Many livestock producers have found Frostfree Nosepumps can provide a reliable off-grid water supply for horses and cattle. But, as cold-climate installers of the pumps have discovered, it is important not to cut corners during setup. There are four major components of successful installation.
An installer must establish a geothermal wet well that has a static water level below the frost line, but less than 50 feet from the ground surface. The wet well is created by excavating a hole at the desired location for the drinkers and burying a culvert vertically in the ground. In order to maximize the geothermal energy produced by the ground, the wet well must have a minimum diameter of 24 inches and a minimum depth of 18 inches for non-conductive casing, such as poly or fibreglass culvert, or a depth of 21 feet for standard galvanized culvert. Install the culvert leaving two feet sticking above ground. Once the lid is in place this will form the pedestal for the pump’s drinking hood. The total length of the casings would then be 20 feet for non-conductive culverts, and 23 feet for conductive culverts.
If the water table in the area isn’t high enough to feed into the standing culvert, water may be brought into the wet well from other sources. The most common alternative water source requires digging a trench from a nearby dugout, pond, slough or natural spring, and laying in atleast a 1-1/2-inch diameter poly pipe to carry water from the source to the bottom of the wet well. Be sure to install the trench with fall or slope from the water source to the wet well. The trench should have a constant negative grade with no spots in the middle higher that the inlet or outlet. If you have a low head-pressure situation, such as that from a slough or natural spring, any high spot in the line can cause an air lock that will prevent the water from flowing into the wet well.
If you are planning to use a slough or spring as a water source, you will need to build and install a collection unit in the water source. This unit can be made from the same material used for the wet well, and you will need to excavate and bury it vertically in the slough or spring in much the same way you buried the pipe for the wet well. Perforate several feet of the bottom of the collection culvert and back fill the lower portion of the culvert with clean gravel. This gravel will act to filter any “muck” from the surrounding area and keep the perforations clear and water clean. Be sure the collection unit is buried deep enough to draw water from below the frost line, and bury the supply line to the wet well below the frost line.
If the elevation of the static water level in the water source is above the frost line of the wet well, bring the water into the wet well with a pit-less adapter below the frost line and attach a Hudson Float Valve inside of the wet well to shut off the supply from the water source before it fills the wet well to a level that may overflow or freeze.
Another water source option is to run an existing pressurized water line into the wet well below the frost line using a pit-less adapter and a Hudson Float Valve. Also, if the soil around and under the wet well is permeable, line the bottom inside of the wet well with concrete, bentonite, or another impermeable material to prevent the water seeping out of the wet well.
Insulate top of the wet well
Next, the installer must insulate the inside top of the wet well casing. This is done by cutting pieces of two-inch rigid foam to create a sleeve that fits tight enough around the inner circumference of the casing that it will not slip down into the wet well. Cut two round disks from the two-inch rigid foam to fit inside the circumference of the casing on top of the insulation sleeve. Cut a hole through the disks just large enough to allow the supply pipe to pass through the disks into the wet well. This will prevent extreme cold temperatures from affecting the internal environment of the wet well.
20’x20′ nosepump insulated pad
Ideally there should be a 20’x20′ insulated pad created on the ground around the wet well culvert that will support the Nosepump drinking hood. First cut and cover this 20’x 20′ pad area with two-inch rigid foam. The pad itself that will go on top of the foam insulation can be constructed from four to six inches of concrete, wood decking, or any material that will prevent compaction of the soil beneath the pad. The pad will create a frost barrier that will protect the wet well from freezing from the ground level and down the sides.
Drain hole in supply line
Last, drill a small weep hole in the supply line five feet below the lid. This allows the water from the Nosepump hood to flow back down the supply line, to the level of the drain hole, once an animal stops pushing the pendulum that activates the pump. This will prevent the supply line from freezing during cold weather.
“This watering system was developed and designed by a couple farmers, and we just want to provide a maintenance-free, energy-free watering solution for as many folks as possible, ” says Jeff Anderson, sales and marketing manager, Frostfree Nosepumps, Ltd., Rimbey, Alberta.
For more information contact Jeff Anderson at the Frostfree Nosepumps website.