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Thread: PVB leaking slowly

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    May 2010
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    Default PVB leaking slowly

    I just started my sprinkler system for the summer and it went well. First water came from under the bell but I restarted by a couple of times and then all water stoped coming out. But now there is a slow leak, maybe a drip per second. I tried draining the line, shutting down the water supply etc. but still just a slow leak.

    Is this normal or should I replace the parts inside the bell housing. I'm pretty sure from some of the photos I've seen that this PVB is a Febco, but I don't know the model number.

    JQ

  2. #2
    DIY Member
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    Jun 2009
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    northeast
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    Two things it can be. THe poppet assy within the housing has a cracked or damaged seal or you may have a bad "o" ring under the bonnet assy. Both easy to fix. Shut off lower shut off valve. open test ports to relief any pressure inside of the unit. The poppet should drop down. Then unscrew the bonnet assy. Be careful, as it is only plastic and can break if you try to remove it with channel locks. Hopefully you will be able to get it off by hand. After that, just inspect the "o" ring under the bonnet for cracks etc and the poppet assy for the same. One other thing, it may just be a case of spiders building their nests in there and clogging things up.Reassemble with new parts as necessary.
    close test ports and charge up.

  3. #3
    Irrigation Contractor Fireguy97's Avatar
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    Kamloops, in Beautiful British Columbia
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    Default

    There could be a third option.

    With anything water related, you must turn the valve on and off slowly to prevent a water hammer - Except with PVB's. When you turn the ball valves on to a PVB, you must turn them on fast to seat the seal. If you turn the water on slowly, it will not seat properly. If however the seal doesn't seat after the first or second try (fast), then I would look for broken or damaged parts.

    However, I would also get a professional to repair any backflow assembly. For the cost of having a pro do it, it's not worth the health of your family. I have had training in this kind of repair and testing, and I am a certified backflow assembly tester. If you get it wrong, you could get it very wrong. I've seen where people try to make the repair themselves, and it ends up more expensive for me to come in and repair it properly once than for them to try to attempt to make the repair the first, second or third time.

    It could be less expensive to have a pro repair it and test it once than for you to attempt it multiple times.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRD View Post
    Reassemble with new parts as necessary. close test ports and charge up.
    Then make sure that you get it tested. Most jurisdictions require you to get your backflow prevention assembly tested upon installation, if moved, after repair, and at least annually.

    Mick
    Last edited by Fireguy97; 05-25-2010 at 11:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The name will be on the dome, and the pipe size is the model number. The plastic float could be damaged, or the plastic bonnet under the dome may be cracked. I replace both pieces when I repair them.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    All back flow devices should be tested by a certified inspector each year. The ones who test mine always have a supply of repair parts and make necessary repairs on the spot and at a reasonable price. My city requires annual re-certification of all back flow units by a licensed and certified inspector from a list they provide.

  6. #6
    Irrigation Contractor Fireguy97's Avatar
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    Even if you do repair the assembly yourself, it still has to be tested. Every backflow assembly has to be tested upon installation, after it has been repaired, if it has been moved, and at least annually. Check with your minicipality or water district for your exact by-laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The name will be on the dome, and the pipe size is the model number. The plastic float could be damaged, or the plastic bonnet under the dome may be cracked. I replace both pieces when I repair them.
    Mick

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Here, the inspection is a requirement for "commercial" installations only, not residential. Start adding a couple of hundred dollars to each installation, and you will end up with hundreds of homeowners doing it themselves. Either not using a backflow device or using the cheapest one they can find even if it is not the proper one for their application.

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