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#352807 - 10/03/13 09:39 PM Frost free water valve for pond
timshufflin Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 207
Loc: Jerome, MI
Some may know that I have just completed a .10 acre pond that is about 10 to 11 feet deep. My pond does leak some and it seems that it takes about 5 gpm to keep it topped off. What I'm trying to do is keep the pond topped off automatically like I did with my livestock watering tanks.

On my livestock tanks it was easy, I put heat tape around a frost free hydrant and around a pipe which connected right to a float valve in the tank. The tank itself had a heater in it and all was good. This is not so easy with my pond.

What I was thinking was next spring running 1" pipe below the frost line down to the pond and have a frost free faucet at the pond. What good would this do for me though? In the winter the frost free faucet would be exposed to the elements and I really don't want heat tape looking all goofy around a feeder pipe to a float valve.

Does anyone have photo's of an automatic pressure or float valve that they have in their pond? One that is frost free? I have aeration so I think I could at least keep that area of water iceless. It's important that the setup look "clean".

Any ideas, anyone?

As an aside, my apologies if this is not in the right area. I had no idea where to post this.


Edited by timshufflin (10/03/13 09:41 PM)
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#352810 - 10/03/13 09:51 PM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
esshup Offline
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Take a look at this page. I think something like that will work if you put an aerator near it to keep the water around it open during the winter.
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#352815 - 10/03/13 11:05 PM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: esshup]
timshufflin Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 207
Loc: Jerome, MI
Originally Posted By: esshup
Take a look at this page. I think something like that will work if you put an aerator near it to keep the water around it open during the winter.


Those are what I used for cattle. The input line would freeze as soon as the demand for water was met. The faucet would also freeze if outside.
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#352818 - 10/04/13 01:11 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
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Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
K. Version #2. I don't know that much about electric, so I don't know exactly how it'd work, but the electrician that one of my clients uses says that he could rig it to work.

In ditches, he uses 2 bare wires. When the water gets high enough to cover both wires, a pump is turned on to pump down the ditch. He said that he could rig up the same system, but just in reverse to shut the well off when the 2nd wire touches the water. I have no idea what voltage is involved in this set-up.

How to configure the pipe from the well so it doesn't freeze is the question. Maybe open end, and a slope so it is self draining into the pond once the power is turned off? Make sure that the whole pipe is below the frost line.
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#352829 - 10/04/13 06:46 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
DonoBBD Offline


Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1956
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
Originally Posted By: timshufflin
Some may know that I have just completed a .10 acre pond that is about 10 to 11 feet deep. My pond does leak some and it seems that it takes about 5 gpm to keep it topped off. What I'm trying to do is keep the pond topped off automatically like I did with my livestock watering tanks.

On my livestock tanks it was easy, I put heat tape around a frost free hydrant and around a pipe which connected right to a float valve in the tank. The tank itself had a heater in it and all was good. This is not so easy with my pond.

What I was thinking was next spring running 1" pipe below the frost line down to the pond and have a frost free faucet at the pond. What good would this do for me though? In the winter the frost free faucet would be exposed to the elements and I really don't want heat tape looking all goofy around a feeder pipe to a float valve.

Does anyone have photo's of an automatic pressure or float valve that they have in their pond? One that is frost free? I have aeration so I think I could at least keep that area of water iceless. It's important that the setup look "clean".

Any ideas, anyone?

As an aside, my apologies if this is not in the right area. I had no idea where to post this.


You know what you need is a electronic valve that is placed below the frost line and a float system to turn it on and off. In the summer I fill my pond from a creek with two sump pumps that pump 4300gph each. I need to pull the pumps when it starts to get cold and freeze. The 2" water line has a coupler and the power is wired in a sealed box. Un do the coupler and un plug done for the winter.

If you could keep your floats in your pond free of ice and your on off valve in the frost line. Arrange the valve like a frost free so when the water is turned off it drains into a gravel bed below the frost line. Your up right then will be clear of water when valve is off.

This is how I would have at it. Don't know if there is a off the shelf valve system.

Cheers Don.
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#352830 - 10/04/13 06:47 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
timshufflin Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 207
Loc: Jerome, MI
I guess I needed to fill in the rest of the scenario. I'm using my home well. My Geo well will keep up at 38gpm. It is a variable speed pump and pretty energy efficient as well.

What I want to do is T into one of my current frost free hydrants about 150 feet away and bring down a 1" line below the frost line. Doing this it seems I have no way to use a valve type system during the winter because the hydrant handle would have to be on (under pressure) during the winter and would freeze solid.

The other way this could be done is running a line from the house and thus getting rid of the need of a hydrant on the pond end. Still though, As soon as I put a valve out where the valve is exposed to the air, I'm frozen. Only thing I can think of is if the line came in under the water line and was aimed upwards. My imagination is failing me on this one.
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#352832 - 10/04/13 07:12 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: DonoBBD]
timshufflin Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 207
Loc: Jerome, MI
Originally Posted By: DonoBBD
Originally Posted By: timshufflin
Some may know that I have just completed a .10 acre pond that is about 10 to 11 feet deep. My pond does leak some and it seems that it takes about 5 gpm to keep it topped off. What I'm trying to do is keep the pond topped off automatically like I did with my livestock watering tanks.

On my livestock tanks it was easy, I put heat tape around a frost free hydrant and around a pipe which connected right to a float valve in the tank. The tank itself had a heater in it and all was good. This is not so easy with my pond.

What I was thinking was next spring running 1" pipe below the frost line down to the pond and have a frost free faucet at the pond. What good would this do for me though? In the winter the frost free faucet would be exposed to the elements and I really don't want heat tape looking all goofy around a feeder pipe to a float valve.

Does anyone have photo's of an automatic pressure or float valve that they have in their pond? One that is frost free? I have aeration so I think I could at least keep that area of water iceless. It's important that the setup look "clean".

Any ideas, anyone?

As an aside, my apologies if this is not in the right area. I had no idea where to post this.


You know what you need is a electronic valve that is placed below the frost line and a float system to turn it on and off. In the summer I fill my pond from a creek with two sump pumps that pump 4300gph each. I need to pull the pumps when it starts to get cold and freeze. The 2" water line has a coupler and the power is wired in a sealed box. Un do the coupler and un plug done for the winter.

If you could keep your floats in your pond free of ice and your on off valve in the frost line. Arrange the valve like a frost free so when the water is turned off it drains into a gravel bed below the frost line. Your up right then will be clear of water when valve is off.

This is how I would have at it. Don't know if there is a off the shelf valve system.

Cheers Don.


This may have legs. I believe I can keep the floats free of ice, we'll see, I just don't know about that valve. I guess I need to find one of these electronic valves and see what they look like. I was trying to stay away from electricity but there may be no way around it.
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#352844 - 10/04/13 09:17 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Take a look at an electric valve like they use in automated lawn sprinkler systems.
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#352962 - 10/05/13 09:51 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
JKB Offline
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Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 6692
Loc: Michigan
What I would do is run a line from the house. Install a ball valve, solenoid valve and check valve at the house. Pump the water to your pond under the frost line and be done with that part.

As far a level goes.
For a clean, reliable and safe installation, I would use conductivity sensors (switches). They are not mechanical, therefore ice won't mess them up. These would be a single point device, so one for upper level, and one for lower level.

The trick to using level sensors or switches in an open BOW for control of other devices is to use some form of debounce. What I mean by this, is an open BOW is prone to ripples, waves and water activity. A switch or sensor is a dumb device and can not determine if esshup is buzzing around his pond in a boat because Bill Cody told him to do so to break up the dead FA. Need something a bit smarter on the other end to determine what's going on.

Even filling up a tank with a level switch, you still need a debounce. You can chatter the device you are controlling without one, and depending on the device, could shorten its operational life quite considerably.

The simplest form of debounce is to use a timing device. Time delay before any other devices kick in. This determines if it's real. Switch is made for [X] amount of time, then it's OK to proceed.

You can use timing relays and relay logic, but it's much more cost effective to use a PLC.

Quick note on the 2 wire esshup mentioned. It will work, but won't tell anyone how to do this. Way too easy to red neck and get someone killed. Plus, it's not reliable and there is a whole Pandora's Box of potential consequences.

I myself like Ultrasonic sensors. If you get bored, you can open up the electronic chart recorder and watch the wave action wink

You can also use pressure sensors under water for level. Really complicated and are specifically built for the BOW or vessel.

Just not good at red neck stuff, so you can all disregard any post I submit to.




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#352967 - 10/05/13 10:15 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: JKB]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
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Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Thanks JKB!

I agree, safety first.
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#352972 - 10/05/13 10:44 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
What if you brought the water line into the pond beneath the freeze line, then took a float valve setup like what Esshup posted to, and separated the float from the valve? This would allow you to place the valve itself underwater on the feed line, away from the danger of freezing. You would need to fabricate a new linkage system to connect the float, which will still be on the surface, down to the valve.

If you're able to keep the area of the float ice-free with aeration, I think it could work. In regards to the debounce that JKB speaks of, I keep drawing a comparison to an item in my line of work....hydrostatically driven machines often utilize dampeners, to prevent jerkiness while under operation. You've seen those little "shocks" that hold up hatchbacks and trunk lids? They manufacture those in some pretty small sizes.

I believe one of those could be adapted to reduce unwanted motion of the float.
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#352993 - 10/05/13 09:37 PM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1935
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
I thought you could use a float (toilet) valve in an overturned container with insulation of some kind over the top. A pipe connects the container to the pond water water underground. A small vent hole in the overturned container acts as a dampener. Run the well water through the container and pipe, which if run often enough will keep the water thawed. The pipe must be large enough for the water flow from the well to prevent backing up and tripping the float prematurely.

Just some thoughts for electric free.
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#352996 - 10/05/13 10:07 PM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: sprkplug]
JKB Offline
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Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 6692
Loc: Michigan
Getting close spark. Even with the ultrasonics ya need to install a damper or baffle system. Still need to do debounce on really rough days, that's why being programmable is a nice feature.

Typical ultrasonic set-up:



Measuring inside of a tube will be much more accurate because the water level inside the tube will be more about pressure level than water surface fluctuations. The deeper the PVC tube is, the better, so put it close to the bottom without filling it with debris.

You could use other types of switches in a rig like this, but there are other way's to isolate what's happening on the pond surface to get accurate level indications for control. This is just plain simple and works! Most will be similar tho, but the tube works best.

I figured I would post this for esshup to keep him awake at night wink laugh

Back to the OP:
You mentioned a variable speed pump. What is this animal? Manufacturer and model number of the control would help. The pump itself is a dumb gizmo and needs to be told what to do, therefore, that's what the control does.

If you get me the information, and the engineering manuals are online, I'll read them and tell you what you have. You could have something smart enough to do the pond gig or a dumb black box for pressure control. Don't know, but if your well guy installed it, quite possibly a dumb black box for residential service.

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#353539 - 10/11/13 07:46 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
timshufflin Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 207
Loc: Jerome, MI
Okay, I read all your fine suggestions and did some thinking/looking/investigating. I finally came to the realization that I didn't want something so complicated as a float system. Here's what I did;

I have a geo thermal heating/cooling system

The system has a 4" pipe taking the discharge from open loop to the pond

I had my geo guy come over and look to see if he could tap into the main well line in the house and give me a valve to regulate 5gpm to the geo discharge 4" pipe

The geo guy tapped in, installed a ball valve, we found a spot on the valve which gave me 5gpm, then discharged the water right into the existing 4" pipe.


I can turn the water on and off as needed, adjust the flow, it's frost free, all is good.

Thank you all for the brainstorming.
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#353594 - 10/11/13 05:22 PM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
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Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Sounds like it was a pretty easy fix. Thanks for telling us how you did it!
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#353599 - 10/11/13 06:29 PM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
timshufflin Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 207
Loc: Jerome, MI
I would be selfish if I never followed up. What fun is this stuff if you don't give your results smile

On another note, because of where this was T'd into, I can get up to 30gpm into the pond if I want to. I can't go that high though, it robs the rest of the house from water if the GEO is on as well. My pump will only put out 38gpm at the head.
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#353609 - 10/11/13 08:22 PM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: timshufflin]
JKB Offline
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Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 6692
Loc: Michigan
Glad you found a solution you like.




Edited by JKB (10/11/13 11:15 PM)

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#353960 - 10/15/13 07:27 AM Re: Frost free water valve for pond [Re: JKB]
timshufflin Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 207
Loc: Jerome, MI
Originally Posted By: JKB
Glad you found a solution you like.




For the money, it appears to be the best solution. If money were no object, I'd get a bit more creative.
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