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Thread: Mechanical Releaser Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    25

    Default Mechanical Releaser Question

    Hello,
    I was looking to be able to buy a very nice vacuum system with releaser. The guy I bought from told me we used it in an unheated shed. I believe Iíve read somewhere that mechanical releases can be problematic in an unheated space. Iím planning a small vacuum shed, but heating it is not a good option. What advice is there regarding the mechanical releaser?

    Iíve attached a picture of my setup 061E51DD-ED3C-499E-B06A-C37BEAF05BD8.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    606

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    I always think of a mechanical released used outside. Sure, there's problems when it freezes. But if everything is plumbed right, then problems are minimized. Outside the sap stays cold, hopefully unless the day gets warm. If you heat the releaser space then you want it just above freezing.

    Is that your collection tank in the pic? It looks like a head tank.
    Ken & Sherry
    Williston, VT
    16x34 Sugarhouse
    1,500 taps on high vacuum, Electric Releaser & CDL Sap Lifter
    Wood-Fired Leader 30"x10' Vortex Arch & Max Raised Flue with Rev Syrup Pan & CDL1200 RO
    https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinhillmaple/

  3. #3
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    Jan 2020
    Location
    CT
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    TapTapTap,
    Thanks, I was thinking the same thing, the sap is cold, and it will keep the pump room cold anyway. That was supposed to be a tank for RO, but I have it mocked-up with my vacuum system. It's 200gal and I'm only planning around 100 taps on the vacuum side this year. I can get another 100 taps on vacuum, but it would be more work than then I can apply this year. I know it's overkill for the vacuum system, but I could not afford to pass it up. So, I thought my 200gal tank might suffice for a collection tank this year. Does that seem reasonable?
    Thanks,
    Pete

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Lake County Ohio
    Posts
    1,582

    Default

    If you build a small pump house, the heat generated by the vacuum pump should keep temps above freezing.
    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>.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    11,439

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    My releasers have always been outside. Yes, on rare occasions they froze, but only once was it a big problem. If you do as johnallin suggests you will likely have no issues. If the pump is remote from the releaser, just build a small housing around it and keep the releaser clean. That will help. If the pump is with the releaser, put them both in, but is gas, run the exhaust outside.
    Dave Klish, Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    formerly had:
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    Now have solar, 2x6 finish pan, 5 bank 7x7 filter press, large water jacketed bottler, and tankless water heater.
    Now starting to look for a smaller evaporator, RO..
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Essex VT
    Posts
    397

    Default

    I used to have 4 out of 5 of my mechanical releasers outside, uncovered for 2 seasons. That was a messy disaster. I then installed tarps over the 4 outside for a number of years. That worked OK, except for the freeze ups. Ten years ago I built my first shed over one releaser and tank. Worked OK but releaser still froze up. I built 2 more sheds and heated all 3 of them with electricity. End of frozen releasers and frozen sap submarines in tanks. I only had one releaser left (1,100' from electricity) under a trap cover with the same freezing problems. Last season, I built a shed (6' x 12')over the releaser and tank and heated that one with a small propane heater with a gas pilot and a battery operated thermostat set to 34*. I supplied the propane with a 30 pound tank. I probably used 25% of the tank all season. The results, excellent.

    Here is what my sap production records show
    2017 .... 5 releaser locations average annual sap production .... 22.04 gpt ....production rank from last no shed releaser.... #5 17.71 gpt sap 20% less
    2018 .... 5 releaser locations average annual sap production .... 23.62 gpt ....production rank from last no shed releasr.... #5 18.68 gpt sap 21% less
    2019 .... 5 releaser locations average annual sap production .... 19.62 gpt ....production rank from last no shed releaser.... #5 16.32 gpt sap 17% less
    2020.... 5 releaser locations average annual sap production .... 26.06 gpt ....production rank for releaser in heated shed.... #1 28.49 gpt sap 9% more
    .................................................. ................4 year average 22.83 gpt
    Extra sap from 155 trees ....155 x 4 year av 22.83 gpt = 3538 gal.......... new heated shed production..... 155 trees x 28.49 gpt = 4415 gal extra sap= 877 gal

    I used a Pro Con 10,000 Btu ventless propane heater ordered from Home Depot ($149.00). Very dependable (so far). No freeze ups and no sap subs. I would not be without my heated sheds now.

    Joe
    Last edited by JoeJ; 11-15-2020 at 10:16 PM.
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    CT
    Posts
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    Default

    Hmmm......maybe a small shed with a light bulb? It works in my barn head, but it has good insulation

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Barnet, VT
    Posts
    2,580

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    Agree with Joe. Makes life so much easier. Before I heated my releaser enclosure I would have to go out to my releaser every morning when I started my pump 1600’ to make sure it was not froze. Or go out at night after it froze to make sure it dumped the last time. (Not fun thawing out an 8 gallon block of ice). I use just the pilot from a propane water heater. No thermostat. Uses about 1.5-20 pound tanks for the season.
    William
    950 taps
    3 X 12 Thor pans on a Brian Arch
    CDL 600 expandable

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    606

    Default

    I agree, particularly if I had 5 releasers like Joe! I can manage one and I even have a remote security camera to keep and eye on it. But 5 times the trouble would be over the top regardless of cameras.

    Of course the downside would be the effort and cost to build a structure that might rival, or exceed, the size of a small sugarshack. I elected to use an 8x16 portable garage for my collection tank and releaser which doesn't lend itself to efficient heating - so I leave it unheated. Even with the hassles, I don't see constructing a "permanent" enclosure due to the cost and the zoning laws.

    An option I have considered is a shipping container (which is a temporary structure not subject to the zoning laws). I already have one for my vacuum pump and permeate tank back at the sugarhouse. However, I can tell you from my own experience that a steel shipping container is very hard to keep heated so I wouldn't attempt to without insulation (which is costly itself).
    Ken & Sherry
    Williston, VT
    16x34 Sugarhouse
    1,500 taps on high vacuum, Electric Releaser & CDL Sap Lifter
    Wood-Fired Leader 30"x10' Vortex Arch & Max Raised Flue with Rev Syrup Pan & CDL1200 RO
    https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinhillmaple/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Essex VT
    Posts
    397

    Default

    pete3046,

    I heated my largest sap shed with a mechanical releaser, 10' x 16', (750 gal tank) with a 3,000 watt electric milk house heater and a 3' x 3' electric releaser pump shed heated with a heat lamp on a thermostat for
    $31.00 in electricity from Feb. 24 to April 2. (I have to pay the service charge no matter what).

    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

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