How To Pick Out the Perfect Drain Setup
Selecting all the components and fittings for a custom when you are a newcomer to this hobby is a pretty daunting task by itself, which is why we have a three part blog that delves into all those nitty gritty details here, as well as countless how to videos and product overviews on our YouTube channel here. However, today we are going to talk about the part of a custom loop that can stump even veteran watercoolers. This of course, would be the often overlooked, drain setup.
What is a Drain? If you truly are trying to build your first custom loop, I better explain why exactly you want to invest in a good drain setup for your loop. First and foremost, you will have to drain your loop at some point, maintenance is inevitable. That being said, you’re better off spending the time and money in a good drain to help make that required maintenance go as smoothly as possible. The first step to making an effective drain setup is placement. Ideally, your drain needs to be at the very “bottom” of your loop. Bottom in this scenario being the lowest point in elevation compared to the rest of the watercooling components. Since we live in the real world, this isn’t always easily accomplished. Here are a few tips to help you start in the right direction with your drain setup - Multiport pump top/reservoir combos typically provide the easiest and most convenient drain setups in terms of installation and overall cost, however they don’t always effectively drain the entire loop without some extra effort on your end. If you have front mounted radiator with the ports “down” you can use a “T” fitting (unless it’s a multiport radiator) off one of the ports as a drain point, which will usually give you the best chance at completely draining your loop without needing to do too much “case acrobatics''. No matter what, I highly recommend you pick up a barb or compression fitting with a 1’+ length of soft tubing to match for your drain. You will always want to have that handy to screw into your valve for a no mess draining process.
What Does it Look Like? A drain setup will always incorporate some type of valve in order to start and stop the flow of liquid out of your loop. There are quite a few different types of valves now, from electrical ball valves, to push style drains, there will be an option that works for your loop. You can find all of these valves here at PPCs, as well as an in depth look at one of our favorite drain valves here. The most common valve is the ball valve. It usually has a handle on one side that actuates a ball valve inside the straight section of the fitting. These will have a port on either end of the fitting that is typically female G1/4 threaded, however some brands do offer ball valves with male G1/4 extensions on one or both ends. If you plan on attaching your valve directly to a pump top/reservoir, T fitting, or other component, you will want to ensure you have male threads on one end of your valve. If your valve does not come with a male threaded end like this one from Bitspower, you will need a Male - Male extension fitting such as this one. I prefer to use a rotary Male - Male extension like this one, as it allows you to rotate the valve if orientation matters for your application. If space is an issue, a push style valve such as these are also an option. Don’t forget to get some soft tubing and a barb fitting as well!
There really is an endless number of combinations of fittings and adapters that you can use for your drain setup, no matter what kind of custom build it is. At PPCs we always recommend that you install a drain valve in your custom loops, so if you have any further questions regarding drain setups or just custom loops in general, please do not hesitate to contact us directly!