Help your furry friends beat the heat with a DIY pet watering system that automatically refills itself.

How to Install an Automatic Pet Watering System

Pet owners come in all varieties, but we'll bet that each and every one has at least once had the following thought flash through their minds (probably midway through the drive from home to work or school): "did I leave the dog/cat with enough water?"

We all love our pets, and do our best to make sure they're always happy and healthy. But even the best of us have our off-days. Wouldn't it be nice to know that your furry friends were always taken care of, hydration-wise? Auto-fill pet bowls are commercially available, but can be pricey and unreliable. Luckily, there's a simple DIY alternative that makes use of a unique type of valve: the Hudson Valve.

Unlike most float valves that rely on a lever arm and float ball, Hudson Valves utilize an internal float that opens and closes according to water pressure. That means less moving parts, and we believe the best, most reliable automatic watering valve available. Found most often in livestock troughs and ponds, these valves work just as well at smaller scales, but not too small: you'll want a basin at least 4 inches deep to ensure the valve operates correctly.

Why so deep? As we mentioned, Hudson Valves rely on water pressure to operate. Once securely mounted above the basin, water will flow through the valve and fill it. Eventually, the water level of the basin will hit and move past the bottom of the valve, partially submerging it. Once the water level is about 1-1/2" to 2" past the bottom of the valve, the pressure will close it until the water level drops again. The basin you use will need to be deep enough to accommodate some of the length of the valve itself, so that it can close before it reaches the rim and not overflow.

To put together your new automatic watering system, all you'll need is the basin, your garden hose, the valve, and a mounting bracket. Simply connect your garden hose to the bracket, the bracket to the valve, and the bracket to the basin. You'll need to fiddle around with the placement of the valve depending on the depth of the basin, ensuring there's ample room for the valve to shut off before it has the chance to overflow. You'd also be wise to secure the basin itself to the ground so that it can't be tipped over.

Quick Tip: It's just a fact that some pets are more well-behaved than others. If yours likes to chew things, you might consider using a stainless steel supply hose instead of your garden hose. A male hose thread (MHT) adapter will make sure it hooks up to the Hudson Valve's mounting bracket.

Hudson Valves use either a 1/2" or 1" IPS connection to the water source. The mounting bracket we mention allows you to easily connect it to a garden hose instead. If you want to connect your Hudson Valve to a different water source, just be sure that the final connection is the appropriate IPS size.

Once the water is turned on, the basin will be automatically refilled whenever the water level drops below that 1-1/2" to 2" threshold on the valve. Your pets will stay well-hydrated, and your mind will be freed up to worry about all the other things that can haunt your day - yay!

Something you'll want to be sure to consider is water pressure. Those with high water pressure (above 80 psi) would be well-served by installing a pressure regulating valve before the watering system. High water pressures can mess with the internal workings of the Hudson Valve, causing it to remain stuck in the open position.

Whatever the season, whatever your climate, pets will always need a steady supply of water. By installing a DIY automatic watering system, you're guaranteeing that however hectic the morning, whatever the weather may be, your non-human family members will have the water they need. And having one less thing to worry about? The icing on the cake!

Ready to set up your own DIY pet watering system? Get your valve and get started!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. "How can I make this work for my cat/small dog/chickens - they can't reach a 4-inch deep bowl?"
A. One easy solution to this that we've seen, is to place the dish inside something like a short platform that they can jump or climb onto. You can also bury the bowl a few inches or insert the dish into your deck or patio.

Q. "Will these valves work for my child's 4-H project?"
A. Absolutely! Hudson Valves are ideal for these types of projects and help your child ensure the health and well-being of their pet - especially during hotter months, busy school times, or when animals are very young or ill and require more care.

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