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Thread: Watts Backflow Preventer Leak

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member nowin's Avatar
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    Default Watts Backflow Preventer Leak

    I had a new Watts Backflow Preventer Series 009M3QT 3/4" installed just in the last year for my irrigation system. I had turned off shut off valves (cocks) for the winter in Dec last year and I wanted to open the valves for this year. Today, When I opened the valves for the season it started leaking from the relief valve assembly from the bottom. The stem fin guide that screws into the relief valve assembly broke loose by the gushing water. Please see the attachments. Name:  image005.jpg
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    Can somebody advice If I can fix the leak by just screwing in stem fin guide that fell off from its position myself with a nose plier? Or, do I have to open up the whole unit and replace the entire relief valve assembly. This kit frickin' expensive costs around $60. I know its worth about a buck or two at the most.

    Thanks
    nowin
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    Last edited by nowin; 04-07-2013 at 09:11 PM.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I don't know if your area enforces the requirements on these BFPs like my city, but I am required to have a certified inspector perform an annual test and re-certify my BFP is working. If it has a leak or is not holding, the inspector has the necessary O rings, seals, etc. to make the repair. It seem a bit unusual that a 1 year old device would be leaking, but stuff happens. This testing requires a license and test equipment and is not a DIY job. If I do not get the certification done, the city shuts my water off. Seems to me that the last time I had to have repairs made, it cost about $30 above the $35 testing fee. I do not have a Watts, but it appears to be similar.

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    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    There are many reasons for the relief to dump. A certified tester has the testing equipment to determine the cause and the parts to repair it. The reason for it's failure may be if froze. Just turning it off doesn't get protect it from freezing temperatures, it needs to be drained. Why are you using a RPZ device for a irrigation system when a PVB is all that is required?

    John
    Last edited by johnjh2o1; 04-09-2013 at 11:50 AM.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    If he is using city water, a backflow preventer is required. I see no reason for a pressure regulator (PRV) on an irrigation system unless the water pressure is so high it would blow the system up...not very likely. The Watts device pictured is basically the same as my Wilkens BFP. Judging from past postings, there are many areas in the country that ignore Federal regulations on BFP,and even when one is required, there is often no regular follow up to verify they are still doing their job. Again I would point out that repairs on these is not a DIY job because they must be tested using special test equipment by a certified inspector. My city, while having many faults, does do this right. They inspect the installation of a new system. Then each year they send users a list of private inspectors that we can contact to perform the inspection. I'm not sure of the time requirement of getting this done, but at some point in the early part of the irrigation season, if they have not received the inspection report of one of these inspectors, they will discontinue water service to the property until the inspection is done. Cost of the inspection depends on the inspector, but range from $35 to $50.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    If he is using city water, a backflow preventer is required. I see no reason for a pressure regulator (PRV) on an irrigation system unless the water pressure is so high it would blow the system up...not very likely. The Watts device pictured is basically the same as my Wilkens BFP. Judging from past postings, there are many areas in the country that ignore Federal regulations on BFP,and even when one is required, there is often no regular follow up to verify they are still doing their job. Again I would point out that repairs on these is not a DIY job because they must be tested using special test equipment by a certified inspector. My city, while having many faults, does do this right. They inspect the installation of a new system. Then each year they send users a list of private inspectors that we can contact to perform the inspection. I'm not sure of the time requirement of getting this done, but at some point in the early part of the irrigation season, if they have not received the inspection report of one of these inspectors, they will discontinue water service to the property until the inspection is done. Cost of the inspection depends on the inspector, but range from $35 to $50.
    Yes, I herd about this I used to live on city water and did not have a backflow preventer. Do you know when they made it law? or was I always accidently breaking it?

  6. #6
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Do you know when they made it law? or was I always accidently breaking it?
    As far Is I know, any irrigation system connected to publc water needs some form of back flow prevention.
    It can be a double check like above, or a vacuum breaker if you can locate it high enough.

    Outside faucets on homes also require a form of back flow prevention.
    Last edited by Terry; 04-09-2013 at 12:13 PM.

  7. #7
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    If he is using city water, a backflow preventer is required. I see no reason for a pressure regulator (PRV) on an irrigation system unless the water pressure is so high it would blow the system up...not very likely. The Watts device pictured is basically the same as my Wilkens BFP. Judging from past postings, there are many areas in the country that ignore Federal regulations on BFP,and even when one is required, there is often no regular follow up to verify they are still doing their job. Again I would point out that repairs on these is not a DIY job because they must be tested using special test equipment by a certified inspector. My city, while having many faults, does do this right. They inspect the installation of a new system. Then each year they send users a list of private inspectors that we can contact to perform the inspection. I'm not sure of the time requirement of getting this done, but at some point in the early part of the irrigation season, if they have not received the inspection report of one of these inspectors, they will discontinue water service to the property until the inspection is done. Cost of the inspection depends on the inspector, but range from $35 to $50.
    Sorry guy's I meant a PVB. (Pressure Vacuum Breaker)

    John

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    As far Is I know, any irrigation system connected to publc water needs some form of back flow prevention.
    It can be a double check like above, or a vacumn breaker if you can locate it high enough.

    Outside faucets on homes also require a form of back flow prevention.
    Opps my mistake.

  9. #9
    In the Trades joemcl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron Fields View Post
    Yes, I herd about this I used to live on city water and did not have a backflow preventer. Do you know when they made it law? or was I always accidently breaking it?
    The Federal Safe Water Drinking Act Was enacted in Dec. 1974. Most municipalities and water companies ignored it for decades. It is only recently,10 yrs or so, strict enforcement began in my area. I am a certified backflow tester.(ASSE) There are several reasons Your device most likely froze, and the repair kit may work. It can easily be another part of the device, or all of it that is not functioning propely. All Backflow devices should be protected from freezing. I suggest you call qualified proffesional. As for the price of parts, in some cases it is cheaper to replace the whole device, than to make the repair.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Some cities in this area require a RPPBFP valve while others only require a pressure vacuum breaker/backflow preventer. The internals of a rppbfp almost preclude you from getting all the water out by draining it. We usually remove it during freezing weather.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I have always removed mine in the winter. I then attach my air hose to the main "out" side and blow each zone individually. Pros use an industrial compressor that can blow all zones at once, takes me longer, but I own a decent sized compressor so I save $50-$75 or more each year. But as HJ points out, there are nooks and crannies that seem to me to be almost impossible to drain all of the water out. Removal of the BFP is good insurance against a freeze. I don't know if my city allows pressure vacuum breakers or not. When I installed my system in 1984, the RPPBFP was prescribed by the irrigation company that designed my system and I have not changed it. Repaired with some new seals 2 or 3 times, but these repairs were not expensive as Joe described in his post. Maybe I have been super lucky.

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