Automatic Water for Your Pets

If you have livestock or outdoor pets you know how important it is to keep them watered, but also know that sometimes you are not around when the trough runs dry. [Buddy] solves this inconvenience with a trip to the hardware store and some creativity.

The automatic water filler is made from some PVC pipe, brass fittings, a faucet supply and a toilet float valve. The PVC is arranged into a hook shape, a fitting is put on one end for a standard garden hose. On the other end a bit of adapting is needed to convert the PVC into a faucet supply, where the toilet valve is hooked up. Now whenever your thirsty beasts get the water too low, the float lowers and tops off the watering hole with fresh H20. That sure beats running out there every day to make sure, especially with summer just around the bend.

35 thoughts on “Automatic Water for Your Pets

  1. You’ll want to put a one-way anti-siphon valve on that – unless you want animal fecal bacteria to make its way back to your drinking water.

      1. The toilet valve does have a back flow preventer built in. The rubber tube is part of it. Just make sure that the tube is above the surface of the water at all times.

  2. Very nice. This makes it portable. When I was growing up my uncle and I just plumbed a toilet valve through the bottom the the trough.

  3. I did this for my chickens a while back. Added a few poultry nipples to a bucket and used the valve to keep the bucket full. It’s still in place and working today.

  4. nice idea but I would add a backflow preventer or anti-siphon valve to prevent contaminated water from being siphoned back into a home water system in case of low supply pressure.

  5. This is a nice idea, but for $15 and a trip to my local feed store I can get a float valve for my troughs.

    If I installed that in my troughs, my horses would tear it up.

    1. I know nothing about horses, but it would be easy to fashion some sort of metal box around the float valve that would keep them out…

    1. I agree, there are some great commercial options out there now. I started using these back in 2008 because the best thing I could find was around $50, back then making one of these cost about $18 and I guess I never really went looking again for a commercial solution after I rigged this up. I only recently decided to write up some of my homebrew solutions to see if I could get a bit of scratch from a blog, and I will be sure in the future to research commercial options before I post an old hack next time.

      1. Please post them anyway, just say they’re old or something. I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to see more projects like this. Plus, it could lead someone to a solution for something else that may not have a simple commercial alternative, even if your project does have one.

      2. I hope that was sarcasm… kinda part of the point of hacking- to be able to solve a problem despite there being an exact commercial application.

        They might make similar devices for livestock but seeing seeing your hack has inspired a /better/ solution than I had in mind for the Super-Deluxe Ball Python cage plans that have been on my drawing desk for about 2 years.

        Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. $16.00 at a fish supply store and he would have had a cheaper and better solution that survives freezing.

    Sometimes it pays to research a solution before embarking on a quest.

    Simply float that has a lever that holds a rubber washer against a inlet hole. works great and a 1/4 inch fill tube will work just fine even for horses.

  7. Good hack as a creative exercise, or if you have the parts already and no toilet that’s going to need them.

    If you have a working phone you could purchase a auto-waterer that’s purpose-built for this and get it shipped to you overnight for less money than the materials cost.

  8. Good if you’re just using what’s laying around. Otherwise, Stetson (not the hat) makes a 3/8 float valve “*For industrial coolers – swimming pools – fountains – and stock tanks *” for only $12. Or $23 if you want the (recommended)integral vacuum breaker.
    Took Google all of 0.22 seconds to find that one!

  9. Over here in New Zealand, just about every single large animal’s trough has something just like this. For Cows. Horses, Sheep…

    You implementation looks very neat. And it may be the most cost effective also, as the commercially made ones probably sell with the troughs.

    1. I use Autopot for automatic, gravity driven ebb and flow watering in my greenhouse. See here how the device works

      If there was something similar, only larger in size, then that could solve the bad water problem.

  10. Most places require backflow prevention on hose bibs to help protect your home from whatever you might connect to the end of your garden hoses. It wouldn’t hurt to have extra protection but I don’t buy the argument that this is any less safe than a store bought waterer.

  11. PVC is not supposed to be used with potable water, It is known to cause cancer. Would you want to drink from the automatic cancer toilet? Then why would you force your animals to do so?

    1. If PVC causes cancer then everyone that lives in the southern states would have cancer. PVC is widely used in all applications of water use.

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