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Thread: PVB leaking slowly

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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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
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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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    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.

  8. #8
    Irrigation Contractor Fireguy97's Avatar
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    Car and truck insurance is more than a couple of hundred buck each year, do Arizona residents do that themselves also, or don't they buy insurance? What about other Arizona laws? Do people just do as they please because it will cost if they follow the rules?

    So does that mean you figure that the water quality and the health of the residents of Arizona aren't as important as saving a few hundred dollars on an installation that is probably costing at least a couple of thousand?

    hj, does that mean that a backflow assembly is required in Arizona, but doesn't have to be tested? That doesn't make a lot of sense. If that is so. why have the requiement to have a backflow device installed at all? Do you also figure that anyone that repairs a backflow assembly will do it correctly, or purchase the correct repair kits?

    I'm not going against you hj, I just don't agree with your argument. And you are in Arizona, the OP is in Colorado. Does Colorado have the same water laws as Arizona?

    Most parts of the USA as well as Canada has a requirement for backflow assemblies that are required for specific hazards. If you have a specific level of hazard, you get a backflow assembly suited to the protection of that hazard level. Then you get to be tested at least once a year for most municipalities. Hazards are not restricted to residential or commercial applications. It sounds like Colorado water is betting that most problems will occur on a commercial level. History is pretty much even on reported backflow hazards.

    Mick
    Last edited by Fireguy97; 06-20-2010 at 05:13 PM.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Here's how it works in my city. The city does the first inspection. The annual inspections after that are the responsibility of the homeowner to contract with an approved (by the city) inspector. Cost ranges from $35 to $45 depending on the contractor. If the homeowner does not get the device re-certified, the city shuts the water off. I suppose it would be possible to tap into ones main supply line without the city's knowledge, but I would think the when the water meter showed an extreme spike in usage, they might suspect something and investigate. But, the whole point is to prevent cross contamination of not just the homeowners water, but the everyone using water on the main.

  10. #10
    Irrigation Contractor Fireguy97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    Here's how it works in my city. The city does the first inspection. The annual inspections after that are the responsibility of the homeowner to contract with an approved (by the city) inspector. Cost ranges from $35 to $45 depending on the contractor. If the homeowner does not get the device re-certified, the city shuts the water off. I suppose it would be possible to tap into ones main supply line without the city's knowledge, but I would think the when the water meter showed an extreme spike in usage, they might suspect something and investigate. But, the whole point is to prevent cross contamination of not just the homeowners water, but the everyone using water on the main.
    Exactly!

    If there is no requirement to have them tested annually, (and after a repair) then why bother to have a by-law to have them on in the first place?

    Mick

  11. #11
    Irrigation Contractor Fireguy97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    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.
    hj, one of the problems that I see is that you are using the Arizona Cross Connection Control (CCC) standards as being the CCC standards for the global community that reads this forum. Arizona is in the minority when it comes to allowing residential water customers to not need a backflow device tested.

    The OP to this thread needed repair advice. Part of the correct answer should also have been to have the repaired device tested by a certified backflow assembly tester. By not providind that notice you may have exposed readers to possible liability, fines, and prosicution. Just because you live in an area (Arizona) that does not require residential backflow assembly testing, doesn't mean that other parts of the planet don't require testing.




    COLORADO PRIMARY DRINKING WATER REGULATIONS


    12.1 Control of Hazardous Cross-Connection

    (a) A public water system or a consecutive distribution system of a public water system shall have no uncontrolled cross-connections to a pipe, fixture, or supply, any of which contain water not meeting all applicable provisions of the Colorado Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

    (b) A supplier of water shall protect the public water system from contamination in the following manner:

    (1) Identify potentially uncontrolled hazardous service cross connections.

    (2) Require system users to install and maintain containment devices on any uncontrolled hazardous service cross connections, provided the Department has determined that the device is consistent with the degree of hazard posed by the uncontrolled cross connection.

    (3) Installation of containment devices shall be approved by the public water system upon installation.

    (4) All containment devices shall be tested and maintained as necessary on installation and at least annually thereafter, by a Certified Cross-Connection Control Technician.
    (c) Public water systems shall retain maintenance records of all containment devices. Section 1.6.3 requires these records to be available for inspection by Department personnel. All maintenance records shall be kept for three years.

    (d) A public water system shall notify the Department of any cross-connection, as defined in section 1.5.2(29), within 10 calendar days of its discovery. The cross-connection shall be corrected within 10 days of being ordered in writing by the Department to correct the problem. Failure to do so may result in an enforcement order.

    (e) Violations shall be subject to the provisions and penalties prescribed by sections 25.1.114 and 25.1.114.1, Colorado Revised Statutes, and to such other actions as provided by law.


    In Colorado, those that maintain a cross connection, or have knowledge of a cross connection are guilty of a crime as defined in CRS 25-1-114(h) and may also be subject to civil action as defined in CRS 25-114.1. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has issued a new version of the Colorado Primary Drinking Water Regulations that provides for the implementation of cross-connection control programs by public water suppliers in Colorado.


    Mick

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member Even Flow's Avatar
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    Sometimes you can skate past replacing any parts by disassembling and cleaning it up. There have been several occasions where I have flushed out a unit and stopped a leak. If it is a febco, it is probably a 765 (common in my neck of the woods). If it has been opened up at all it is very likely that the o-ring hasn't sealed properly.

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