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  • pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

    I have a pressure reducing valve (PRV) that appears to have gone bad. About 3 months ago, it started whistling VERY loudly when two faucets or a faucet and a toilet where running at the same time. So I adjusted the pressure down some (counter-clockwise) and that worked. Seemed to work--quiet pipes, happy wife.

    But now I get a pressure reading at 80 after the water is turned off for a while. Also there is a very short “burst” of water when the water it turned on and then it levels off at a normal pressure level (actually very low because I have the pressure adjustment screw all the way out.). Also, if the water is off for about 30 minutes, I start to see small leaks/drips at a toilet and a faucets, etc. Again, the adjustment screw I have threaded all the way out (counter-clockwise) and still pressure builds when no water is on for a while. Also, if I turn the PRVadjustment screw clockwise (more pressure) I start to get the whistling again. Wife not happy. It is loud --like neighbors say "what's going on in your house" loud. They look at me funny when I say, "Oh, someone must be taking a shower."

    Here is a picture of the PRV. I believe it is a 25AUB-Z3 http://www.watts.com/prod_images/hi-res/25AUB_Z3.jpg

    The problem is this: the PRV is installed in a ceiling in the basement. Very small access panel in the ceiling. And worse, the PRV is between two joists such that the entire PRV can not spin to get it off the downstream side without it hitting the joists.

    My questions are this: As seen in the picture there are two bottom cleanout plugs. Given that I have whistling when pressure is turned up and pressure build-up even when the pressure adjustment is set at low, is cleaning out those two plugs likely to give me any benefit? Or is the problem more likely up in the guts of the PRV such to clean/service it, I would have to take the bell or spring housing off? And if I do that, should I just replace the whole PRV as now I can get the PRV base to spin between the joists?

    Also, if I go with a replacement, can I install using the reverse process described above: take the spring housing off the new unit, install the base onto the pipes, reinstall the spring housing on the base once it is on the pipes?

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
    Regards, DAVE

  • #2
    Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

    Originally posted by dcw View Post
    I have a pressure reducing valve (PRV) that appears to have gone bad. About 3 months ago, it started whistling VERY loudly when two faucets or a faucet and a toilet where running at the same time. So I adjusted the pressure down some (counter-clockwise) and that worked. Seemed to work--quiet pipes, happy wife.

    But now I get a pressure reading at 80 after the water is turned off for a while. Also there is a very short “burst” of water when the water it turned on and then it levels off at a normal pressure level (actually very low because I have the pressure adjustment screw all the way out.). Also, if the water is off for about 30 minutes, I start to see small leaks/drips at a toilet and a faucets, etc. Again, the adjustment screw I have threaded all the way out (counter-clockwise) and still pressure builds when no water is on for a while. Also, if I turn the PRVadjustment screw clockwise (more pressure) I start to get the whistling again. Wife not happy. It is loud --like neighbors say "what's going on in your house" loud. They look at me funny when I say, "Oh, someone must be taking a shower."

    Here is a picture of the PRV. I believe it is a 25AUB-Z3 http://www.watts.com/prod_images/hi-res/25AUB_Z3.jpg

    The problem is this: the PRV is installed in a ceiling in the basement. Very small access panel in the ceiling. And worse, the PRV is between two joists such that the entire PRV can not spin to get it off the downstream side without it hitting the joists.

    My questions are this: As seen in the picture there are two bottom cleanout plugs. Given that I have whistling when pressure is turned up and pressure build-up even when the pressure adjustment is set at low, is cleaning out those two plugs likely to give me any benefit? Or is the problem more likely up in the guts of the PRV such to clean/service it, I would have to take the bell or spring housing off? And if I do that, should I just replace the whole PRV as now I can get the PRV base to spin between the joists?

    Also, if I go with a replacement, can I install using the reverse process described above: take the spring housing off the new unit, install the base onto the pipes, reinstall the spring housing on the base once it is on the pipes?

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
    Regards, DAVE
    If you can replace it - do so. It's not an expensive part. If you rebuild it, it may be unreliable.
    Pete
    Drain Biz
    Articles, Videos, Industry News

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

      Thanks. I understand that replacing is a better option but there are other issues going on here---tight quarters, difficult to reach, partial disasemmbly to remove the orginal one. And so what I am looking for is an indiaction of whether cleaning the PRV via the two cleanout plugs is a viable option to start with (given what I am describing as my pressure problems) and whether if I do have to do a full reinstall, can I install as I describe (base first, then spring housing.)

      Regards, DAVE

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

        dave, your pressure build up as described has to do with thermal expansion. when the water heater heats up the water, there is a pressure rise. this is normal and thus the reason why it's a short burst of pressure when you turn on a faucet.

        your regulator has a thermal bypass feature in it. as long as the city pressure prior to the regulator is lower than your relief valve (125-150#) the excess pressure will go back into the city line. provided there is no check valve, backflow preventer in the system.

        an expansion tank is required to absorb the pressure and prevent the spike you're describing.

        as far as regulators go. it's quite easy to remove the bell and spin off the body. i would suggest installing a double union model like a wilkins #70 double union as this will allow you to remove and install the unit in tact.

        there is a very in detail thread from last week that explains all of this you have described.

        i will try to post the link to it.

        rick.
        http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15022
        Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 01-12-2008, 12:15 PM. Reason: link.
        phoebe it is

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        • #5
          Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

          Thanks for the reply. I loved that last thread by the way---fear not, I shall follow your advice .

          Anyway, this “pressure build up” has not been a constant thing---it only started 3-4 months ago when the high-pitched whistling started and I actually turned the pressure DOWN using the PRV adjustment screw. And actually I followed the logic of that last thread and I turned off my water heater for a day and ran the hot water in a bathtub until I was completely out of hot water. So while I have been testing and measuring the pressure with a gauge, I have no hot water in the tank and no water being heated at all (heater is actually off at this point). Same result---burst of pressure on turning on any faucet or washing machine, then settles down to normal pressure (at what I set it at on the PRV); PRV to lowest setting still allows pressure to build up until released by something turning on or slow leaks/drips at a few of the faucets. Pressure is at about 20 at gauge hooked to outside bib (which is subject to the RPV) when the PRV is at maximum counter-clockwise adjustment. Also, it doesn’t take long for the pressure to build up once I turn a faucet on and then turn it off (10 minutes?)

          Could a dirty screen in the PRV be the culprit? Also, there are two cleanout plugs—any benefit or detriment to trying both instead of the screen plug only?

          Its like the PRV works—it will up and down the pressure as I adjust the screw. But when the system is closed and everything is off, its like something is causing the pressure to build over time. And having taken the hot water heater off-line, I can’t think of anything else but something screwy going on in the PRV.

          Anyway, thanks for the reply. Please let me know your thought on this given the heater is off-line. Give me something that sounds good because I got the wife wanting constant updates and I've got to keep her convinced I can fix this.

          Thanks again.

          Regards, DAVE

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

            dave, it's very common for a regulator to start to creep up.

            a bad o-ring or the o-ring boss is to balme. this is what i see on bad regulators. the screeching is from possibly a loose washer or one that has lifted off the washer cup.

            i have yet to find a regulator with a bad seat. i didn't look at your regulator breakdown parts list. there are some newer style regulators that are cartridge style. you replace the cartridge and it's all new.

            as far as your 2 screen ports. i is the screen/ filter. the other should be a port for the removal of the diaphragm screw. i will look at your link and see the parts.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

              Do you know your supply pressure from the street before the PRV?
              You might need to reduce the pressure in stages to eliminate the noise.

              Isn't this a soft seat on this regulator? Might have gotten something past the screen that has damaged or is hung up on the seat.

              What happens if you remove the adjustment screw completely (not just back it off all the way)? From looking at the cut of the valve interior you should be able to do this safely. If you get any water weeping or under pressure with the adjuster screw removed then the diaphragm is shot.
              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

              https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

              ----

              Time, cost, or quality; pick any two but you can't have all three.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

                Plummer Rick and Bob--Thnaks for your input! I do not know the pressure coming off the street. How would I test for that? Maybe the front bibb is before the PRV--I'll check and post.

                As far as removing the adjustment screw, I can't. It gets to a point and then it just spins and spins-- like there is a flange or something that keeps it from inadvertantly coming out. No water leaks out when I back the screw out as far as possible (decreasing the pressure).

                See my worried face--this is me Here is my wife now and she soon shall be

                Thanks again!
                Regards, DAVE

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

                  You should put a test guage on the hose bibb closest to the street, you can purchase a cheap one at home depot for around $12.00, this will tell you if you are over 60-80 psi.

                  I understand you have a tight space, I would cut your old regulator out, I assume it is in copper, and solder on some new fittings and a union regulator that you can change out yourself, very easy in the future.

                  Since you have done the hot water test and have the same result, then this is not a thermal expansion problem as recently mentioned.

                  If you are going to purchase the regulator yourself, make sure it is a bypass model then you will not need to install a pressure only on the house side, after the meter as this model will let pressure back into the city water system and it is not considered a closed system.
                  sigpic

                  Robert

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?


                    Here's what you need to do,

                    #1 replace the existing PRV. if you can get apart to remove great ! install a new double union PRV. this will allow you to slide into place without tearing down, you "MAY" have to get from a plumber or plumbing supply the big box don't always carry this kind,

                    #2 at the same time buy and install a new thermal expansion
                    tank above water heater, on cold side tee,

                    AND MAKE YOUR WIFE HAPPY ! !


                    JERRYMAC MASTERPLUMBER

                    P.S. the reason this suddenly happened is because the city
                    raised the street water pressure to handle the new construction in town and they "DO NOT NOTIFY" homeowners
                    i have seen this happen in differnt parts of the country,
                    JERRYMAC
                    E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                    CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                    FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                    SINCE JAN. 1989

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

                      Okay, went outside with the pressure guage and street pressure is about 110.

                      Okay, my last questions are (hopefully): Should I even bother to remove the two plugs to see if cleaning out the PRV and the screen will fix the problem? Remember, the initail problem was very loud whistling pipes when two faucets on. Now the problem has expanded to add I have high pressure even when PRV is set to lowest possible pressure. Whistling is gone when set to lowest possible pressure BUT I still get pressure creep (80-90) and a blast of water when PRV is at lowest pressure setting.

                      Again, is what I am experiencing more likely to be up in the guts of the PRV such that I have to basically take the thing off to service/clean it? Is removingthe plugs and cleaning the PRV a pipe-dream (pardon the pun) that will likely do nothing for me?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

                        Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?
                        Okay, went outside with the pressure guage and street pressure is about 110.

                        Okay, my last questions are (hopefully): Should I even bother to remove the two plugs to see if cleaning out the PRV and the screen will fix the problem? Remember, the initail problem was very loud whistling pipes when two faucets on. Now the problem has expanded to add I have high pressure even when PRV is set to lowest possible pressure. Whistling is gone when set to lowest possible pressure BUT I still get pressure creep (80-90) and a blast of water when PRV is at lowest pressure setting.

                        Again, is what I am experiencing more likely to be up in the guts of the PRV such that I have to basically take the thing off to service/clean it? Is removingthe plugs and cleaning the PRV a pipe-dream (pardon the pun) that will likely do nothing for me?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

                          Originally posted by dcw View Post
                          Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?
                          Okay, went outside with the pressure guage and street pressure is about 110.

                          Okay, my last questions are (hopefully): Should I even bother to remove the two plugs to see if cleaning out the PRV and the screen will fix the problem? Remember, the initail problem was very loud whistling pipes when two faucets on. Now the problem has expanded to add I have high pressure even when PRV is set to lowest possible pressure. Whistling is gone when set to lowest possible pressure BUT I still get pressure creep (80-90) and a blast of water when PRV is at lowest pressure setting.

                          Again, is what I am experiencing more likely to be up in the guts of the PRV such that I have to basically take the thing off to service/clean it? Is removingthe plugs and cleaning the PRV a pipe-dream (pardon the pun) that will likely do nothing for me?

                          I would replace the PRV, and yes, what you are experiencing is probably caused by the diaphram.

                          Replace it, cut the copper, and install a dual union set up, I doubt that cleaning anything will help, you can try, if you have nothing better to do, sure, give it a try, just be ready to replace it if you cannot get anything back toghether correctly or it leaks afterwards or is worse off.

                          Keep on mind, your PSI should be 80 max.
                          sigpic

                          Robert

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                          • #14
                            Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

                            Check with your municipal water supplier. Typically if the incoming water pressure is over 80psi they will provide you with a PRV. Of course you will have to find someone to install it. I wouldn't bother trying to rebuild the old one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: pressure reducing valve repair/replace?

                              My bet is you'll end up having to take your PRV totally apart, clean it out really well and install a rebuild kit. Most likely the diaphragm has a tiny hole in it. This is more of a PITA than it's worth so replacement of the whole thing is in order. I really think you would do well to hire a good plumber to help with this project.

                              In addition to replacement of your pressure regulator (aka pressure reducing valve) you really need to have a pressure relief (safety) valve installed just down stream of it that's set to blow at about 75 PSI. This is to prevent back pressure building up and busting the diaphragm in the new one and also to prevent damages elsewhere in your house. Anyone that works with well water systems and pumps knows about this type of relief valve. They are used in case the pressure switch sticks and the pump doesn't shut off. In such cases if you don't have a pressure relief valve something has to give and you end up with damages and a flood.

                              I recommend installing a 0-100 or 0-160 PSI pressure gauge just after the regulator and another 0-200 or 0-300 PSI just after your main water shut-off valve. This way you can see what's going on. There are special copper sweat Ts with a side port that's threaded. Good plumbers know about them and any needed bushings as well.

                              As for installing an expansion tank for your water heater, please have it done. It will save you much grief later on.

                              Have check valves installed as per local code requirements and it would be wise to install and new T & P safety relief valve on your water heater.

                              Grief prevention is the keyword here, and unions really come in nice when something needs to be removed for service.

                              Please note that appliances such as clothes washers and dishwashers are designed for around 40 PSI (please no less than 30 or more than 65 PSI) at the inlets. Too high and you can bust up the insides of the solenoid valves and too low pressure and the machine may not totally fill up as it needs to.
                              Last edited by Woussko; 01-13-2008, 03:13 PM.

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