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Thread: Leaking sap from tap - help me solve once and for all!!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Hancock, NY
    Posts
    41

    Default Leaking sap from tap - help me solve once and for all!!!

    Iím a hobbyist. Been sugaring about 15 years. Run fifty taps nowadays. And I still, frequently, significantly, have leaking sap from my taps, often that weep all the way down to the ground. I usually just accept it. But Iíve had it. I want to solve this. Once and for all.

    I use a 5/16 maple tapping bit. I use a cordless electric Milwaukee drill on high speed. I tap with only a slight angle. I drill in and out as quickly and cleanly as I can. I set the spiles gently using a maple tapping hammer. And still, they weep.

    Itís possible my technique is off. Except for one thing:

    I have 15 Zap Bac spiles with 5/16Ē drop lines that run into buckets. Those usually do NOT weep. A few, but not much.

    The remaining 35 are on those clear blue plastic spiles, from which I hang 3 gallon maple buckets. Those are what leak. However, I recently tried some steel 5/16Ē spiles instead, and those leaked too.

    My best thought as to why the Zap Bacs seat better is that theyíre a touch softer material, and so can create a better seal than a harder plastic or steel, since they would Ďdeformí a little into each hole (if you can picture what im saying). But thatís just a guess.

    Iíve also wondered if the weight of the bucket could be an issue. But it seems to happen even when the buckets are empty. At least I think it does.

    Iíve wondered if maybe the spiles freezing and unfreezing might cause them to become unseated and thus leak. But by definition freezing and unfreezing must happen to everyone, since thatís when the sap runs, but nobody else seems to have that problem.

    So, please, help me. Iím at my witís end.
    Hancock, NY
    Smoky Lake Dauntless 2x4 divided pan
    2021: ???
    2020: 41 taps, on buckets and drop lines
    2019: 33 taps on buckets
    2010-2018: 15-30 taps on buckets
    2009: 3 cute little taps on buckets

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Savoy, MA
    Posts
    477

    Default

    I tried a handful of the blue plastic 5/16 spouts a few years and found that leaked like crazy. I experimented with setting them more firmly and that seemed to have solved the problem. I mostly use the cast aluminum 5/16 spouts and get absolutely no leaking.

    IF your tap hole is drilled cleanly I am going to speculate that you are not setting the spout firmly enough. You said yourself that you set the spout "gently." Try being less gentle. I have a feeling you'll get no leaking.
    16x24 Timber Frame Sugar House
    Mason 2x4 Evaporator
    90 trees on buckets

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
    Posts
    6,334

    Default

    The rigid, light-blue plastic spouts are known for being leaky. Simplest solution would be try something else.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West Falls, NY
    Posts
    242

    Default

    Ditto on the blue plastic spouts. I can’t count the number of times I had a full bucket pull the spout right out of the tree as soon as I touched it. Dousing me in the process of course. They are awful, I finally threw the remaining ones away.

    I’ve had decent luck with the traditional style metal ones though.
    Sugaring since 2000.
    2022 - 113 taps on tubing and gravity. Homemade evaporator and RO.
    2023 - 120 taps on 5/16 and gravity added a float to the pan an built a new 5x400gpd RO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    582

    Default

    We have been using the blue spouts with hooks and buckets for several years. We seat them quite firmly and although we do have some minimal leakage, I find that they are difficult to remove at the end of the season and we end up breaking 10% of them. At a cost of a dollar each we've just decided to put up with it.
    60ish taps on buckets
    D&G Sportsman 18x63
    Turbo RB15 RO Bucket

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Covington Twp. Pa.
    Posts
    575

    Default

    Tried the blue spouts one year. Only one year, all leaked. Garbage!
    2x3 Patrick Phaneuf Divided Pan
    Homemade arch
    RB20 RO Bucket
    121 taps total
    Sugar Shack in future
    Wife into it as much as me
    Also do homebrew

    http://s928.photobucket.com/albums/ad121/ZMANSYRUP/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Morrisville, VT
    Posts
    12

    Default

    I had the same problem after tapping last weekend. Always just used the blue plastic taps and had sporadic leaking. If I just tapped a week ago is there any reason why I couldn't pull them and immediately replace with another style tap?
    2020 - 7 Late Taps, Open Fire, 1 qt
    2021 - 25 Taps, Barrel Evap, Bucket RO...Fever Setting In! Made 2.5 gal
    2022 - 30 Taps, 5 gal
    2023 - 30 Taps, Blower Fan, Insulated Evap

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Nashville, MI
    Posts
    905

    Default

    No reason why you can't replace them, if you want.
    2004 - 2012 2x3 flat pan 25 to 60 taps
    2012 2x3 new divided pan w/draw off 55 taps
    2018 - didn't boil surgery - bought new evaporator
    2019 new SML 2x4 raised flue high output evap. 65 taps
    made 17 gal. syrup
    2020 - only put out 53 taps - made 16.25 ga.l syrup
    2021 - Didn't work out
    2022 - 25 taps on bags / 8 taps on 3/16's line - late start

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario
    Posts
    24

    Default

    I also have used the 5/16 blue spouts. I've used them for about 4 seasons and unlike others here am very happy with them. I don't observe any of the symptoms described by others in this thread. I'm rather aggressive when seating them, I tap them until I hear and feel a dull thud. After the first hard frost I make the rounds and give them another wack or two. I find this second set of wacks causes the blue spouts to seat further into the tap hole. I think a hard frost can cause them two move out of the tap hole. I also think they should be placed on a warm day when there is a little more give to the tree, and they will seat better. These are my experiences, hope it helps.
    2023 - 20 Taps Buckets - 80 taps - 3/16" - Vacuum - 136 liters of syrup
    2022 - 20 Taps Buckets - 80 taps - 3/16" - Vacuum - 100 liters of syrup
    2021 - 20 Taps Buckets - 40 taps - 3/16" tubing - Gravity - 25 liters of syrup
    2020 - 15 Taps Buckets - 5 liters syrup - Propane Turkey Frying Pan
    Thor 18" x 54" - 2021
    Barrie, Ontario CANADA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Morrisville, VT
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Interesting. I guess I've always been gentle, having heard anecdotally about "splitting" the tap hole. Maybe I just need to giv'r a bit more. Will bring along a mallet when collecting this week and re-seat to see if that does the job.
    2020 - 7 Late Taps, Open Fire, 1 qt
    2021 - 25 Taps, Barrel Evap, Bucket RO...Fever Setting In! Made 2.5 gal
    2022 - 30 Taps, 5 gal
    2023 - 30 Taps, Blower Fan, Insulated Evap

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