Whether for testing, analysis, interpretation of results, or troubleshooting, Avidity provides a higher standard of laboratory testing for safe, compliant, and profitable products. When it comes to contamination, you can have bacterial contamination, general contamination, or both. The key to successful troubleshooting is to identify the signs which point to whether the problem is related to general contamination, whether the contamination is due to an outside source, or from the equipment malfunctioning itself.
Drinking Valve Leaking
The primary cause of a leak from the valve is the collection of particles on the O-ring seal inside the valve. The water shut-off seal occurs between the head of the stem and the O-ring seal. When particles become lodged on the O-ring, it will prevent the stem head from sealing completely and a leak will occur. If you experience this problem with your valves, you should disassemble the valve and inspect the O-ring to see what contamination can be found. It is best to replace the O-ring with a new one. It is almost impossible to "clean" an O-ring that has particles embedded in it.
A common source of leak producing particles is fine sand in the water supply. If your water supply has sand in it, an 80 micron or finer water filter must be used on the water supply to the system.
Should leaks occur immediately in a newly installed rigid PVC pipe system, the likely cause is shavings from the cutting of the PVC pipe which not flushed out of the distribution lines during installation. When the system is started up, the particles flow into the Drinking valve becoming lodged on the O-ring and a leak occurs. To stop the leak each valve will need to be opened and the particles removed or the O-ring replaced.
Another possible cause of a leak would be corrosion of the brass seat under the O-ring. Brass is an extremely rugged, sanitary and corrosion resistant material and is ideal for drinking water that is in the normal and safe range of 6.5 - 8.5 pH. However, when exposed to high acid levels the surfaces of both brass and stainless steel can be damaged by corrosion. For the well-being of both your animals and your Drinking Valves use caution when using water additives and treatments to avoid exceeding this pH range.
A Valve can also be caused to leak by the animals sticking bedding or feed inside the drinking valve, and thereby forcing the stem to the actuated position. This can be reduced by locating the valve further away from the feed source in the cage or higher in the cage making it more difficult for the animals to play with the valve.
No Flow from the Drinking Valve
If you are unable to get water to flow from the valve when the Stem is actuated, check the following:
First confirm that you have water available in distribution line to the valve. Check that the pressure is properly regulated, 0.5 to 5 psi. If the valve is connected to high water pressures the stem head will become embedded into the O-ring and not allow water to be released.
Check that the valve Seat has not been turned too tightly into the Valve Cap. The rate that water is released the Vari-Flo Valve can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the Seat into the Cap. Over-tightening of the seat in both the Vari-Flo and Original Valve can completely shut-off the flow of water through the valve.
Check that the valve has not become plugged internally with algae or slime buildup. Disassemble the valve and clean all internal parts. Be sure that the holes through the Diaphragm are open. The Valve components can be cleaned in vinegar or a bathroom cleanser to remove lime deposits.
Winterization of a Watering System
The Avidity Automated Watering System has been designed for use in facilities not exposed to freezing temperatures. Although the Flex-Tube system is very seldom damaged by the effects of freezing temperatures, there is no easy method to protect it from freezing. The use of electrical heat tapes with the Flex-Tube system is NOT recommended. Some of the methods used by producers to deal with over-night mild freezing temperatures include:
Turning off the water supply in the evening and allowing the animals to drink the system dry overnight.
Opening the Drain-Valve at the end of each lateral line allowing a slow trickle of water to run continuously.
The Rigid PVC Pipe System is more susceptible to damage by water freezing inside the lines. Therefore PVC distribution lines should be drained to avoid the possibility of the pipe or fittings being split by freezing water. It is possible to install heat tape on a Rigid Pipe System, using care to install according to manufacturer's instructions. The heat tape should be located on the pipe in a position that can not be accessed by the animals. To protect yourself and your animals from possible electrical shock when using a heat tape, it is suggested that the electrical circuit supplying the heat tape be set up with Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) device.