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Thread: Need advice on pumping sap 250 feet up a 60 foot rise.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West Falls, NY
    Posts
    150

    Default Need advice on pumping sap 250 feet up a 60 foot rise.

    Hi gang-

    I need some help. I have a small operation, 125 to 150 taps. I am reconfiguring so that everything will flow into one 275 gallon collection tote. The problem is that tote will be 250 away and 60 feet below the holding tote by the evaporator. I do have an electric source 180 feet from the lower tank.

    My hope is that I can stretch a support wire to hold a half inch line from the lower tote to the upper tote and pump the sap up with an electric pump. I’m not too worried about installing the support wire, I’ve done that sort of thing before. I guess my questions are:

    - can anyone recommend an electric pump that can make that lift. I might be doing the math wrong but I think 250 feet of 1/2 inch line will hold about 2.5 to 3 gallons of sap when full which would be about 25 pounds give or take.

    - what kind of tubing should I use?

    - I am planning on building a box big enough to house the pump and using a temperature regulator I already have to turn on a couple of lightbulbs to keep it above freezing so even though I will have to drain the line each time, I should be ok leaving the pump out for the season.

    - I’m sure I’m missing aspects of this so any pointers would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Princeton, MA
    Posts
    424

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    I have a similar setup, my sap transfer line is 550' long and 55' of drop, and a 5gpm diaphragm pump works well. I have used a Delavan or USA Adventure Gear 5gpm 12 volt pump. I even used a 3gpm pump one year, and it pumped it although it was slow. I use 1/2" poly pipe, if you go any larger you will get more sap drain back. You are correct in your calculations on sap volume.

    I use one of my Mountain Maple controllers with sap transfer feature. The systems includes an automatic drain valve which drains sap from the line after pumping. I haven't had a problem with freeze damage on any of my pumps or lines, they are left outside without heaters.

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2021: 260 taps, 70% red maples. Mountain Maple S4 diaphragm pump controller with automated sap transfer and text messaging
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    36

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    If you go with a 1 or 1.25 inch pipe a 1/2 hp submersible deep well pump will do that easily.You can get them on ebay for around $100.I pump sap 800 feet with 70 feet of rise with one.If you can get one with the suction from the bottom it'll empty more out of the tank but they've gotten harder to find and so more expensive.Get a float switch and it'll be practically automatic.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    5,656

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    Quote Originally Posted by ALSMAPLE View Post
    If you go with a 1 or 1.25 inch pipe a 1/2 hp submersible deep well pump will do that easily.You can get them on ebay for around $100.I pump sap 800 feet with 70 feet of rise with one.If you can get one with the suction from the bottom it'll empty more out of the tank but they've gotten harder to find and so more expensive.Get a float switch and it'll be practically automatic.
    This will work well. Make sure there is no check-valve in the pump line to trap the sap and allow it to freeze.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West Falls, NY
    Posts
    150

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    Thank you all for the responses! I spent a few hours looking at both deep well submersible pumps and diaphragm pumps. I have a few questions if you don’t mind.

    For the submersible deep well pump:
    I really like the fact that even the inexpensive ones will easily make the 60’ lift I need. But all the instances I found had the intake near the middle of the pump. I seems like it would be very difficult to get the tank anywhere near empty.
    Also, my plan for keeping the pump from freezing is to build a box with a temperature switch and a heat source (probably light bulbs) and store the pump there between runs. It seems like removing the pump from the tank each time might be a challenge.
    With 1/2 line I will have about 2.5 gallons of sap left in the 250’ of line after draining the tank. With 1” line it will be 10 gallons. Is it possible to plumb a pump like this to 1/2 line or is that just restricting the pump too much?
    Lastly, many of the pumps I looked at stated they had an internal check valve, I assume I need to avoid that.

    Is there something similar to these pumps, but not submersible that I could plumb to the outlet on the tote? For my application it seems like that would be easier and also would allow me to drain the tank all the way.


    For the diaphragm pumps:
    These seem like they would work if I could either find one that runs on 110v or a power supply that could provide the needed current (I haven’t searched for one yet). The volume seems low though. Can you give me an idea of about how long it would take to pump, say, 200 gallons? I’m assuming the 5gpm is ideal and not pumping against resistance.
    At the moment I can’t afford one of the controllers but they look like a great piece of equipment!

    Thanks everyone for the help, sorry about all the questions!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    DeKalb, NY
    Posts
    1,699

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    I use submersible pumps in 12 locations in my bush. All have intakes in the middle. I simply lay the pump on its side in the lowest point in the tank and use a float switch to initiate pumping. Some locations are pumping as much as a mile through 1 and1/4 inch pipe. These are 1/2 HP pumps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West Falls, NY
    Posts
    150

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thompson's Tree Farm View Post
    I use submersible pumps in 12 locations in my bush. All have intakes in the middle. I simply lay the pump on its side in the lowest point in the tank and use a float switch to initiate pumping. Some locations are pumping as much as a mile through 1 and1/4 inch pipe. These are 1/2 HP pumps.
    Thanks for the reply! What do you do when it freezes? Do you have to pull the pumps? I do have times where my collection tote will freeze.

    A mile of 1 1/4 line is amazing. That’s 330 gallons of sap just to fill the line, my best season was 1500 gallons!

    Thanks again for the info.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    DeKalb, NY
    Posts
    1,699

    Default

    If it is going to freeze hard for several days (such that the sap in the tank will freeze solid) the pumps are pulled and laid on their sides on top of the tank, pump line removed from pump and diverted back to tank. If the freeze is just over night, about 6 inches of sap is allowed to accumulate in the tank and the pump left immersed in the sap. The pump remains in the liquid sap below the surface ice.
    Last edited by Thompson's Tree Farm; 08-01-2021 at 05:35 AM. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    384

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    First, I don't think you'll find a dc pump that meets your needs.

    In general, I think you might be better off hauling your sap. You'll spend a lot of effort and costs reducing the retained sap in the lines and collection tank. In the end, you might end up hauling that remaining 30 or 40 gallons anyway. At least with hauling you'll achieve nearly zero losses.

    Your idea of pumping will also mean that you won't start boiling until well into the later phase of a sap run. You'll be watching that collection tank get full enough to push your minimum boil volume to the sugar house. At that point, mild temperatures can start to affect your sap quality and I assume you still have multiple hours of boiling ahead.

    Ken
    Ken & Sherry
    Williston, VT

    2017 - 13 gallons on 65 taps (12 buckets, rest 3/16), 2x4 flat bottom, modified cargo box sugarhouse
    2018 - 90 gallons on 418 taps (gravity lines), Leader 30"x10' Vortex Arch & Max Raised Flue with Rev Syrup Pan, New Sugarhouse
    2019 - Burned through alot more money: heated kitchen, 2x2,000 and 375 gal ss sap tanks, CDL1200 RO, Bauch Vac Pump, More taps, etc., etc., etc.
    https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinhillmaple/

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