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Thread: venting a ball valve for freeze protection

  1. #1
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    venting a ball valve for freeze protection

    Winter is here with a fury this year. It's arrived MUCH earlier than normal and I don't like it one bit. I was outside last night doing my yearly drain valve protection which really just consists of packing hay or mulch around all drain valves and putting plastic over the top to keep the insulation dry. This has protected things well enough in the past but I still worry that it's not enough. I intend to vent all of my ball valves in the spring to keep the pocked of water that gets trapped inside the ball a place to drain out. I know it can be done two ways. One way is to drill into the ball on the down-stream side so that when the ball is closed, the inside the ball drains out. the other is to drill a hole into the valve body, again so that the water can drain out of the ball when the valve is closed. What I don't know is how big the hole needs to be? Has anyone done this before?

  2. #2
    Oyagoi
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    why do you need it 100% drained out?

    shoot just a little bit of water say less then 10% will not expand enough to make enough ice to crack ball valve.( i am taking both sides of ball valve are "empty" and drain valve is open

    do not know what line and all the makeup but if wanting even more maybe hook a shop vac up and try drawing the last few drops out.

  3. #3
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    this line is not empty. The filters are running and this is the drain line that goes from the filters to waste. When the ball valve closes, a pocket of water is trapped inside the ball. Ball valves freeze and break because the water inside the ball has no where to go. But if I drill a hole in either the side of the valve so that the water inside the ball has a place to drain, or drill a hole in one side of the ball so that it can drain out when the valve is closed, it would prevent freeze damage. I am just not sure how big the hole should be.

  4. #4
    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaGirl View Post
    this line is not empty. The filters are running and this is the drain line that goes from the filters to waste. When the ball valve closes, a pocket of water is trapped inside the ball. Ball valves freeze and break because the water inside the ball has no where to go. But if I drill a hole in either the side of the valve so that the water inside the ball has a place to drain, or drill a hole in one side of the ball so that it can drain out when the valve is closed, it would prevent freeze damage. I am just not sure how big the hole should be.
    I've never done this so buyer beware... but seems like a small hole like 1/4" or 3/8" in the ball itself, on the waste side when closed, would be sufficient to drain the ball assuming the plumbing goes downhill from there. Being on the waste side, the valve shouldn't leak when shut. You would have to drill it close to the bottom and clean the burrs off well so it doesn't damage the seal when you open and close the valve. The smaller the hole the more chance of something in the waste water clogging it up... too large and you could weaken the ball enough to leak around the seals.

    I guess a similar hole in the valve itself would also work because the seals would keep the water from getting into the hole from the tank when closed. Hard to drill low enough to empty the valve unless you mounted the valve sideways though.

    BTW: What a smart idea...I have never seen this done before and I used to live in a cold area.

  5. #5
    Fry Scott Kendall's Avatar
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    My guess is that in Carolina they will not break.I have 4 undrained ball valves on my pond.They have been running all year for at least 10 years with sub zero winters.I'm sure our winters here in Ohio are much colder than anything you will experience.

  6. #6
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
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    At some point ball valves all have to be replaced. Why not insert unions on either side of the valve. You can then be sure the "dry side of the valve is dry and you will be have made changing the valve when needed so much easier.

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