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Thread: Installing Ball Valves on Mainline

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Hopkinton, MA
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    Default Installing Ball Valves on Mainline

    I'm going to install ball valves on a new mainline that will have 60ish taps to help me track down leaks when they arise. I'm guessing cutting them in during the install is the smartest way to do it. Few questions:

    Steps - Or is it easier to get the line up and tied then cut in the valves. I use a spinning jenny to get the tubing rolled out and I use a come along to pull it tight before I tie it. That seems like it will get tricky if I'm trying to put valves in at the same time. What't the best order of events?

    Valve location - I don't exactly know where the laterals will come in, yet. It's about 350 feet of mainline with 5 taps per lateral max, so 15ish laterals. Some areas will have more laterals than others. Is it okay to just guess some spots for the valves for now?

    Valve number - With about 15 laterals, how many valves is helpful down the road with out going overboard? 3 valves every 5 laterals or so? More?

    Valve orientation - Can I orient the valve sideways to keep the moving parts away from the wire? Sooner or later it will freeze full, but that shouldn't matter, right?

    Valve type - I was planning to use 3/4" female pvc valves with male thread to barb fittings on either side. Any problems there?

    Thanks in advance,
    Sean
    Woodville Maples
    www.woodvillemaples.com
    www.facebook.com/woodvillemaples
    Something north of 250 taps
    Mix of natural and mechanical vac, S3 Controller from Mountain Maple
    2x6 W.F. Mason with Phaneuf pans
    Deer Run 125 RO
    6 hives of bees
    Keeping the day job until I can start living the dream.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Eagle lake Maine
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    Default

    IMG_0846.jpg You only need a valve and vacuum gauge at the beginning of the mainline. Close the valve and watch the gauge to see if it drops, you'll find the leaks very easily on vacuum. I usually lash the line to the wire and preassemble my gauges, cut the mainline and put them in with my mainline tool.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2011
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    Eagle lake Maine
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    Default

    IMG_0851.jpg I found a better picture.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Essex VT
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    Default

    I would advise against use PVC valves. The handles will break after a season or two. Install a lead free brass ball valve with a stainless steel Tee for your vacuum gauge. After you install your vacuum gauge, cover the gauge with a tin can. Punch a hole in each side of the can rim and then tie the can down with a piece of thin wire. If the gauge is not covered, it will not last a season. For a main line 350' long, one valve is fine, but if you want to make it easier to pinpoint leak, put in a second valve and gauge half way up the line.

    Joe
    2004- 470 taps on gravity and buckets
    2006- 590 taps on gravity and buckets 300 gph RO
    2009- 845 taps on vacuum no buckets, 600 gph RO
    2010- 925 taps on vacuum new 2 stage vacuum pump
    2014- 3045 taps on vacuum, new 1200 gph RO
    2015- 3104 taps on vacuum
    2017- 3213 taps on vacuum
    3' x 10' oil fired evaporator with steamaway

  5. #5
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    Feb 2011
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    Eagle lake Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    I would advise against use PVC valves. The handles will break after a season or two. Install a lead free brass ball valve with a stainless steel Tee for your vacuum gauge. After you install your vacuum gauge, cover the gauge with a tin can. Punch a hole in each side of the can rim and then tie the can down with a piece of thin wire. If the gauge is not covered, it will not last a season. For a main line 350' long, one valve is fine, but if you want to make it easier to pinpoint leak, put in a second valve and gauge half way up the line.

    Joe
    Stainless valves are ideal, but I have 30 mainlines and have only had one pvc valve fail in 8 seasons, so.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    Default

    I have always used lead free brass ball valves, by Legend. They have valves with the barbed portion as part of the valve. That makes it much handier. If you can't find them locally, try Seneca Plumbing and Heating in Vernon, NY. I have gotten 3/4" and 1" ones there for 30 years. I never tried to get larger ones, I don't know how large they go. My mains are all 3/4 and 1".
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Middlebury Center, PA
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    For what it is worth PVC valves do work however having one break during a peak sap run absolutely sucks. Not only that for a reasonable price you can get stainless valves with barbs machined into them from MES 3/4" for $13 or 1" for $18. More expensive than PVC and Brass probably, but you don't have to assemble them which cuts down on labor and potential leaks. The same goes for other fittings the stainless prices are coming down if you shop around you can find deals.

    We install all of ours before we pull the line tight.

    I totally get the $ part but when you have lines and lines and lines a few extra $ spent when installing lines saves time and money in the long run.

    Joe how about a picture of your gauge cover?
    Last edited by unc23win; 01-09-2020 at 01:38 PM.
    Jared

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Thetford, VT
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    I had plans to install a valve on each of my mainline laterals because it would make trouble shooting that much easier. However I changed that idea. Mainly based on the number of potential leak points. I planed to use a Y to enter the mainline from the lateral. A short distance up I would place a valve with a gauge on the uphill side.

    We now use the CDL monitoring system. That has helped with trouble shooting. We still have several valves but not on each lateral. The vacuum sensors can help direct you to the most likely area to check first and then expand from there.

    We are a smallish operation and have started to change our pipe connection points over to maple SS fittings. There are some differences in how fittings interact with pipes and how well the pipe is secured to the fitting. I believe plastic fittings are thicker and create an area for turbulence and junk build up. We found some SS plumbing fittings at a decent price and started to use those. The plumbing fittings are thicker than maple fittings. The maple fittings have sharper barbs. We have also changed from the traditional ss pipe clamp to a band-it style clamp. Some of the ss pipe clamps have broken or we need to use two of them. It takes one band-it clamp.

    My first method of an inline gauge
    Mainline gauge.jpg
    Plumbing fitting notice the thickness of the sidewall
    Plumbing fitting.jpg
    Maple fitting with thinner sidewall
    Maple fitting.jpg
    Current gauge set up. The band-it clamps are visible and the CDL Spin Seal
    New mainline gauge.jpg
    Tapping since 1985 (four generations back to early to mid 1900s). 200-250 taps on buckets and then tubing in the mid 90s. 2013- 275 taps w/sap puller 25 gal. 2014-295 taps w/sap puller 55 ga. (re-tapped to vacuum theory) 2015-330 taps full vac. 65 gal, 2016-400 taps 105 gal, 2017-400 taps 95 gal. 2018-additional 800' mainline and maybe 400 new taps for a total near 800 taps. 2x6 Leader WSE (last year on it) supported by a 250 gph RO.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Greenwood, Maine
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    423

    Default

    Use these valves https://www.bascommaple.com/item/vbs10b/valves/
    Fast and easy less clamps and leaks.
    Brian
    Velvet Hollow Sugarworks
    Greenwood, Maine
    700 taps
    CDL 2X6, leader RO

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VT_K9 View Post
    We are a smallish operation and have started to change our pipe connection points over to maple SS fittings. There are some differences in how fittings interact with pipes and how well the pipe is secured to the fitting. I believe plastic fittings are thicker and create an area for turbulence and junk build up. We found some SS plumbing fittings at a decent price and started to use those. The plumbing fittings are thicker than maple fittings. The maple fittings have sharper barbs.
    Agreed. The PVC fittings certainly do add more turbulence. We've documented this visually https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbnD3agwrlg It is very difficult to quantify the effect this has on yield, and although they are more expensive, the SS fittings last a LOT longer than the PVC fittings do and seem to have fewer pull-aparts and leaks.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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