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#486123 - 02/14/18 11:57 AM Aeration installs, condensation and failure
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 749
Loc: in the mountains
Just making a quick post for anyone planning to install aeration.

I have probably heard it said 50 times" It is cheaper to run air than electricity" and "you can run air 1,000' before you have any losses due to friction".

While both of those statements may be true......

If you are going to run your airline 1,000' you better have a heck of a plan to deal with the condensation and you better be good at installing lines on grade. One little dip in the line where condensation can pile up will cost you some serious losses either in CFM or increased AMP draw on your pump. If you think you are going to rent a trencher and just put it in here or there, go around this, etc, etc you are mistaken. Don't even get me started on what will happen if your line freezes.

So, while it may be CHEAPER to run air I do not 100% agree it is BETTER or EASIER.

Spoken from a guy who is currently taking a serious beating from Mother Nature. AND I have put lots of stuff on grade. Just didn't realize how important it would be with my airlines. I NEVER saw that posted anywhere so wanted to get it out there.
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#486132 - 02/14/18 02:32 PM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: wbuffetjr]
Redonthehead Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 104
Loc: Missouri
Just thinking out loud as I am no expert, but perhaps a bulk air tank immediately after the pump to catch the condensate before it enters the line? Regular air compressor tanks have a drain on the bottom to dump out water buildup. They also make water separator filters but they may not handle the volume of air you have.
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#486135 - 02/14/18 02:43 PM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: wbuffetjr]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3879
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I guess that if you are running electric underground, in most places, that would require a trench that is below the frost line, so laying an air hose instead should not create a freeze problem. I have some 2" poly line that I hoped to use from the compressor to the pond edge, and then choke down to regular weighted aeration line. It would seem that any water in the line would not cause that much resistance compared to the water above the deffuser in the pond. I am no engineer and would like to hear from one if I am thinking right?

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#486138 - 02/14/18 03:26 PM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 749
Loc: in the mountains
Freezing is only one possible problem, although maybe the biggest.

If you have a two inch line and it has a 1" dip in it that allows the condensation to collect there you now have a 1" airline. If it has a 2", 3" or 4" dip in it that collects the condensation you are now having to push air through that water and will have an increased AMP draw/reduced flow.

In my scenario my airline is buried 2' deep. Only problem is I have the valve box close to the lake. I could not put the valve box 2' deep because we would have been below the water line. Would have needed to be MUCH deeper than 2' to maintain any kind of grade at all. The airline comes up a few inches right at the end to meet the valves. That made a huge condensation trap that initially led to a 30% increase in the power drawn and then eventually froze up somewhere.
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#486141 - 02/14/18 03:31 PM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: Redonthehead]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 749
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: Redonthehead
Just thinking out loud as I am no expert, but perhaps a bulk air tank immediately after the pump to catch the condensate before it enters the line? Regular air compressor tanks have a drain on the bottom to dump out water buildup. They also make water separator filters but they may not handle the volume of air you have.


That would work if the setup was at your house. My location is very remote and a tank would require someone to drain, somewhere to drain, etc.

I will set mine up to be on grade all the way into 5-6' of water. Problem solved with no "moving parts".
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#486146 - 02/14/18 05:09 PM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1654
Loc: West Michigan
So you can put it above ground and don't worry about freezing as long as the condensation just keeps flowing downhill?

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#486150 - 02/14/18 06:09 PM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: canyoncreek]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 749
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
So you can put it above ground and don't worry about freezing as long as the condensation just keeps flowing downhill?


I do not want to guarantee that, but I am almost positive that it is true. There are 3 aeration systems on our mountain that have worked perfectly all Winter.

One is my small windmill. By pure CHANCE when I initially installed that airline it was running downhill all the way into fairly deep water. It has NEVER frozen up. Had almost a continuous hole open this Winter.

Two, a new neighbor up there installed a Vertex solar rig this year. After we discovered we were having condensation issues in early November, he corrected his airline about a week later and made sure it was downhill all the way. His little Vertex rig has now had a hole open all Winter this year.

Three, our association installed a new American Eagle windmill this past October. Again, after our condensation issues they ran their line fairly quickly into deep water and made sure no low spots. What do you know, they have a hole open.

So there are three example systems I have seen with my own eyes that are not having any condensation problems while my system is shot. None of those airlines are buried. One of them is even the same brand windmill as mine! To me, that is pretty compelling evidence.

EDIT: Again, to clarify. I am still learning here. The mountain keeps teaching me lessons. I THINK I have things figured out and then get blindsided. Maybe I am wrong and something else is going on. If something else is going on I wish someone could save me the 365 days and just tell me!


Edited by wbuffetjr (02/14/18 06:11 PM)
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#486156 - 02/15/18 08:32 AM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: wbuffetjr]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3879
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Looks like I need to use the transit when I install the supply line.

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#486158 - 02/15/18 10:56 AM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: wbuffetjr]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5440
Loc: Boone County Illinois
I think you are correct that assuring the line is at a down grade with no low spots is key. My winter line is at substantial down grade with no low spots. To date (year 4), I've had no freezing condensation issues and we have a significant number of days subzero every winter.
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#486161 - 02/15/18 11:24 AM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: wbuffetjr]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3879
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Will probably add a down-facing valve on the downside of the larger pipe (in a pit) as well to drain off condensate if needed.

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#486171 - 02/15/18 03:36 PM Re: Aeration installs, condensation and failure [Re: RAH]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 749
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: RAH
Will probably add a down-facing valve on the downside of the larger pipe (in a pit) as well to drain off condensate if needed.


RAH I think that is a great idea.

I know the initial concern for most is the line freezing up. To me any condensation in the line is a big deal even if it only causes the pump to have to work harder. Who knows what that increased AMP draw would end up costing per year.
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