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Thread: Advice Needed: Husband wants to split off water supply to Cow Barn(s)

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member babalina's Avatar
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    Default Advice Needed: Husband wants to split off water supply to Cow Barn(s)

    Hello,

    I married my husband about 2 years ago who is a dairy farmer. He sold his cows and now the dairy barn is empty, but has a separate barn on a hill with heifers. I am putting stuff in quotes here that I am not sure of but what the husband says..

    There are two wells on the property: one is outside and has a "broken pump" that is reputed to have a direct line to the heifer shed. This well used to part of a house that "burnt down" and is troublesome to keep the pressure switch from "freezing".

    The other well is in the basement of the farm house. I have lived there and the pressure switch sticks in freezing weather also. I told my husband to insulate it.

    Now: This farm house well has a "pipe that goes to the cow barn"...(which the cow barn is now empty) and then goes to the heifer barn". There are two shut off valves inside the soon to be frozen cow barn on entrance and exit about 8 feet high up where the pipe comes in and out of the cow barn full of expensive milking pipe lines and water cut systems. Soon to be frozen and broken.
    (In case readers are not aware of it, cows body heat keep a barn warm in winter). Oh, the hot water heater in the milk house needs to drained and those pipes also.

    My husband wants to dig a huge trench and make a bypass and split the underground pipe outside so the other end will split off after the water exit to the heifer shed. He proposes to spit the pipe underground before it makes its entrance to the empty cow barn and then split and connect the other end of the bypass on the exit of the water pipe.

    He then proposes to put "heat tapes) on the entry exit of the 8 foot section of pipe in -30 F Wisconsin Weathers.
    I don't feel this will work because the 1) water pressure, 2) heat tapes break and won't keep it warm enough.
    I feel that he should fix the broken well that goes to the heifer shed and look for some type of outdoor well solution, is there one? Then he can go ahead and turn off the water valve to the barn(s) from the farm house one and drain all the pipes and cow cups.

    Please help me, please.

  2. #2
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    The only thing you can count on is that pipes underground deep enough won't freeze, and Grainger has a good pump house heater.

  3. #3
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babalina View Post
    and is troublesome to keep the pressure switch from "freezing".

    and the pressure switch sticks in freezing weather also. I told my husband to insulate it.

    I don't feel this will work because the 1) water pressure, 2) heat tapes break and won't keep it warm enough.
    Insulating a pressure switch that doesn't generate its own heat won't help. A 4 W incand. bulb, 120v or 12v [safer in wet environments], may be enough at each switch. Then insulate, enclosing the switch and the lamp.

    The heat tape people can advise you on how much wattage per foot you'd need for this application, and their heat tape reliability, expressed in MTBF [Mean Time Between Failures].

    I don't see how pipe freezing relates to water pressure.

    A person at rest generates about 100 W of heat so I guess a cow generates 2x or 3x this much. This will give you some idea of how much heat it will take to prevent problems.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 09-24-2010 at 11:21 AM.

  4. #4
    Porky Cutter,MGWC Porky's Avatar
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    There are too many variables here and I don't want there to be a family disagreement. I suggest the person ask his friendly plumber or pump installer to advise him. Many people will help with free advise if just asked.
    Porky Cutter, MGWC
    (Master Ground Water Consultant)

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