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Thread: Wilkins Vacuum Pressure Breaker

  1. #1
    DIY Member vaman's Avatar
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    Smile Wilkins Vacuum Pressure Breaker

    Hi everyone I'm new to this list and am really in need of help with our irrigation system. Just started using it a few weeks ago and my wife noticed this week that the vacuum pressure breaker is leaking.I'm trying to save a call to our installer. Anyway all the zones have normal pressure. The breaker leaks when the intake valve is both closed and opened.
    I don't know if it's relevant but both the turn controls for both the intake and outtake ball valves are pretty rusty. I can't turn either by hand have to use a pair of pliers to turn. I also noticed the canopy is cracked around one of the screw holes.
    I opened the thing today removing the bonnet,spring, and poppet. Could not get the spider assembly out. I'm not sure what to look for with these inner parts but they seem fine.
    This breaker is a Wilkins 720A installed in 2003. I have it winterized every year;last year we did it a little later sometime in June.
    Any advice is appreciated. From what I've seen on the internet I could order and replace a whole new valve for less than paying for a service call.When do you know if replacing parts is the way to go?
    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member upper's Avatar
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    Winterized in June?Just a little late.You say cracked? You have answered your own questions.Two things will fix it.Magic and replacement. and Billy Maze is dead.............Upper
    Last edited by upper; 07-15-2009 at 07:59 PM.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    If there is a crack in the case, you must buy a new unit. In my area, these backflow devices are required to be be inspected by a licensed inspector and re-certified each spring. Failure to do so results in the water being shut off. Usually they check out OK, but every so often the seals begin to fail and must be replaced. What was the point of winterizing in June? I start irrigating my lawn in early April and continue until mid October. That's when I blow the lines and winterize. You have to get all of the water out of the housing or it can freeze and break the case.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member upper's Avatar
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    And the Long of it........Upper

  5. #5

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    Tip, when you replace, tighten the packing nut to each ball valve. Most of them leak ever so slightly new out of the box(contributing to the rusting handle), especially on febco's.

  6. #6
    DIY Member vaman's Avatar
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    Default Vacumn Pressure Breaker

    Need to correct myself. We winterized the unit last November don't know why I typed June! One thing I want to make sure I understand. So if the canopy itself is cracked that by itself is an indication the unit needs replacing?

  7. #7
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    A picture would help make sure we understand exactly what the "canopy" is. But, if this is part of the casting of the unit and not a part that might be removed and replaced, then it would require a whole new unit. It could be that a small amount of water remained after winterizing. Yeah, I often type June when I mean November At least we know you're not completely wacko!

  8. #8
    DIY Member vaman's Avatar
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    Default Canopy

    The canopy is the black plastic cover over the bonnet.

  9. #9
    DIY Member vaman's Avatar
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    Default Story continues

    I took the unit apart again yesterday and took a closer look. I guess the poppet is the rubber piece underneath the spring.Anyway there is a small tear or hole around the screw going into the top of the poppet. I guess that's enough to make it leak? Is that true? I think I'll first replace the poppet and spider assembly and canopy as the housing is not leaking and I don't want to mess with the PVC fittings as I've never done that stuff before.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by upper View Post
    Winterized in June?Just a little late.You say cracked? You have answered your own questions.Two things will fix it.Magic and replacement. and Billy Maze is dead.............Upper
    lol,,,,lol... good one

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