Browse Categories
 

How To Design Your Watering System

To determine the components that you will need to install an automated watering system in your animal facility, you should first review the installation methods below and the options detailed on pages 12 - 15. After deciding which basic installation method will work in your facility, you must select and determine the quantity of all components required.

You may find it helpful to draw a layout of your facility and cage arrangement to scale on graph paper. This will make it easier to calculate the length of the distribution piping lines, as well as the quantity of fittings and Drinking Valves.

As you prepare your list, be sure you select the proper components from each of the basic groups in a watering system:
 

A -

Drinking Valve

B -

Distribution System

C -

Water Supply

Installation Methods

Whether you select to set up your automated watering system using the Flex-Tube Piping System, Rigid PVC Piping System or a combination of both, there are several basic system design principles that you need to consider as you do your layout and prepare your parts list:

1. Place the drinking valves on the side of the cage at a location and height that the animal can easily reach. The drinking valve should not be located in the nesting area, nor should it be located immediately above the feeding station.

2. Run lateral lines as near horizontal as possible; avoid going up and over an obstacle and back to horizontal. The reason for this is to avoid high points in the line where air pockets can form, which cannot be easily flushed out.

Lateral lines are the piping lines that run the length of the cages and to which the drinking valves are connected. Header lines are used to interconnect multiple lateral lines to the water supply.

3. All lines should be laid out and installed with a drain valve at the end. On initial start-up, these drain valves must be opened to allow the water to fill the lines and push out all the air inside the lines. In addition, good management practice requires that you flush the water lines once a week to ensure the freshness of the water to your animals.

4. In larger facilities requiring long runs of piping lines, the water supply (gravity tank or pressure regulator) should be located centrally. This assures balanced water pressures throughout the system.

5. The lengths of the lateral lines and the number of drinking valves connected to the lateral lines should not exceed the recommendations for the option of distribution piping and water supply selected. Exceeding these limits can result in reduced water discharge rates from the Drinking Valves at the end of the lines, leading to the potential dehydration of the animals being served by those valves.

Option 1. Typical 3/16 Flex-Tube System
Below is an example of a design layout sketch for an Automated Watering System for cages arranged on shelves or a rack structure with one or more tiers. Most commonly, the Flex-Tube system is mounted along the front of the cages. The lateral line is located either on the top or along the bottom of the cage row to avoid interference with doors or feeders.
 
Automated Small Animal Watering System
 
 
Legend and Layout Guidelines

Automated Watering Water Supply

Water Supply - Either a Pressure Regulator or a Gravity supply can be used. If a Gravity supply is used, mount the tank 12 -36 inches above the top row of cages.

Edstrom Drinking Valve

Drinking Valve with 3/16 connection , 1000-8000, or 1000-0766 - One per cage.Valve Clip, 1100-7440 or 1100-0867-100 - One per valve.

Edstrom Tee Connector

Tee Connector, 1610-1656 - One per valve.

Edstrom Tubing Stand Off

Tubing Stand-Off , 1100-7273-316 - Install one clip at each Tee and one every 18 inches for additional support. Do not space support clips further than 18 inches apart.

Edstrom Flex Tube

3/16 Flex-Tube, 1600-1654 - when calculating the footage required, DON'T FORGET to include the short lengths required to make the connection from the Tee fitting to the drinking valves. Maximum number of drinking valves supplied by a single line is 75. Maximum length of a lateral line is 50 ft.

Edstrom Shut-Off Valve

Shut-Off Valve, 2000-4510-316 - Optional one per lateral line.

Edstrom Drain Valve

Drain Valve, 2020-1125 - One at end of each lateral line.

 
3/16 Flex Tube System Components

Average Quantity of Components Needed Per Cage
Cage Width
18"
24"
30"
36"
48"
Drinking Valve, 1000-8000
1
1
1
1
1
Valve Clip, 1100-7440
1
1
1
1
1
- OR -
 
 
 
 
 
Drinking Valve, 1000-0766
1
1
1
1
1
Valve Clip, 1100-0867-100
1
1
1
1
1
Tee Connector, 1610-1656
1
1
1
1
1
Tubing Stand-Off, 1100-7273-316
1
2
2
2
3
3/6 Flex Tube, 1600-1654 (includes 12" length piece to each valve)
2.5 ft
3 ft
3.5 ft
4 ft
5 ft
Important
For each lateral line include:
One Drain Valve, 2020-1125
One Tubing Stand-off, 1100-7273-316
One Shut-off Valve, 2000-4510-316, per lateral line, optional
Don't forget to add 3/16 Flex Tube from your water supply to your system!

Option 2. Typical 5/16 Flex-Tube System
For larger facilities having cage rows over 50 ft long and/or requiring over 75 Drinking Valves, the 5/16 Flex-Tube system provides the answer. The larger diameter 5/16 Flex-Tube, with its higher water capacity, is used for the lateral lines with 3/16 Flex-Tube used at each Tee to connect to the Drinking Valve. The drawing below shows a typical layout.
 

Edstrom Flex Tube Automated Watering System

 
 
Legend and Layout Guidelines

Automated Watering Water Supply

Water Supply - A Pressure Regulator can supply up to 600 Drinking Valves when connected to multiple lines. If a Gravity Supply is used a maximum of 75 Drinking Valves can be supplied.

Edstrom Drinking Valve

Drinking Valve, 1000-8000, or 1000-0766, with 3/16 connection - One per cage. Valve Clip, 1100-7440 or 1100-0867-100 - One per valve.

Edstrom Tee Connector

Tee Connector, 1610-5174-355, 5/16 barb x 5/16 barb x 3/16 barb - One per valve.

Edstrom Tubing Stand Off

Tubing Stand-Off , 1100-7273-380 - Install one clip at each Tee and one every 18 inches for additional support. Do not space clips further than 18 inches apart.

Edstrom Flex Tube

5/16 Flex-Tube, 1600-K-30 - used for lateral line. Maximum number of drinking valves supplied by a single line is 200 total. Maximum length of a lateral line is 100 ft. DON'T FORGET to include tube from water supply line to your system.

Edstrom Flex Tube

3/16 Flex-Tube, 1600-1654 - used for the short connection between the Tee connector and the drinking valve.

Edstrom Shut-Off Valve

Shut-Off Valve, 2000-4510-516 - Optional one per lateral line.

Edstrom Drain Valve

Drain Valve, 2020-3095-516 - One at the end of each lateral line.

 
5/16 Flex Tube System Components

Average Quantity of Components Needed Per Cage
Cage Width
18"
24"
30"
36"
48"
Drinking Valve, 1000-8000
1
1
1
1
1
Valve Clip, 1100-7440
1
1
1
1
1
- OR -
 
 
 
 
 
Drinking Valve, 1000-0766
1
1
1
1
1
Valve Clip, 1100-0867-100
1
1
1
1
1
Tee Connector, 1610-5174-355
1
1
1
1
1
Tubing Stand-Off, 1100-7273-380
1
2
2
2
3
5/16 Flex Tube, 1600-K-30

1.5 ft

2 ft

2.5 ft

3 ft

4 ft

3/6 Flex Tube, 1600-1654
1 ft
1 ft
1 ft
1 ft
1 ft
Important
For each lateral line include:
One Drain Valve, 2020-3095-516
One Tubing Stand-off, 1100-7273-380
One Shut-off Valve, 2000-4510-516, per lateral line, optional
Don't forget to add 5/16 Flex Tube from your water supply to your system!

Option 3. Typical Rigid PVC Pipe Layout
Rigid PVC pipe can be used for large facilities requiring lines over 100 ft or having over 200 drinking valves. Rigid PVC pipe is the preferred piping system for animals and birds that have the agility and strength to pull the Flex-Tube system off the cage. The drawing below shows a typical layout with rigid PVC pipe.
Automated Small Animal Watering Systems
Legend and Layout Guidelines

Automated Watering Water Supply

Water Supply - A Pressure Regulator can supply up to 600 Drinking Valves. If a Gravity Supply is used a maximum of 75 Valves can be supplied. (A Flex-Hose Hookup Kit, 7450-5400, is available to make the connection between the water supply and the rigid PVC piping.

Edstrom Rigid PVC Drinking Valve

Drinking Valve, 1000-8010, or 1000-0768, with 1/8 mpt connection - One per cage. Tee Adapter Fitting, 1630-2914-100, 1/2 soc x 1/2 soc x 1/8 fpt - One per valve.

PVC Pipe

1/2 PVC Pipe, Maximum number of drinking valves supplied by a single line is 600. The Maximum length of a lateral line is 300 ft.

Wire Pipe Tie

Wire Pipe Tie, 0120-F-50T - One per valve. The pipe should be supported every 36 inches or less, install additional supports as required.

Edstrom Shut-Off Valve

Shut-Off Valve, 2000-H-900 1/2 soc x 1/2 soc- Optional one per lateral line.

Edstrom Drain Valve

Drain Valve, 2020-4043 and 1630-9028-001- One at the end of each lateral line.

 
Edstrom Pipe Cutters
Important Assembly Tip
 
Do not use a saw to cut the PVC pipe to length. This produces many fine particles of plastic which fall inside the pipe, are very difficult to flush out and later can become lodged in the Drinking Valve, causing leaks. Use Edstrom’s Pipe Cutter Tool, 0129-HV-100.
Combination Rigid PVC / Flex-Tube Plumbing System

In some facilities it may prove advantageous to install the plumbing for the automated watering system using a combination of Rigid PVC pipelines and/or Flex-Tube lines.

In larger facilities having multiple racks of small cages, it is suggested that larger diameter piping, either the 5/16 Flex-Tube or 1/2 Rigid PVC, be used for the distribution piping around the room walls with outlets for connecting each rack of cages. The rack of cages can then be set up with the standard 3/16 Flex-Tube System connected to the outlet in distribution piping. In the two drawings below the two methods are shown and the special components required are identified.

Option 4:
5/16 Flex-Tube Distribution Line and 3/16 Flex-Tube Cage Lines

 

Edstrom Flex Tube Distribution Line
Option 5:
1/2 Rigid PVC Distribution Lines and 3/16 Flex-Tube Cage Lines

 

Edstrom Rigid PVC Distribution Lines
Option 6:
System with 5/16 Flex-Tube Distribution Lines and 1/2 Rigid PVC Cage Lines
Another variation of the combination plumbing system is the use of Rigid PVC pipe for the cage lines and 5/16 Flex-Tube for the interconnecting, and distribution lines. The figure below shows an example of such an arrangement and the special fittings that are available.
 

Edstrom Flex Tube Distribution Lines