. The only reason I can guess they aren’t working is because of the weight/volume/pressure of the water in the line. So let me back up.

My run is approximately 300 feet from the water tank down to the submersible pump in the river. This 300’ distance has an elevation of about 44’ (head). The line is perfectly sloped from the tank all the way down to the pump in the river, I used a sight level and fastened the waterline to trees all the way down to keep it pitched.

I know there is a alternate spring loaded version of these bleeder orifices as opposed to the ball bearing, but they have a 10 psi threshold and the weight of 300’ of water in a 1” pipe with 44’ head will constantly be around double that so it won’t open.

What can I do!? It’s also worth mentioning that ideally my pump should be at a 45° angle but I did also try the pump vertical to see if the bleeder orifices would work but they still didn’t really.

I am no plumber or well designer or pump person whatsoever and I myself have envisioned a design for a valve that would work in this scenario with a Y and little flap with a lip on a hinge that would divert the water back into the river when the pump stopped and pressure was reversed; hard to believe one doesn’t exist?

There is a company that designs cottage water systems that has some type of proprietary diverter valve, yet they wont sell it without their full system which is crazy because theyd likely make a killing since these apparently don’t exist otherwise.

Does anybody have any thoughts for the situation?
I am right down to the wire in Maine here and I fear I will be without water this Winter.

Drainage is the only roadblock in front of me right now I have everything else completely ready to go with heat tape and everything.

Is there a valve company that I could call to make this based on my design idea? Grasping at straws

HALP!
 

Reach4

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I am skeptical of various aspects, but you say that others have similar systems.
Some things come to mind for the bleeder:
1. just a hole. Yes, there would be considerable flow while the pump is running.
2. Normally Open 1/2" NPT AC220V-240V Electric Solenoid Valve for Gas Water Air. The solenoid would be powered by pump power.
 

Blavidais

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I am skeptical of various aspects, but you say that others have similar systems.
Some things come to mind for the bleeder:
1. just a hole. Yes, there would be considerable flow while the pump is running.
2. Normally Open 1/2" NPT AC220V-240V Electric Solenoid Valve for Gas Water Air. The solenoid would be powered by pump power.
Both sound doable! If I removed the ball bearings from the bleeder I would still probably get enough flow to fill the pressure tank that makes sense..

The normally open solenoid sounds brilliant! However my system is 120v, do they make one?? This would be amazing. Just not sure how I would wire it.

You say various aspects sound skeptical could you elaborate?

My system is a 120v submersible jet pump, two inline bleeders to 1” poly pipe 300’ uphill to a

Drip Depot Kinetic 3/4" MPT Air Vent Vacuum Relief Valve, into check valve, into tank T fit into 85 gallon Waterworker diaphragm tank. The tank will be fed into my cabin and rinai propane on demand heater.


The bottom at the river has 30’ self regulating heat cable to keep the line from freezing that goes over and around the bleeder valves to the pumps head, this is mostly to prevent the submerged section from freezing as the surface water of the river can freeze despite swift movement.

does anything else seem out if place? I am a bit skeptical that some air won’t make its way past the check valve into the bladder over time, I don’t know how that will affect performance and anticipate that being an issue but again I have zero experience this is my first time
 

Valveman

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The bleeders with the brass ball have the same 23' height requirement. 44' of head would be too much for the ball type as well. However, all you have to do is put in a couple at different heights. Installing one at 22' down and another at 44' would work. The upper bleeder drains to 22' and the second bleeder now only has 22' of head and will open. The balls apparently have to be installed fairly vertical, which is the way I have done it. But I don't thing the Flomatic with the spring instead of a ball will care about orientation. Might want to install 3 of them so they are not at max head.

You could leave the ball out of a bleeder or just drill a hole in the pipe. But a small hole has a tendency of clogging the same way holes in your shower head clog. The high pressure causes minerals to come out of solution and grow the hole close. Doesn't happen when just draining from atmospheric pressure.
 

Blavidais

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The bleeders with the brass ball have the same 23' height requirement. 44' of head would be too much for the ball type as well. However, all you have to do is put in a couple at different heights. Installing one at 22' down and another at 44' would work. The upper bleeder drains to 22' and the second bleeder now only has 22' of head and will open. The balls apparently have to be installed fairly vertical, which is the way I have done it. But I don't thing the Flomatic with the spring instead of a ball will care about orientation. Might want to install 3 of them so they are not at max head.

You could leave the ball out of a bleeder or just drill a hole in the pipe. But a small hole has a tendency of clogging the same way holes in your shower head clog. The high pressure causes minerals to come out of solution and grow the hole close. Doesn't happen when just draining from atmospheric pressure.
I wasnt aware of the 23’ limitation now that makes sense. The only problem that comes to mind with mid-line installation is that the little hole could ice over in the winter, maybe not, but I don’t want to use energy to install it and have it not work out and learn the hard way.
 
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Blavidais

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I also hung the line in the trees already so it would be difficult to install midline bleeder now
 
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Reach4

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1. 120 vac waterproof solenoid valves are probably more available than 240. I have no experience with them, and just searched.
2. You would wire the coil in parallel with the power to your 2-wire pump.
3. either your drain back port is in the heated area or it is below the freeze line. You will not be able to get the water to drain below the river level. So you will be supplying heat for the area somewhat higher than the river, and down to the maximum freeze depth. I presume you will insulate too.

4. I could envision a system where once the air had entered upstream of the snifter valve, that you would blow an amount of air into the pipe under pressure. The purpose would be to empty the pipe of water below the water surface. I have not worked out how to implement this idea-- it is an idea. And to fight air dissolving into the water in the pipe, maybe you would maintain a lower air flow continuously when the water pump was off.
 
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Reach4

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I don't know how it would work, but I expect if you rotated the side view CCW by maybe 30 degrees, it has a better chance. That way gravity tries to open the swinger when there is less pressure.

Another possibility would be to remove the check valve in the pump. Pump turns off, pump rotates backwards. I think the damage would come if the pump was rotating backwards when the pump started. Typically there would be an off time for the pump as the water fell. Just another idea. I am really just throwing ideas out there with no experience to back them up. But if your pump was easy enough to change out, this one would seem to have some merit. Still need heat in the freeze zone where the pipe will not be empty of water.
 

Blavidais

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I don't know how it would work, but I expect if you rotated the side view CCW by maybe 30 degrees, it has a better chance. That way gravity tries to open the swinger when there is less pressure.

Another possibility would be to remove the check valve in the pump. Pump turns off, pump rotates backwards. I think the damage would come if the pump was rotating backwards when the pump started. Typically there would be an off time for the pump as the water fell. Just another idea. I am really just throwing ideas out there with no experience to back them up. But if your pump was easy enough to change out, this one would seem to have some merit. Still need heat in the freeze zone where the pipe will not be empty of water.
I like ideas, vision is the precursor to creation. I mean if it works as designed, as a swing check valve, it should work! Gonna test it tomorrow
 

Reach4

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Under what condition do you envision the swing check valve to open?

I presume that would tee off at the pump. and one port would be open to the river water (other than some possible debris screen).
 

Blavidais

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Under what condition do you envision the swing check valve to open?

I presume that would tee off at the pump. and one port would be open to the river water (other than some possible debris screen).
Ok so I will test that tomorrow but what do you think about the air/vacuum relief valve at the top just before the check valve to the T. Do you think that will work properly or will air slowly slip past and accumulate in the bladder? If it will, how would I purge it periodically if at all?
 

Reach4

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The system you envision will generate a lot of air. You would need a way to be rid of that air.

Classically that is done with a big tank with no bladder/diaphragm. A valve releases excess air (ARV). I guess I could see another method where the big charge of air coming up would be released before the topside check valve, and that release would close when water arrived. I don't know if that is a product.

But somehow, you will need to deal with the big slug of air that comes up each time the pump starts.
 

Blavidais

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The system you envision will generate a lot of air. You would need a way to be rid of that air.

Classically that is done with a big tank with no bladder/diaphragm. A valve releases excess air (ARV). I guess I could see another method where the big charge of air coming up would be released before the topside check valve, and that release would close when water arrived. I don't know if that is a product.

But somehow, you will need to deal with the big slug of air that comes up each time the pump starts.
Oh yes I worked that out with Valveman already; he was very helpful. The air vent/vacuum relief valve takes care of that before the topside check valve, lets air out on the way up and allows air back in to drain the water out. I am just wondering if this will work flawlessly or if little bits of air might slip past the vent valve and check valve and get into the bladder, small amounts over time I mean. I guess theres not way of knowing without trying. But IF air does build up in the bladder over time, I don't know what to do about that. Thats what im inquiring about
 
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