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Thread: Is there a easy way to tell if a 3/16 line is filled with sap or filled with void?

  1. #1
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    Default Is there a easy way to tell if a 3/16 line is filled with sap or filled with void?

    I have a question about a potential blocked tee in my 3/16 line. This week's run just started last night. I have some bubble activity from my lowest 2 trees down to the collection which is a trickle, but no sign of life in the tubing between 20 trees upstream. Is there a easy way to tell if the line is filled with sap (i.e. blocked) or filled with just a void? I am not experienced enough (2nd year with tubing experimenting) to tell by the weight of the line. I would guess pulling/re-inserting a tap is a way to tell, or is that a no-no (e.g. tap will probably leak afterward)? I will probably replace the tee around where bubbles activity begins to see what happens next, but other troubleshooting advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    May 2011
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    Normally when I have had a plugged T the Debris was visible on the uphill side of the fitting, meaning that it didn't enter the fitting it got stuck on the outside of it. But I've only had 2 or 3 plugged fittings and you could see the Plug clearly each time.
    Nate Hutchins
    Nate & Kate's Maple
    2017. 750 Taps?
    550 3/16 on a sap guzzler
    30" by 10' air tight arch with 30" x 8' Smoky Lake Pans
    One very patient Wife & a little girl & a boy on the way.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2017
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    Danbury, Connecticut
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    Quote Originally Posted by GV2 View Post
    I have a question about a potential blocked tee in my 3/16 line. This week's run just started last night. I have some bubble activity from my lowest 2 trees down to the collection which is a trickle, but no sign of life in the tubing between 20 trees upstream. Is there a easy way to tell if the line is filled with sap (i.e. blocked) or filled with just a void? I am not experienced enough (2nd year with tubing experimenting) to tell by the weight of the line. I would guess pulling/re-inserting a tap is a way to tell, or is that a no-no (e.g. tap will probably leak afterward)? I will probably replace the tee around where bubbles activity begins to see what happens next, but other troubleshooting advice is appreciated.
    start with the tap directly above where you're getting bubbles (gasses from the trees).Move upward from there. bring a pair of needle nose vise grips to pinch off the line if you find a plug so you don't take a bath. pinch at least 6" up hill of the T so you don't weaken the tubing near the t you're replacing.

    If it is full and blocked eventually the trees will start leaking around the taps as the pressure builds. You can pull a tap and re-insert it, but i wouldn't make a habit of it.
    3rd year, still learning as much as i can
    2.5'x10' drop flues
    3/16 Natural Vacuum - 122 Taps

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Default 3/16 problem solved, thanks for your advice

    Thanks Cedar Eater for pointing me in the right direction on another post. Thanks BSD and N8hutch for telling me what to look for and the tips on how to fix it. Good learning experience for me. This bad boy was located on the 3rd from the bottom tree. Running well now!
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    Last edited by GV2; 03-09-2017 at 10:05 AM.
    50 taps ave. half on buckets half on 3/16
    2x3 pan on fire brick / fieldstone arch
    started 2012

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSD View Post

    If it is full and blocked eventually the trees will start leaking around the taps as the pressure builds. You can pull a tap and re-insert it, but i wouldn't make a habit of it.
    I'm curious the reason behind not pulling taps and reinserting? Not questioning, just trying to learn.
    2x4 WesFab two pan evaporator
    The original Homemade XLE 4040 RO http://mapletrader.com/community/sho...RO-suggestions on a dolly
    WesFab 7" short stack filter press w/diaphragm pump.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel Pro View Post
    I'm curious the reason behind not pulling taps and reinserting?
    One reason is it introduces more bacteria into the line.

    Second you'll lose some sap out of the line creating less vacuum for a little while.
    first year 2012 50 taps late season made 2 1/2 gals.

    2013 2x6 homemade arch 180 taps. 20 Gals.

    2014 40 on 3/16 gravity 160 on buckets.

    http://omasranch.wix.com/omasmaple

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by psparr View Post
    One reason is it introduces more bacteria into the line.

    Second you'll lose some sap out of the line creating less vacuum for a little while.
    And if you keep taking them out and putting them back in it's possible that they won't reseat in the hole and you just created a vacuum leak.
    Second generation sap rat.

    Started taking over in 2012
    2012-2016: 300 buckets 120 on gravity tubing. Waterloo 2x10 wood fired. Averaged 105 gallons per season.

    New for 2017: hoping for 350 on 3/16 with Shurflo and 100 buckets. 4x14 Algier wood fired cooker. Looking forward to making more syrup in less time!!

    Still split it all by hand.

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