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Soilfloc® Sealant is the best polymer based sealant available for your canal, irrigation ditch or watering hole. Specifically designed to find leaks, whether in the floor, the wall or through rock formations and seal them. Soilfloc® custom blends linear and cross-linked polymers to seal any type of soil, for any sized project.

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The biological removal of muck and sludge from ponds, lakes and canals is an ecological way to eliminate organic sediments from ruining shorelines and making swimming impossible. Safe muck eating bacteria are blended from anaerobic bacterial mixtures and enzymes that specifically target the thick, black, stinky muck that is common in ponds and lakes.

Dock Bubblers
Bubbler systems use perforated tubing placed at the bottom of the water around a boathouse, dock or wall. When using diffuser lines to protect your dock from ice damage there will be some fairly common installation procedures: place the air compressor in a ventilated cabinet or shed and run an airline to the structure where a weighted bubbler hose is placed at strategic points around the dock or against the wall.

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What Dock Bubbler Do I Need?

I was looking at your Dock Bubbler packages and have some questions.

First let me describe my dock, which is on a lake that is about 3 miles long and 3/4 miles wide.It is a simple 34 foot long, 8 foot wide dock.  It is supported by a rock that extrudes above water level and pylons that surround the rock that are about 28 feet from shore. Previously the dock was narrower and simply rested on top of the rock.

Now, I have added pylons that I believe will need protection from ice.

The depth of the water surrounding the rocks/pylons is about 4 feet at the deepest and 1 to 2 feet at the shallowest.
I was looking at the bubble systems because I have neighbors that ice fish during the winter, so I want to minimize the amount of thin ice that I create by deicing the dock. Also, the lake is relatively shallow around the dock.
My thought is that the small bubbler package may be sufficient for my needs. I think that the 50 feet of weighted bubbler tube would be more than sufficient to loop around the rock and pylons, extending back from the rock towards shore, where it would tie into the weighted feeder line.
I was thinking of getting the optional steel cabinet with fan to house the pump. I plan to place this about 8 feet from shore under an existing deck that is directly behind the dock. Question: The steel cabinet can be used instead of building a small building to house the pump, correct?

I would then run the feeder hose from the cabinet, that would be placed under the deck, under the dock to the bubbler hose that is looped around the rock and pylons.
My next question relates to power. The nearest power source from the proposed location of the pump is an outside outlet on a house that is about 50 feet away. Would this outlet be sufficient to power the pump?

And, what would you recommend to use to get power from that outlet to the pump?
I would also want to get the optional Thermostat/Timer Combo. Would that be located in the optional steel cabinet?

asked by anonymous

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1 Answer

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Hello BW,

Thanks for writing regarding the Small Dock Bubbler Package. Traditional dock bubblers that use the perforated hose being fed with compressed air will work in a number of applications and indeed one of them is to protect a seawall from damage due to ice formation and movement however there are some things to consider when using an air bubbler system to protect long stretches of a seawall when the water is shallow or when the lake level is drawn down during winter months by lake managers.

A bubbler line, when placed in depths of 4 feet or less, can have some problems: shallow water, especially when severe wind chills are present during frigid winter storms blow in, can freeze solid or if not solid then ice can form almost everywhere except right over the air bubbles that are pumping directly out of the hose.

If your line of bubble tubing is parrallel to the seawall and is 6 feet out from the wall and is only in 3 or 4 feet of water there is the possibility that the water close to the wall will freeze solid and there will only be a 6 to 24 inch wide gap directly over the hose.

If the slope against the seawall is gentle you should try and put the bubble hose in at least 2 feet of water if you can. Less than 24 inches of depth will reduce the temperature effectiveness of the bubbler system; ie: if you are in a warmer location then the bubbler in 18" will likely be enough but if your dock or structure is in a very cold, windy region then the results might not be perfect.

Because the goal of a bubbler system is to at least stop the pressure build-up of ice against an immoveable surface like a seawall then often even a small open slice of water between the lake ice and the wall ice can help minimize any damage but it cannot guarantee 100% effectiveness. A power failure of only a few hours could lead to a complete freezing of the surface and even once power is re-established and air is again pumping thropugh the deicer hose if the ice has thickened beyond a certain point it may be impossible for the bubbles and movement of the deicer to cut through established ice layers.

That being said, when considering your specific situation the small dock bubbler package is probably the best solution for you. The complete bubbler package does have an available option of a steel ventilated cabinet that holds the air compressor and protects it from rain and snow so if you wanted to place the air pump as close as possible to the area being protected I would suggest getting the optional cabinet. While the cabinet is designed for outdoor settings if you can put the housing inside an existing boathouse or any sort of wooden shed to provide further protection it will prolong the life-expectancy of your air compressor pistons and seals.

The 1/3 HP piston air pumps that are included with the bubbler packages require a small amp draw so a heavy duty extension cord running 50' would not be an issue to provde power. An industrial strength power cord, with 3 prongs for grounded safety, can be purchased at a local hardware supply but don't by the chepest cord, spend extra to ensure there are no tripped breakers during cold snaps that leave your bubbler out of juice!

The optional thermostat/timer unit, the C20 is a popular model, is a great option as it allows fine tuned control of the operation of the air pump. The thermostat doesn't go inside the steel cabinet it should be placed outside so it can measure ambient air temperature. The adjustmen knob of the unit allows you to dictate the air pump will only turn on when air temperatures are below a certain threshold, usually it is set at 30 degrees or lower so the air pump will only turn on when absolutely necessary. The timer portion of the C20 style unit allows you to pulse the on/off cycle of the air compressor during periods when the temperature is below the desired setting. Normally a pulsed on/off schedule is 3 hours on and 3 hours off during low temps. This allows the bubbler to operate as efficiently as possible without being on constantly. These sorts of timer/thermostat controllers are more popular when used with Ice Eaters as the off cycle will not make an impact on air condensation in  air feeder lines as it would in an air bubbler system. Running an air bubbler full time during the winter months is one of the more popular ways to go and the timer/thermostat is an excellant choice for Ice Eaters but they will work in both cases.

Every case os really unique and if you have any further questions please let us know by emailing a diagram of your dock or the google earth coordiantes so we can look at the exact location and determine which system is best for the job. It does sound like the small bubbler system is ideally suited for protecting your seawall and if you order online you can expect delivery in about 7 days.

Another thing to understand with installing a bubbler system using the weighted deicer tubing is that this is a poly pipe with perforations and the nature of poly pipe is that it can become more rigid and stiff in colder temperatures. In November and December installing a bubbler is less an enjoyment than installing the bubbler tubing in August or September. The tubing can still be softened by keeping it in the sun for a few hours before installing but wanted to mention that for those folks who are thinking of installing a bubbler by themselves in December...it's no fun!

More on Dock Bubblers & Ice Eaters

answered by TPR

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