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  • Make a Hidden Christmas Tree Watering System

    This is a great idea which is currently "in operation" next to my Xmas tree ! A couple of comments about my experience which others may find valuable. First, while there is nothing particularly wrong with Ricky's suggestion to use brass compression fittings to weigh down the ends of the tubing to keep them underwater, I found it simpler (and cheaper) to secure the tubing to both receptacles with a strip of duct tape once the siphon is working. Make sure to leave enough tubing between the anchor points so you can move the source bucket as necessary for filling, cleaning around the base of the tree etc. Also, do not tape the tube so tight that you close it off ! Second, for me the most difficult part was getting the tube full of water. Ricky's instruction to submerge the tubi...

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    This is a great idea which is currently "in operation" next to my Xmas tree ! A couple of comments about my experience which others may find valuable. First, while there is nothing particularly wrong with Ricky's suggestion to use brass compression fittings to weigh down the ends of the tubing to keep them underwater, I found it simpler (and cheaper) to secure the tubing to both receptacles with a strip of duct tape once the siphon is working. Make sure to leave enough tubing between the anchor points so you can move the source bucket as necessary for filling, cleaning around the base of the tree etc. Also, do not tape the tube so tight that you close it off ! Second, for me the most difficult part was getting the tube full of water. Ricky's instruction to submerge the tubing in water so that it fills up always left enough air in the tubing somewhere that I could not get the siphon working. In the end, I used the "old-fashioned" way of starting a siphon - hold one end underwater in one receptacle (A) and suck on the other end until the water rises in the tube and is close to your mouth. Remove the tubing from your mouth placing your thumb over the end as you do so. If some air gets back in the tube, that's OK. Lower the end of the tube below the level of the water in Receptacle A, and remove your thumb from the end of the tubing until water flows out of the end. If you do not want a bit of water on the floor at this point, use a bowl to catch the flow. As soon as the water flow has expelled any air in the tube, put your thumb back on the end of the tube and submerge the end into Receptacle B. The siphon action should now be established and this would be the time to use the duct tape to secure the tubing to the edge/side of each receptacle making sure that the end of each tube is near the bottom of their respective receptacles. Finally, a comment about how the siphoning process works. Siphoning acts to make the water level the same in each receptacle. Essentially, siphoning will occur in BOTH directions, depending on the water level in each receptacle. Once the levels are the same, the water flow ceases until something causes the water levels to change - either the tree drinks lowering the level in the stand receptacle, or you fill up the source bucket above the current water level in the stand. This is why it is important that you do not fill the source bucket above the level of the top edge of the stand receptacle - the siphoning will continue, causing the stand receptacle to overflow (Ricky warns about this). But the leveling action also means that once the level of the water in both receptacles falls below the level of the bottom of the stand receptacle, siphoning will stop even if there is still water in the source bucket (i.e. the bottom of your source bucket is lower that the bottom of your stand receptacle, which will usually be the case if your source bucket is sitting on the floor. Siphoning will not resume until you refill the source bucket to a higher level. This is an important consideration if you plan to use this idea to keep your tree watered for longer periods when you are away and cannot refill the source bucket regularly. See comment by Gotamamun below. Using a source bucket (in this case more of a tub) with a larger surface area of water will increase the amount of water that will be siphoned for each inch of depth in the source receptacle, thus extending the period that the siphoning action will continue without refilling the source bucket.

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