Thirst Knows No Season

Veteran's Memorial Park
Oswego, Ill.

By Casey Hayes

Dick Kuhn of R.J. Kuhn Plumbing is a practical man—a practical man who operates his business in a cold climate. So, when he was asked to provide the plumbing work at Oswego's new Veteran's Memorial Park, he knew he was in for a challenge. You see, the park was designed to be open to visitors year round and that included ready access to the outdoor pedestal drinking fountain—a tall order during an Illinois winter.

For a number of years now, several drinking fountain manufacturers have offered freeze-proof products that can be mounted on the outside wall of climate-controlled buildings. This type of design requires that no standing water be present in the exterior (exposed to the cold) portions of the installed fountain. It's a matter of segregating all water in the portion of the fountain that is inside the building and simply delivering it through the wall on demand. Obviously, waste water generated in the process is immediately sent to the sewer line. The trick is to also make certain that the supply lines leading to the bubbler head are also drained after each use.

The best of these systems use air pressure to actuate a pressure valve, which both supplies drinking water and operates the safeguard mechanisms (see Illustration A). When pressed, the button (#1) actuates an air operated valve (#2), which pressurizes the supply line and closes the pressure valve (#3). A flow control (#4) on the outlet side of the pressure valve maintains a constant 0.4 gpm flow rate. Concurrently, water is supplied to the bubbler head (#5). When the button is released, the pressure valve (#3) opens, draining all remaining water from the supply line leading to the bubbler head back to the catcher (#6) and on to the sewer system.

Fountains on exterior walls of heated building are one thing. But, how about pedestal fountains? Outdoor pedestal locations generally don't offer the ability to "poach" warmth from an adjoining heat source, such as a building. In these types of applications, the wall of the building from the earlier example is replaced, in effect, by the frost line underground (see Illustration B). All standing water must be returned to a position below the frost line, just as standing water must be returned to a position inside of the building in the earlier example.

The pedestal design is essentially the same as the wall-mounted fountain, with components arranged vertically instead of horizontally. The only difference is that in this design, supply line water is released into the ground by the pressure valve (#3) when the button is released.

OK, but what about pedestal installations in areas where local code restrictions or a high water table necessitate draining the supply line water into the sewer system? That was the challenge that Kuhn faced. He realized that the fountain installation would need to be more-or-less self-sufficient in terms of its climate resistance.

"I didn't want them to have to baby-sit the fountain," he says. "The municipal maintenance folks do a fine job, but after all, this is Illinois. If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes. A sudden freeze can create a big problem here."

Kuhn chose the Haws Corporation's new Engineered SolutionTM , the Model 6519FR freeze-resistant valve system, to address this challenging application. Utilizing patented Freeze-GuardTM technology, the freeze-resistant valve system operates as follows (see Illustration C): When the push button (#1) is pressed, it actuates the air operated valve (#2), which provides water pressure to the bubbler head (#3). A pressure regulator (#4) on the outlet side of the air operated valve maintains a constant 0.4 gpm flow rate. Concurrently, water pressure is also applied to the inlet (bottom) of the canister (#5), under pressure, via a by-pass line. This action closes the pressure responsive valve (#6) and forces the piston (#7) upward.

When the button is released, the supply pressure to the underside of the piston is relieved, resulting in the opening of the pressure responsive valve in the piston. This allows water in the by-pass line below the piston to pass through the now open pressure responsive valve and enter the storage chamber above the piston. The weight of the piston is sufficient to allow the piston to drop. As a result, water in the by-pass line and in the main supply line can also drain through the pressure responsive valve into the storage chamber.

The next time the fountain is used, the upward movement of the piston (with the pressure responsive valve now closed) purges the upper section of the canister, forcing the water up through the air gap (#8) and into the drain. This was an important feature to Kuhn in specifying the needs of Oswego's Veteran Memorial Park.

"Being in a downtown location, with ready access to sewer lines, we wanted the freeze-resistance purging of the fountain's supply line to vent directly into the sewer," Kuhn says. "The Haws product was the only one available that provided that capability."

The Haws Model 6519FR freeze-resistant valve system can be used with a wide variety of fountains.

"The system is built in a watertight enclosure, and features a pressure and flow regulator, a pressure responsive valve, and extensive use of corrosion-resistant materials," says Bob Bowles, Haws' product manager. The lead-free system is designed to positively expel all wastewater and has CSA and NSF-61 certifications.

For more information
Haws Corporation: : 775-359-4712

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