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Drafting "tricks"

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  • Drafting "tricks"

    the squirrel tail comment brought up some comments about drafting. Having volunteered in a rural area with no municipal water until 1993 and having worked decades as an engine boss on a type 6 --drafing has always been second nature. We covered the volleyball/plywood whirl pool "stoppers" -- but what are some of the other techniques/tricks used. We carried a small Honda porta pump (150 GPM) and went by the mindset of "if its moving , its a water source" -a quick scoop to dig a sump if needed and then various methods to dam the flow and we were in business. We usually just dropped the discharge off the portapump into the fill tower and went to work. Later we would set up a folda tank and supplement our tanker shuttle. one day during a downpour we dammed up the culvert in a ditch and drafted several thousand gallons out of the ditch.
    ?

  • #2
    Know your pump. We had one engine (now long retired) that wouldn't really move any water until it had some flow, so you had to be discharging somewhere once you got water out of the primer. Once it was fully primed, it was great - a pump test when it was over 20 years old showed the 750 GPM pump moving 960+ GPM.

    We once used a small stream running through a farm. Didn't look like it would support our flows, but it certainly did. Never underestimate that little brook.

    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #3
      I couldn't agree more on that "little brook" statement. Just last weekend we checked a small brook in our area. Drafted from the road, the brook was less than 2' wide and probably less than a foot deep for most of what we could see. There was a small sump area at the box culvert we drafted from and had absolutely no issues running the deck gun (guessing 400-500 gpm) with no noticeable drop in stream level. We will have to do further testing of that brook with a different pump that has a better flow meter.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dfelix22000us View Post
        I couldn't agree more on that "little brook" statement. Just last weekend we checked a small brook in our area. Drafted from the road, the brook was less than 2' wide and probably less than a foot deep for most of what we could see. There was a small sump area at the box culvert we drafted from and had absolutely no issues running the deck gun (guessing 400-500 gpm) with no noticeable drop in stream level. We will have to do further testing of that brook with a different pump that has a better flow meter.
        if its moving at all , its usually useable
        ?

        Comment


        • #5
          While it's not much of a trick, you better make sure your hard suction is tight - any leaks will make drafting difficult to impossible.

          Also, we sometimes open up our Tank-to-Pump valve and the gate valve connecting the hard suction to the pump before drafting. This allows water to flow from the tank into the hard suction, pushing out the air, making priming a little easier.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Skojo View Post
            While it's not much of a trick, you better make sure your hard suction is tight - any leaks will make drafting difficult to impossible.

            Also, we sometimes open up our Tank-to-Pump valve and the gate valve connecting the hard suction to the pump before drafting. This allows water to flow from the tank into the hard suction, pushing out the air, making priming a little easier.
            Knew of one department that carried "saran" wrap for sealing- never saw it used but they carried it for years
            ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Skojo View Post
              While it's not much of a trick, you better make sure your hard suction is tight - any leaks will make drafting difficult to impossible.
              The newer plastic suction hose makes troubleshooting that problem a little easier.

              Some years ago, our resident welder turned out some spanners specifically for suction hose. Sometimes it's easier to "gently" pull the coupling than to try to beat it with a rubber mallet (or bowling pin). We still carry them, and I"ll grab one of them before I reach for a mallet.

              Originally posted by Skojo View Post
              Also, we sometimes open up our Tank-to-Pump valve and the gate valve connecting the hard suction to the pump before drafting. This allows water to flow from the tank into the hard suction, pushing out the air, making priming a little easier.
              A trick I learned in a pump class was to start flowing tank water, even into a discharge line, then gradually opening the intake valve. Supposedly there will be something of a venturi effect which will bring the water up the suction hose.

              I don't recall if I've used the technique (it's really only going to come into play if your primer fails) - but you want to make sure you have lots of tank water when you start.

              Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

              Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                The newer plastic suction hose makes troubleshooting that problem a little easier.

                Some years ago, our resident welder turned out some spanners specifically for suction hose. Sometimes it's easier to "gently" pull the coupling than to try to beat it with a rubber mallet (or bowling pin). We still carry them, and I"ll grab one of them before I reach for a mallet.


                A trick I learned in a pump class was to start flowing tank water, even into a discharge line, then gradually opening the intake valve. Supposedly there will be something of a venturi effect which will bring the water up the suction hose.

                I don't recall if I've used the technique (it's really only going to come into play if your primer fails) - but you want to make sure you have lots of tank water when you start.
                I have used the same technique with a modification. I keep the discharges closed and run the pump at idle. Open the tank to pump valve and intake valve allowing the water to flow into the hard suction. Watch for bubbles coming from the strainer and slowly increase the throttle as the bubbles decrease. The pump will pick up the draft if done properly. Open the discharges after you have established the prime.

                I have also switched from tank to a non pressurized water source by slowly opening the intake valve with the pump at operating pressure. Just make sure everyone on a line knows what you are doing in case you lose prime.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rayr49 View Post

                  I have used the same technique with a modification. I keep the discharges closed and run the pump at idle. Open the tank to pump valve and intake valve allowing the water to flow into the hard suction. Watch for bubbles coming from the strainer and slowly increase the throttle as the bubbles decrease. The pump will pick up the draft if done properly. Open the discharges after you have established the prime.

                  I have also switched from tank to a non pressurized water source by slowly opening the intake valve with the pump at operating pressure. Just make sure everyone on a line knows what you are doing in case you lose prime.
                  For the less-experienced pump operators reading these posts, both of these tricks work because a pump can tolerate a small amount of air without losing prime.

                  As long as the discharge isn't farting too much out, you can do exactly what Rayr49 and tree68 are talking about. We call it "cheat priming" because you didn't have to use the primer. It's essential not to be too aggressive with opening the valve; make sure the pump is only snorking a little bit of air.

                  Last edited by EastKyFF; 02-15-2018, 09:45 AM.
                  “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
                  ― Hunter S. Thompson

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Another "trick" again if your primer is broken, you can use another engine connecting intake to intake to draft so as long as there aren't any air leaks

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EastKyFF View Post
                      ...snorking...
                      I'll have to remember that one next time I'm coaching folks on pump operation...

                      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's a video, I believe they have a 2000 gal booster tank on this truck
                        https://youtu.be/kAcHtZayMc0

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ah, rural water supply. It became my issue when the first call I went on with my old Department was a working structure, and I asked who was going to get the hydrant.

                          After the laughter subsided, we watched it burn while aiming an 1 1/2 at it. This as you can imagine was frustrating.

                          I set out to learn all I could.

                          A couple of the things we used to help, 3 55 gallon drum covers, with block handles on the top. To the handle we had a piece of 1 inch rope, about 6 feet long. We had many "low water slabs" in the county, basically, the county would not do a bridge, and during normal times you could drive over it and the water went through some culverts built into the concrete slab. If water got up, it went over the top, causing many deaths from people driving into the water over the years. You could dam it up easily with those lids over the culverts. Took no time at all, and the ropes allowed you to easily retrieve the covers.

                          We also got a couple of floating pumps. Toss them in a stream, a pond, or a swimming pool, when you could not get an engine close.

                          Beach balls, or bottles, etc all worked good for the siphon.

                          I toyed with the idea of pumps on a trailer, but never got around to it. (I also considered pumps and a tank on trailers to use as backup brush trucks, but again never got to it).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
                            I toyed with the idea of pumps on a trailer, ...
                            That was our "hydrant system" here in the hamlet for a good many years. In the beginning, an older pumper was loaded with as much hose as it would carry (2.5"). If there was a fire in the hamlet, they would lay out from the mill pond to the fire, then return and pump the line. The first rig used was our original 300 GPM rotary gear pump Sanford, followed by a Ford/LaFrance 500 GPM pumper. Finally, it was a 1000 GPM Hale trailer mounted pump, pulled by a pickup that was filled with (upgrade!) 2000 feet of 3" hose.

                            We recently parted with the trailer pump. Between 2000 gallon tankers and everyone carrying 1000' of 5" LDH on their engines, it was no longer necessary.

                            Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                            Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
                              Ah, rural water supply. It became my issue when the first call I went on with my old Department was a working structure, and I asked who was going to get the hydrant.

                              After the laughter subsided, we watched it burn while aiming an 1 1/2 at it. This as you can imagine was frustrating.

                              I set out to learn all I could.

                              A couple of the things we used to help, 3 55 gallon drum covers, with block handles on the top. To the handle we had a piece of 1 inch rope, about 6 feet long. We had many "low water slabs" in the county, basically, the county would not do a bridge, and during normal times you could drive over it and the water went through some culverts built into the concrete slab. If water got up, it went over the top, causing many deaths from people driving into the water over the years. You could dam it up easily with those lids over the culverts. Took no time at all, and the ropes allowed you to easily retrieve the covers.

                              We also got a couple of floating pumps. Toss them in a stream, a pond, or a swimming pool, when you could not get an engine close.

                              Beach balls, or bottles, etc all worked good for the siphon.

                              I toyed with the idea of pumps on a trailer, but never got around to it. (I also considered pumps and a tank on trailers to use as backup brush trucks, but again never got to it).
                              great idea on the barrel tops ------we used the plywood "pads" we carried with our cribbing -a little tricky shoving them down . At one time we built a strainer "shield" out of a 5 gallon plastic bucket cut a circle in the bottom for the male part of the hard suction -screwed the barrel strainer on to hold it , cut some of the side of the bucket out, could be used to keep the strainer off the bottom , or flipped over to prevent whirlpooling.
                              ?

                              Comment

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