+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Frozen Float Box Solutions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    34

    Default Frozen Float Box Solutions

    So I've got a 2x6 waterloo set up, with one floatbox on the flue pan to regulate the flow into the pans from the tank, we've boiled twice this year and the second time I went to boil, due to the cold weather the float box was frozen solid. After about an hour I had it thawed out enough to get the chunk of ice out. Anyway, with the cold weather we seem to be having this is going to be happening a bunch it would seem. There's really no good way to drain the float box, and I can't light up till it's de iced because the pans will thaw out way before it and I won't be able to get sap in. So I've got two ideas (and am open to others) and want to know what everyone thinks would be best. Like to keep this as inexpensive as possible also...

    1) Stock tank heater: found one for 48.99 that is thermostatically controlled to keep up to 25 gal. from freezing, figure i could just throw that in at the end of the night kinda like a block heater, and I'd be set the next time I go to boil. The catch is that the heater isn't rated as being food grade, however I figure its for horses water tanks so it shouldn't be to toxic right?

    2) Heat Lamp: Was also thinking I could get one of those heat lamps like what is used for chickens and just clamp it onto the side of the float box every night and leave it on. Problem I see with that is that I don't know if it would either a) keep it from freezing or b) get the sap to warm and facilitate bacteria

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lyman, NH
    Posts
    2,311

    Default

    When I have a frozen float box, I just fill a 5 gallon pail with fresh sap and fire up the evaporator. Once it starts boiling, I just dipper hot sap into the float box to thaw it out. You may need to dump some of the raw sap in in case the evaporator needs sap before things are thawed out.
    2012: Probably 750 gravity taps and 50 buckets.

    600 gal stainless milk tank.
    2 - 100 gallon stock tanks
    one 30 gal barrel
    50 buckets

    3' x 10' Waterloo Raised Flue wood fired evaporator w/ open pans.

    12" x 20" Filter Canner

    Sawmill next to sugarhouse solves my sugarwood problem

    Gather with GMC 3500 2wd Pickup w/ 425 gallon Plastic Tank.

    Been tapping here in Lyman NH since 1989 but I've been sugaring since 8 years old in 1968.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Northville
    Posts
    328

    Default

    Boil some water and then pour it into your float or completely drain your back pan into a barrel and then when to boil,put it back in your evaporator,probably won't be more than10-15 gal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    westfield ma
    Posts
    438

    Default

    I do the same as perryw, and it works well. just keep an eye on it with some raw sap in a bucket.
    2x6 leader WSE with AUF, hood,preheater
    waterguy RO
    leader 16 gal custom water jacketed canner
    10 in short stack wes fab filter press
    540 taps on tubing with vac & always adding
    2- benders running 25" hg from GAST vac pumps
    few stainless bulk tanks
    1978 chevy 1 ton 4x4 dually
    IH T340 dozer with 6-way blade

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    northfield, CT
    Posts
    1,526

    Default

    At end of the previous boil I always overfill the flue pan about 2 to 3 inches, when I start the fire the next boil the float box is melted well before the evaporator needs sap.
    11x29 sugarhouse
    2x8 airtight arch homemade with waterloo flue pan, welded syrup pan and parallel flow preheater hood
    250gph cdl ro
    1100+ taps for 2014, approx 1000 of them vac
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crowh...5582993?ref=hl

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Lake County Ohio
    Posts
    1,306

    Default

    Same here. When I'm finished, I flood the flue pan with about 2" and the syrup pan with an addition 1". Some of that will steam off during the night as the rig cools off, what's left gives me a cushion next time I fire - and undoubtedly forget to open some valves....
    John Allin

    14x18 Hemlock Timber Frame Sugar House 2009
    Leader 2x6 w/Patriot Raised Flue Pan 2009
    Leader Steam Hood 2014 - Clear Filter Press 2015
    Leader Revolution Pan and SS Pre-Heater 2016
    CDL Hobby RO & Air Tech L25 Hi Vac Pump 2019
    06' Gator HPX to collect wood & sap
    14' Ski-Doo Tundra for winter work in the woods
    Great Family 3 grown kids+spouses and 7 grand kids who like the woods
    7th Gen Born in Canada - Raised in Chardon Ohio - Maple Capital of the World..<grin>.

  7. #7
    lpakiz Guest

    Default

    Last year I used a 500 watt halogen work light shining on the bottom of the float box.
    I have another idea this year. Our coffee pot carafe broke, so for 16.99 I bought a new coffee maker. I took the heater element out of the old one, thinking if it kept the coffee warm, it would thaw a float box. I rigged up a couple of brackets to keep it under the float box. I havn't tried it yet, so I can't say for sure if it will work. It is 600 watts, with a thermostat on it to control the heat.
    On another note, the element is fused to a 3/8 diameter aluminum coil, which is what boils the water to make the coffee, and I wondered if 600 watts would be sufficient to pre-heat sap??? As long as you can flow enough to keep it from hiccuping, would it work?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Suamico, WI
    Posts
    1,162

    Default

    My smoky lake float box has a drain in it.......no freezing here!
    custom made 2x7 intensofire
    With SL pans
    250 deer run
    300 3/16 (new 2016)
    500 sacks around the neighborhood

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    northfield, CT
    Posts
    1,526

    Default

    I have a drain on mine too but what do I do with the 15 gal or so that I would drain out, then would freeze in buckets, and I would have to thaw to put back in the evap next time?
    11x29 sugarhouse
    2x8 airtight arch homemade with waterloo flue pan, welded syrup pan and parallel flow preheater hood
    250gph cdl ro
    1100+ taps for 2014, approx 1000 of them vac
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crowh...5582993?ref=hl

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Newfane, VT
    Posts
    323

    Default

    My float box freezes all the time but I've never had a problem with it thawing itself out once I have the arch fired up and running. If I'm at all worried about liquid levels in the pans dropping too low it's easy enough adjust the float level and let in more sap even if the float itself is still frozen in. A heat lamp in the arch on really cold nights keeps the pan itself from freezing hard enough to cause any damage.

    I really try to avoid flooding the pans at the end of boiling. I like to start up right were I finished off and flooding the pans with sap means a lot of boiling before you're back to making syrup. Also means you could be faced with pulling off a big batch of syrup with the first draw and all the hazards that entails. Glen Goodrich gave me that advice when I was first starting out and he knows a thing or two about running evaporators.
    Last edited by northwoods_forestry; 03-17-2014 at 08:31 PM.
    300 on vaccum
    300 gravity tubing
    200 buckets

    100 hilltop acres
    16x20 timberframe sugarhouse built in 2010
    3x10 Leader max flue & revolution pans w/ Inferno arch - 2013
    1998 Kubota M5400

    Northwoods Farm and Forestry on Facebook.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts