This is a great way to have a automatic horse watering system for your livestock year around. It relies on a small stream of water dumped into a plastic watering trough. The idea is to keep the water moving so it does not get a chance to freeze. The water pipes that are exposed under the basin in the CMP (corrugated metal pipe), are kept from freezing by air that is sucked through the water and drain perforated field drain pipe that is buried about 6 feet deep. The air is sucked down the drain pipe and back under the basin through the water line casing pipe. I had my doubts about it but after two years I think itís great. Being in the fabricating business I have a few things I plan on doing on the next one we install. I installed this system to work with the automatic horse feeder I have at home for feeding hay.
The hardest part is the excavation for the water line and constructing a small drain field for the overflow from the automatic watering basin. Your existing water line is approximately 5 or 6 feet deep. Youíre going to have to excavate to locate your existing water line and dig a trench to the location where youíre going to install the water basin. This trench should be at least 50 feet long. The drain field line can go in this trench also. The idea is to run a perforated line down to the water line elevation, go 50 feet down the ditch and back to where you bend the line to go up.
This is where I modified the plans. I install a 4 inch schedule 40 pipe down to the bottom of the trench, then install a 90 degree elbow and clamp it onto the perforated drain pipe that continues down the trench 50 feet. Then turn around and bring the perforated pipe back to the CMP location. Next connect your new poly water line to the existing water line and run the pipe down the trench to the CMP location. Here I have installed a relief valve. This valve will drain the line to the basin if you turn off the main water line. If you ever have to shut off the line in the winter, it would be hard to drain the line going to the valve. This valve would shut off the water and drain the pipe so it would not freeze below the horse watering basin. Rain Bird Manufacturing will sell you this valve for about $3.00. Part number is 76A-FVP or B40475 or 16AFBDV. Any one of them will work if you want to look them up on the internet. After installing the valve you will have to cut a hole in the perforated pipe and get the water line into the perforated pipe. I would put a 90 degree elbow on here and run a solid 1 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe to the surface to connect with the valve in the basin. The water line goes inside the perforated pipe to the height of the CMP (corrugated metal pipe) plus a little. This will bring the heat up from the ground along side of the water line. Now you should have the water line and the outer pipe to the surface. They will need to stick up approximately 1 foot above the ground surface. The perforated pipe should be showing only on the drain line. Now would be a good time to backfill the trench up to the surface. Tamp the dirt as you backfill to get a solid base for the water basin.
Next is the concrete base for the CMP. The manufacture will call for insulation under the concrete. I did not feel that was necessary since the rest of the slab is exposed to the cold weather. For the base I formed up a rectangular form with some 2 x 4ís and bought some bagged concrete. The water line casing perforated pipe should be trimmed 8 inches above the gravel base and the drain line casing should be trimmed 5 inches above the gravel base. The difference between the elevations of the two pipes is what will create a draft to suck up the heat from the earth to help keep the pipes from freezing. Set the CMP on 4 rocks that are placed at the right elevation, and level it with a carpenterís level. There are some concrete anchors with the installation kit. Fasten them to the CMP and get some bagged concrete. Pour concrete over the first rib in the CMP. You can smooth it out with a 2 x 4. There was some insulation with the installation kit; I also bought a couple cans of insulation spray for the inside of the CMP.
The rest is easy. Assemble the valves and connect them in the basin. The drain line will be inserted in the casing pipe. Connect the water line to the hose supplied with the kit and make the connection to the valve. Adjusting the valve is best described with the operating manual in the kit. A final suggestion for the operation of the automatic horse watering system, when you get the valve set do not screw it shut in the summer. This will save a lot of work in the fall. Consider complementing your new water system with an automatic horse feeder to save time doing those water and feeding chores.
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