Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Air Bleeder Valve
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Air "Bleeder Valve"

for the week of 6/25/98

Even the best, most expensive, air pump won't last forever without repair. But setting up a simple, inexpensive "bleeder valve" can postpone repairs or replacements considerably.

Most vibrator pumps are not adjustable: they attempt to put out about the same amount of air regardless of how many airstones, filters, ornaments and so on the air is going to. If the pump is putting out more air than the various accessories can release quickly, the air pressure in the airline and pump increases. It's this "back pressure" that makes the pump work harder and stretches the diaphragm, drastically shortening the life of the pump.

To alleviate this back pressure, every air system should have a "bleeder valve" which is no more than an extra valve that is not connected to any aerating device. If you're operating three items, you should purchase a 4 gang valve, and don't attach anything else to that last valve. Likewise, get a 3 gang valve to run 2 items, 5 gang for 4 items and so on.

To properly adjust the bleeder, start with that valve completely closed. Then, adjust the other valves so that each or the aerating devices is operating correctly. Finally, slowly open the "bleeder valve" until the aerating devices begin to slow down slightly, but are still pushing an acceptable amount of air.

The "bleeder valve" will need adjusting occassionally, as the pump wears and airstones begin to clog. However, if any device (usually an airstone) is so clogged that the bleeder must be completely closed, that device should be cleaned or replaced.

Submitted by: Jim Kostich

"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.

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