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Hard Plubming a water drain line

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by growitnow, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hello all,

    The helpful and informative replies to the water change thread, plus Tom's emphatic suggestion to go for it, have prompted me to explore hard plumbing a drain line. Don't tell my wife.

    I will have a plumber install the line, and I have made appointment for someone to come over and have a look. I figured I'd ask everyone here if there are considerations I should think about, in terms of what to tell the plumber I want to achieve. So what do I need to know, what clever cosiderations are there?

    My simple thinking for talking to the plumber was to just to

    (1) identify where I want the drain line to come out of the wall (i.e., what spot on the wall within the room should the drain tube stick out from),

    (2) specify a 1 or 1.5" line is to be used, and

    (3) put in a check valve to make sure house waste water does not ever seep up the tank drain water tube.

    I would then attach fittings to the plumbed drain tube sticking out of the wall that would allow me to hook a flex tube drain line from tank to the hard plumbed drain tube. Then turn on a hobby pump when I want to drain tank. If that's all there is, good. But hindsight is 20/20, so I invite suggestions more well thought out than my own.

    Cheers,

    "growitnow"
    Bob
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Since you are adding a drain, you will also want to add fill line that is able to mix warm/cold water to a desired temp.

    Same type of deal, attach hoses to drain and to fill.
    So you can leave the hoses on perhaps all the time and use a valve to switch between normal operation and water changing.

    One valve to drain, one to fill.

    Tell the wife it'll save you lots of time/energy to spend with her more, less work and less mess.

    It's all true also.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tom, thanks.

    But re: fill line. If a fill line is brought into the room through the wall, a kitchen or sink faucette would have to be attached to the line on the inside of the room, yes?

    A whole sink fixture would not work in the room, so I'm not sure what my options are for what kind of fixture needs to be inside the room to permit mixing hot and cold. I had been prompted to explore a drain line only, but you are right - if I'm putting in a drain line it would make sense to complete the picture with a fill line also.

    What I remain curious on is, in these applications where plumbing is brought to rooms of a home where such plumbing ordinarily would be out of place, what type of fixture (for the fill line) will protrude into the room? Or what kinds of fixtures suit this purpose but remain low profile and don't require an entire sink.

    Of course the answer is "any kind you can buy at the hardware store - it's your house", but a sink faucet sticking out of a spare room wall seems odd so I'm curious how people handle this.

    "growitnow"
    Bob
     
  4. edacsac

    edacsac Prolific Poster

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    There are many simple ball type valves to use for a fill line faucet. Think of your shutoff valves under your sink. Those are very small. Also, if your going to run a couple of lines, you could build a little recess in the wall with a trap door you can flip up to access the valve, and a small cutout where the hoses can pass through when it's closed. A small electrical access style box painted the color of your walls would work well. Ideally it would be concealed behind the tank/stand anyway. If you need to sell your house, you can remove it and patch over it.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Have you ever seen those nice recessed faucet boxes they put into walls?
    They are off set and go into the wall about 4-6" and have the two lines coming out, one can be replaced with a drain etc or you can have a hot+ cold line and a drain.

    This looked decent and can be covered with a face plate when you are not changing any water etc.

    The advantage is that you do not need to dray out hoses through the home.
    But you can still do this same thing with hose remotely anywhere in a home etc.
    Just get some connectors and clamp, U shaped pvc pipe to use as a hanger for refill or drain.


    I hear people carry on about water changes and how they cannot do them etc etc, but if you own the home, can afford a big old fish tank, want to grow things relatively fast and clean things easily, it's well worth the $.

    If you own a pet, take good care of it.
    One of the best methods: do large weekly water changes.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Think about getting a shower valve, of the type that is designed to make sure the shower water is always at the same temperature. Those work by keeping the hot and cold water flows always in the same ratio. Plumb that near the water heater, and run the "shower" line up to the tank with a shut off valve just inside the wall. Once you set the "shower" temperature, it should stay at the same temperature until either your incoming cold water or water heater outlet temperatures change by a large amount.
     
  7. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    edacsac & Tom:
    Recessed vavle box great idea. We have one in laundry room, I had not thought of that.

    Vaughn:
    I have not heard of a "shower valve" that maintains stable water temperature, but that is a VERY useful suggestion. Plumber is coming this afternoon and I will ask about that.

    Last night I went to hardware store looking at faucets & valves, I did not see any hot+cold valves that were particularly low profile. Those I saw were the large jeweled shower or tub knobs, perhaps the plumber will have options or I can find something online.

    Good suggestions, thanks.


    "growitnow"
    Bob
     
  8. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    You could also do something like asking them to install a washing machine hookup fixture in the wall near the tank. That way you'd have a place to run your drain hose into and have the refill valves handy on a fixture that is designed to have hoses connected.

    I did the shower only valve thing for my tank and have it mounted on the inside of my aquarium stand to be out of sight. Just ran a hose from where the shower head attaches to my sump tank which is also located inside the stand. If you use solenoid valves to auto turn on for automatic water changes or top offs, make sure to connect one on the hot and one on the cold before the shower valve instead of one on the shower head output. I made this mistake, and it allowed my hot & cold water supplies to mix while the shower valve was on and the solenoid valve was off, had warm water from all faucets in the house, oooops, guess that's why I'm not a plumber. :D

    I drilled an overflow into the upper portion of the back side of my sump tank and connected it to a drain pipe I made come in thru the floor and tank stand. This way I can't accidently overfill the tank.
     
  9. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    vidiots:
    Very good information. Let me summarize my understanding of your set up, then ask a few questions.

    You have a hot line in, and a cold line in. These two lines go to your shower head. Shower head ouput goes to sump. Sump has overflow. Overflow goes to wastewater out.

    1) How do you regulate temperature of water in. Do you have a standard single-knob water mixer that you have to adjust each time you fill (as in most bathtubs or showers); or, do you have the 'constant temperature' shower valve?

    2) The overflow design is really great. "What if it overflows?" is not a trivial issue regardless of adequate safechecks put in place. Having overflow go to a bonafide drain line seems among the best 'safety' that I have seen.

    In my case, the tank is on the ground floor, and positive pressure for draining (or exit of overflow water in set up such as yours) would be created by turning on a separate hobby pump. The idea of overflow going to waste water is very attractive. Any suggestions for how to approach the "fail safe" kind of system you have, given gravity may not be sufficient to carry drain water?

    3) re: solenoids. I do not understand two aspects of the hot/cold mixing from solenoid use.

    (a) Assuming there is a single solenoid from shower head output to sump:
    If operating this solenoid which opens the line to water causes hot/cold water to be mixed throughout the house, this would imply that ANY time a shower head is used (e.g., for taking a shower in the bathroom) that the same problem would occur (hot and cold water would get mixed throughout the whole house).

    (b) Assuming there is one solenoid for the hot line and one solenoid for the cold line, with each installed before the shower head:
    Separate solenoids for hot and cold would not fix the issue. When both solenoids are operated, both lines are open, just as in the case above so the problem is the same.

    Let me predict my own misunderstanding - which surely comes from both a lack of plumbing experience in the house, or on tanks. If the undersirable hot/cold mixing does NOT occur when the shower head output is flowing (because positive pressure from hot and cold lines do not permit hot water to go into the cold line);

    then, the problem would only occur if the shower head is off, and there is only a single solenoid in the line between shower head output and the sum. But even in this case, what I don't get is why hot and cold input lines would be able to mix, if the shower head were in an off state, doesn't the shower head knob need to be in an "on/open" state to perimt either input line to flow?

    Sorry for the long descriptions, plumber is coming today. Though I don't have to make a decision immediately, I seek a better understanding of options/issues so I can better describe to plumber what needs to be done.

    Thanks, very helpful so far.

    "growitnow"
    Bob
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Delta makes several versions of a shower valve that maintains a constant shower water temperature. They are all essentially identical except for the trim. Once you set the temperature you want, you don't touch that valve again and everytime you take a shower the water is at that temperature. I'm sure the plumber knows about those valves.

    I don't see a way a shower valve left open with the outlet plugged or shut off with a solenoid or shut off valve, can mix hot and cold water throughout the house, if it is hooked up right. If that is even possible, a check valve in each water line to the shower valve would prevent it, by preventing reverse flow.

    If you plumb the drain from the tank to a plant bed and use that water to irrigate the plants, you should have more than enough head to drain without using a pump. I use a similar overflow to that described by vidiots - a drilled hole in the back of the tank with an elbow screwed on the inside of the tank with the top of the elbow at the desired water level. Mine is 1/2" pipe, and it drains to a planted area.

    The valves inside the house should not be bathroom fixture valves, but hardware store plain ball valves, which shut off with a 90 degree turn of the handle. The laundry room valve idea is a good one too, but keep the shower valve out of the room, where it isn't visible, and adjust it once and forget it after that. The problem with using a laundry room plumbing set up for a drain is that that drain is open to the air, thus allowing some smell and or vermin to enter the house. A good plumber will be able to prevent any problems of that type.
     
  11. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    As it turns out, the aquarium room is ajacent to my garage. The garage contains our water heater. I still haven't figured out the logistics of the actual fixtures, but I could have the hot and cold lines go to the temperature control valve, keeping that vavle in the garage. Then have the output of the temperature control valve come through a single pipe into the room.

    If I install a recessed box, then there would be only 3 things in it. The end point shut off valve which is turned to bring water in from the shower valve in the garage, the actual water line in, then a water line out. The in and out would have quick disconnects, if I do not hard plumb water lines to the actual tank.



    (example temperature control valves)
    Shower Valves - Thermostatic - Keidel Bath, Plumbing, Kitchen - Cincinnati, OH

    So, I would infer the volume control is the "open/closed" valve that allows water to flow, and the temp valve is the set-it-and-forget-it temperature valve.


    (problem with Delta valves - hopefully resoved by now)
    Delta Faucet Co. Recalls Bathtub and Shower Temperature Control Valves Due to Scald Hazard


    If anyone is willing to share them, I would welcome email pics of your fixture set up, and the site on the wall where input lines come into the room. PM me and I'll respond with my email address if that is not already accessible.

    I have found input so far quite valuable, but until I can see/hold a valve in hand I remain wondering how you actually seat these fixtures into the wall, and how the tubes from the wall get to the aquarium. In any event, thanks.
     
  12. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    In normal operation the mixed water flows out the output and when you shut it off it shuts off both the hot and cold inputs not the output. Check valves should also prevent the mixing of the two supplies. What happens when they are mixed with the output plugged is that if you turn on the hot water somewhere else the pressure in the hot supply drops and the pressure from the cold supply pushes it thru the open shower valve and into the hot line. My cheap quick temporary fix was just to turn the shower valve all the way to cold water only so that the hot supply is completely turned off and just do smaller daily water changes. A 10% cold water change does not drop the tank temp by more than a degree or two.
     
  13. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    Here is the pic of what I meant by the overflow drilled into the sump tank which is connected to the house drain. The black thing on the top of the stand pipe in back is a vent to allow air into the line so that water can drain properly.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of the same pipe from below the floor looking up. There is a "U" in the drain line that traps a small amount of water in the bottom of the U. This blocks any vapors from the septic system from getting into the house. If you look underneath any of your sinks or tubs you will see something similar connected in the drain line.
    [​IMG]

    Finally here is a bad picture of the water supply, shower & solenoid valves. I have since replaced the colapsed hose. The shower valve is just a standard Delta shower only valve purchased from the local hardware store. It like most modern shower valves is equiped with an anti-scald feature. The hot and cold water lines enter from below and the green solenoid valve is connected at the top where the shower head would normally go. The solenoid in plugged into a timer to turn it off and on. The output of the solenoid valve runs into the top of my sump tank.
    [​IMG]

    With this setup I don't drain out old water then refill with new clean water, instead I just add new clean water and the excess overflows out into the drain. Yes the excess overflowing is a mix of new and old water so I had to do some estimating to based on the flow rates to determine how much new water to add to achieve a 10% daily water change.

    With doing 10% daily changes instead of the 50% weekly changes, if I did the math correctly there is a worst case possibility of my max fert build up if not consumed by plants could slightly exeed the max 2x my weekly dose that comes with the standard EI method. I also calibrated some test kits and verified that I was not getting an excess build up of ferts just incase my math was wrong, which happens frequently. :)

    The down side of this setup is I go thru a lot of CO2 despite my efforts to minimize the rate of loss.

    The plus side of this setup is that it is the easiest tank I've ever owned to maintain, and it is increadibly stable, consistant and reliable.
     
  14. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    vidiots, very helpful, plus nice job.

    In the Tap Water Supply pic:

    So the breen bit is solenoid & p lug in pic = timer. When power goes to solenoid the green valve is opened and input water flows.

    I think I now understand your hot/cold mixing issue seeing the pic. If the shower valve is left in the open position (which it would have to be for the solenoid to gate flow), then hot and cold input would be mixed. When the solenoid is off (green solenoid valve closed) positive pressure from hot in and cold in cause mixing. If the green solenoid valve were open the same positive pressure causes negligible mixing because the hot in & cold in have a place to go - the sump.

    Is that a pressure-compensating shower valve, intended to maintain stable temperature? Or is it a "regular" shower valve that you have turned to achieve about right temp.

    In the Sump & Overflow pic:

    What is the purpose of the tall white PVC part and what is the back bit at its top. Is that what yoy meant by letting air in? If so, it would explain why the top of the tall PVC pipe is slightly higher than the water line in sump. Just talking out loud here to see if my understanding makes sense.

    Your "P" trap pic is also important, to make sure if one is installing a water waste line. A "good plumber" would consider this standard fair but the responsibility to make sure everything is in place that should be is of course whoever is signing the cheque

    I also was looking at VaughnH's old thread detailing his constant water change system (thanks for the ref, Vaughn).

    http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ge-system.html

    For others interested, I found this pressure compensating valve that is pretty low profile - but its lowest temperature ouput is too high for our use. If I can find similar products that have more flexibility in output temperature I will post it. I am no one's salespeson but these seem useful advances for aquarists.

    Cash Acme - Products - Thermostatics - HeatguardĀ® 145 Mini
     
  15. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    Will deliver output temperature in the range of 75 degrees. Cost $213.

    Leonard Valve Company - Product Details


    Rep said that temperature output should be fairly stable, even when ambient temperature changes (when cold water in cold line is colder because of winter, or warmer because of summer).

    I did learn that pressure compensating valves differ in mechanism, which is relevant to how low the low temp output can be. Wax element types need a greater temperature differential to work. This means when temperature outside is warmer and warms the cold water line it will be harder to get a lower termperature output.

    Metal bivlavles (not robotic clams!) require only a 5-8% temperature differential to work, which means when hot water line cools or cool water lines warm because of seasonal temp changes, these valves will be better equipped to deliver ouput temperature in the range for aquarium use.
     
  16. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    That is correct, the pipe extends above the waterlevel in the sump and has a black vent on the top that allows air to enter the pipe so that the water can flow freely.

    There are 2 overflows in the back of the tank to ensure that water can flow out faster than water is being added to the sump. The second one also functions as a backup incase the other somehow became clogged.

    It worked out to where I could have the shower valve on fully and have the drain keep up even though I was just guessing that 2 overflows would be fast enough. A low pressure gravity powered drain pipe will flow slower than a pressurized fill pipe of the same size. However the fact that I used a shower valve gave me some flexibility because if my overflows hadn't been fast enough, I could have just turned down the flow rate of incomming water.

    I know very little about plumbing, but like you when I put my system together I asked for as many opinions as I could get as I was designing it. Even showed my plans to a couple of plumbers who pointed out a few flaws and recommended some changes. Heck I even had to google how to glue PVC correctly. I did all the work myself figuring I always had the option of calling a plumber to fix any bad screwups. I still made a few minor mistakes, like the colapsed hose, and the water mixing, but managed to deal with them as they came up. I learned a great deal from that project and would definately do it again.
     
  17. jart

    jart Junior Poster

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    I know this is an old thread, but I am just wondering what the OP ended up with as a design.
     
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