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Thread: Considering using tubing - question about cleaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    458

    Default Considering using tubing - question about cleaning

    I've been sugaring for five years now. So far all on buckets. Considering maybe adding a tubing run next season, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. Here are the considerations:

    - I have no electricity whatsoever at my sugaring location
    - I'd likely do a single run on 3/16 tubing of 10-20 trees
    - I have a very steep (perhaps 20 degree) slope I would be running, so gravity tubing is a no-brainer
    - Might be as much as 200 feet of tubing

    So here's my question: How the heck would I clean lines between seasons? Put the whole mess in a bag and bring it home to attach to my hose and try to run water through the line and all the drops? Don't clean it, just let it drain and then dump the first run of the next season? Something else? I don't want to deal with pumps and stuff, and have no way to power them.

    Is this just not viable, or what?

    Thanks,

    Gabe O
    2016: Homemade arch from old woodburning stove. 2 steam tray pans. 6 taps on buckets. 1.1 gall syrup
    2017: Same homemade evaporator, but souped up. Still 2 steam tray pans. 15 taps on buckets. 4.5 galls syrup.
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons syrup.
    2019: Still very limited time. Downsized to 7 taps and a short season. 1.8 gallons syrup
    2020: 9 taps, new Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season, 2 gallons syrup
    2021: 17 taps on Mason 2x3 XL

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Quaker Hill, CT
    Posts
    285

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    The tubing can be cleaned by siphoning a cleaning solution through the tubing from the top of the hill to the bottom. You can then rinse the tubing with the same method. My 3 runs are around 1000ft of tubing each run and a single 5 gallon bucket of cleaner is more than enough to clean each run.

    With so few taps on the line I would replace the tap, drop and tee fittings yearly. I replace all 70 of my drops including the tees each year to help keep the tap holes clean as long as possible.

    The only pump you might need is if the tubing collects in a tank other than you main storage tank. I use a 12v submersible pump that I can power with a cordless tool battery if I need to. That's how I get the sap out of the collection barrel and over to the evaporator.

    With that much slope you should see really good production from the 3/16 tubing. It should be a lot more than you are getting on buckets.
    2017 25 taps on buckets got me hooked 1 gallon of sweet
    2018 51 taps on 3/16 tubing/ DIY oil tank evaporator 8.5gallons finished
    2019 60 taps 7 gallons finished ended season short
    2020 New 2x4 divided pan ready to get away from the headache that is steam table pans

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Franklin, PA
    Posts
    44

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    you can buy wash bottles and the end will fit right in the spout... start at the top of the hill and work down..
    here's what I used last season..

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    2019 290 taps on 3/16"
    2018 20 taps on milk jugs
    2017 10 taps on milk jugs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    458

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cjadamec View Post
    The tubing can be cleaned by siphoning a cleaning solution through the tubing from the top of the hill to the bottom. You can then rinse the tubing with the same method. My 3 runs are around 1000ft of tubing each run and a single 5 gallon bucket of cleaner is more than enough to clean each run.

    With so few taps on the line I would replace the tap, drop and tee fittings yearly. I replace all 70 of my drops including the tees each year to help keep the tap holes clean as long as possible.

    The only pump you might need is if the tubing collects in a tank other than you main storage tank. I use a 12v submersible pump that I can power with a cordless tool battery if I need to. That's how I get the sap out of the collection barrel and over to the evaporator.
    This would be a hill directly above the sugar shack, so I'd just end the tubing in a food-grade barrel of some kind propped up on cinderblocks behind the shack, with a spigot in the bottom of it. I'd then draw that into a bucket to feed the preheater as needed. Should work pretty well for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cjadamec View Post
    With that much slope you should see really good production from the 3/16 tubing. It should be a lot more than you are getting on buckets.
    Hope so!

    So let me see if I understand what you're suggesting. At the end of the season I:
    1 - pull taps, cut the spile off the drop and add some kind of 5/16 end-of-line cap on each drop
    2 - With the line still in place on the hill, siphon first cleaning solution, then water, through the line.
    3 - Break down the line.

    Then the next season, reinstall with new Tees, drops, and spiles?

    I can see how I'd need to replace the drops every year with this method, since I wouldn't be getting any cleaning solution into them. But breaking the line apart and replacing all the Tees and then putting them all back in every year seems like a lot of work.

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old woodburning stove. 2 steam tray pans. 6 taps on buckets. 1.1 gall syrup
    2017: Same homemade evaporator, but souped up. Still 2 steam tray pans. 15 taps on buckets. 4.5 galls syrup.
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons syrup.
    2019: Still very limited time. Downsized to 7 taps and a short season. 1.8 gallons syrup
    2020: 9 taps, new Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season, 2 gallons syrup
    2021: 17 taps on Mason 2x3 XL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Princeton, MA
    Posts
    401

    Default

    Here is what I have done for cleaning gravity tubing lines. I seem to do something different every year while learning what works and what doesn't, but I think this worked well. It was certainly better than not cleaning at all, which is bad - lots of mold in lines.

    First, there should be water or sap in the lines so you can get gravity flow. Take a pail with mixture of your cleaning solution of choice. I have used a weak bleach solution before but I had an issue with insufficient rinsing affecting syrup taste, so last spring I tried One Step sanitizer used for the homebrew industry. It does not require rinsing although I did anyways. So, take the bucket of whatever, pinch line, pop the tap off the tree, dip it in the solution, release pinch until you see the solution drawn through the drop and past the tee by the gravity vacuum. Then pinch line again while you insert tap or line into the pin or cup of tee. The line should seal and drop should stay filled. Repeat for each tap. For setups with no elevation drop, connect a diaphragm pump at collection tank end of the line to create vacuum. I went around and rinsed after that but don't think I needed to. It can be a bit time consuming, but if you change drops you can skip this step.

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2020: 207 taps, 60% red maples. Mountain Maple S3 diaphragm pump controller with automated sap transfer
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    1,098

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    Berkshire, I use a pump up garden sprayer (new of course, no chemical use) and mix a 200ppm calcium Hypochloride solution in it. You can take the end off and adapt it to fit in a spile or tubing end. You can buy 1 lb packs at a pool supply for like 3-5 dollars and it will mix a lot of solution. I even disinfect my tanks with it. At the end of the season cap the open end of your line at the tank, go to the first spile pull it and hook it on the sprayer and fill the drop and line below. When it is full go to the next one and repeat. The tees have a stud on them to plug the spile or line onto that will seal it from leaking. After you've filled your line to the top end leave it set for at least a couple hours. I leave my at least four hours. Then uncap the drain end and start pulling your piles off the studs and letting drain from the top of your run. Have your sprayer full of clean water and flush each one as you go. After you've flushed plug them back onto the tee stud and leave them until winter prior to your next season and go cut out old tees or drops and install new. If just replacing spiles (ok first year ) then cut off the old spiles and install new and plug onto tee. It's really not to hard. Just don't short the soak time.
    Last edited by buckeye gold; 01-30-2020 at 12:40 PM.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Quaker Hill, CT
    Posts
    285

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    The CDL 3/16 tees have a cup built into them that is sized to fit the taps. When you pull the tap you can insert it into the cup and it seals up the drop. It seals well enough in fact that I've used the cups to hold vacuum on a running 3/16 line.

    You don't need to replace tees or drops every year, that just what I do. It doesn't take me much time at all to replace the whole drop while I'm out in the woods tapping at the beginning of the season and it saves the time of having to clean them at the end of the season.

    At the very least you should replace the tap which you can snip off the end of the drop line and pop a new one in.


    There is a fair amount of maintenance and effort to install tubing, but the pay off in extra sap, and not having to haul buckets is generally well worth the effort. Doubly true if your trees are on a steep slope. If it wasn't for the tubing I probably would have given up on making syrup after the first or second year.
    2017 25 taps on buckets got me hooked 1 gallon of sweet
    2018 51 taps on 3/16 tubing/ DIY oil tank evaporator 8.5gallons finished
    2019 60 taps 7 gallons finished ended season short
    2020 New 2x4 divided pan ready to get away from the headache that is steam table pans

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Fayston, Vt
    Posts
    121

    Default

    Thanks for this post, I have been wanting to do it .

    I takedown 3 lines and wondered how to use sodium hypochlorite, I have a pump sprayer that I just rinse with warm house water. Thanks

    Could I do a flush and rinse this spring before tapping? How long before I could tap and do a sap flush first?
    I have an air compressor that I blow out the lines in the spring before taking them down?
    How much do you put into a 5 gallon bucket for mix?

    Thanks
    2020 same
    2019 RB10 26 taps
    2018 RO Bucket RB5 taps 20, leg tank in shed w/2 5/16
    2017 18 taps
    2016 20 taps
    2015 21 taps
    2014 30 2 gravity line, 2 hotel pan concrete arch 35 g leg tank
    2013 LP hook up in shack buckets 12 taps
    2 burner cook top 2012 finisher on a bbq tanks
    2011 rookie 2+ gal
    8 taps w/ milk jugs
    turkey cooker
    50-60 up back maybe

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Stockbridge,Ma
    Posts
    194

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    Berkshires, If you would like to take a ride up to my sugar house in Lenox I can show you how to set up your tubing and give suggestions for cleaning.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    1,098

    Default

    How much do you put into a 5 gallon bucket for mix?
    depends on the amount of active ingredient. A tablespoon would be more than enough of most you buy.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

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