Best Float Valve Fiberglass Tank Options
I wanted to continue on our series about the setups for different kinds of livestock tanks. Best Float Valves function superbly well no matter the tank setup, but there are some differences in the installation. For this one, I wanted to look at fiberglass tanks.
If you are plumbing from the bottom of the tank, we shy away from hooking the valves to PEX or PVC pipes because of the torque the lever can apply to the pipe. They are also more easily broken by livestock. Instead, transition from PEX or PVC under the fiberglass to a stainless steel or brass pipe nipple that extends into the tank to the float valve. We recommend that the pipe nipple extend approximately 3" from the top of the fiberglass for valves with a straight arm. If your pipe comes up higher (less than 6" from the top of the water), any of our float valve kits can come with a bent arm. This will allow the valve to be as low as possible in the water and still permit the valve to open fully. With the bent arm, the pipe nipple can extend approximately 5".
We also have Riser Kits to help mount from the bottom if you have need of them. They are made of schedule 40 galvanized pipe with 4" thread on one end. They eliminate the need to solder the inlet pipe and can also be used for overflow into additional tanks. For the riser kit, we recommend drilling a hole through the bottom, connecting the pipe to our Riser Kit and our valve to that. Sealing with silicone is very helpful. The riser kits come from 3/4" to 2" and come in galvanized or stainless steel.
Some need to plumb from the top side of the tank. Our Side Mount Kits are an extremely durable solution for that situation. Measure your tank(s) at the widest part of the lip to determine what size will suit. They come in multiple sizes for your convenience and can pair with our high volume or standard valves. I would not use the high volume side mount kit on the fiberglass tank due to the stress on the tank. I would put a couple of posts in next to the tank, attach a 2x6 (or similar size) to those posts and then mount the valve off of that board. You can mount the pipe to that board with some u-bolts and then just invert the valve at the bottom of the pipe.
A drain pipe is not absolutely necessary, but if it is convenient, go ahead and put one on in especially if you are going to install ice prevention products. It will be easier to clean the tank and you won't have to siphon or pump it out.The standard level for an overflow pipe is 1-2" from the top of the tank, or full if the wind won't bother it.
If your pressure is pushing 90 psi, then we recommend sizing up on the floats to handle that. The side mount kit loses some of the capability for pressure of the kits mounted from the bottom. Contact us with questions about this. For the height of the float, shoot for setting to be 2/3 underwater in high pressure. We have barrel floats and pan floats. The barrel floats are our most basic float and will take up to 90 psi. Our pan floats (pictured below) are adjusted from the top of the water and perform better in highly windy areas. The pan floats allow for higher pressure as well, up to 165 psi.
Once installed the only semi-regular maintenance will be the poppet washers. Some replace them every 6 months, some every 3-5 years. If you start to have a little overflow, these will fix the problem 9 times out of 10.
Here's our page of Float Valve Kits so that you can the float valves for your particular livestock situation.
If you are in New Mexico and looking for fiberglass tanks and/or refurbishing old stock tanks, check out our dealer Dee Studdard.
As always, if you have questions, please contact us. We love getting to serve and helping you set up for success.