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Water main check valve, no expantion tank

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  • Water main check valve, no expantion tank

    I went to a customer the other dayto replace the guts in her leaky toilets and replace a leaky faucet in the utility sink. The next morning she called me and told me that she had a leak in her utility closet and she thought it was the water heater. I determined that the water was coming from the pressure relief valve. I saw the check valve on the water main and figured that her expansion tank must be shot. To my surprise there is no expansion tank. So I guess her leaky toilets and sink kept the pressure released, so when I fixed her leaks the pressure built up and started coming out of the tank. My question is was there a period of time when check valves became code and there was no code for expansion tanks? I work in the Mount Laurel New Jersey area and I have never seen a house with a check valve and without and expansion tank. There are hundreds of units built the same way in this development. They must all have leaky toilets!

  • #2
    Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

    I'm not a plumber, but I have been a lot of basements and under a lot of crawl spaces in my years in the pump business. I don't remember seeing any expansion tank in any plumbing system except on boilers for baseboard heating systems. And for cripe sakes, why would you need a check valve?

    Is this something new? How the hell did we get by without them all these years??? Must be like bicycle helmets. We should all be dead if we rode a bike without one.
    Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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    • #3
      Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

      as soon as you turn the domestic system into a closed system and have a heater, you'll need some form of an expansion tank.

      out here in los angeles, we don't have backflow protection on our water meters. if we have a circ pump, there is a good possibility there is a check valve on the cold.

      a very simple test is to install a pressure gage on the heaters hose bib and turn on the hot water upstairs. when the heater re-fires/ calls for heat, shut off the faucet and observe the pressure. watch as the pressure goes up. of course if any faucets drip, the pressure will be lost.

      when you approach 150# the relief valve will open.

      out here, without check valves, the pressure will just go back out the main as long as the city pressure is well below 150#.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

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      • #4
        Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

        That was why I asked why anyone would put a check valve on in the first place. It didn't make any sense to me.

        I built a house in Michigan years ago. My friend the Plumber helped me plumb the house. He had some neat little tricks: Like putting mixing valves into the toilet to mix the hot and cold water so the toilet didn't sweat. He also ran a pipe from the farthest fixture in the master bathroom on the hot side back to a tee installed behind the drain valve on the water heater. The water would cool enough to make it self circulate and we had instant hot water in the bathroom. It took me just one month to realize that pipe wrap was a major must. My electric bill was phenomenal that first month with bare hot water pipes. He did use check valves on the mixing pipes, but for a different reason. I still can't see any reason for a check valve on a plumbing system.
        Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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        • #5
          Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

          They claim that if you have contamination in your pipes and the water is pushed back out into the system that you could contaminate the water for everybody else. My house was built in 1987 I don't have to check out the pressure coming in from the street is 65 pounds per square inch. No matter how hot my water gets in my tank I always have 65 psi because if it goes above 65 pounds against pushed back out to the system. On the houses with check or backflow valves they have expansion tanks installed. The expantion tank of course will absorb the pressure. But in this house there is no expantion tank which means when the pressures is as high as about 150 PSI all the plumbing in the house is under that pressure which I think stinks. I'm trying to figure out is if there was a time when the code said you had to have check valves install but not expansion tanks.

          Just wanted to mention I'm 52 years old and never wore a bicycle helmet and I'm still here to talk about it. I must be an exceptional person

          Thanks

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          • #6
            Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

            Just wanted to mention I'm 52 years old and never wore a bicycle helmet and I'm still here to talk about it. I must be an exceptional person
            I'm 64 and I agree, we lived on the edge didn't we!

            Whether something was code at any given time would probably depend on the area. I just can't imagine code saying to put in a check valve for any reason. Back flow maybe.
            Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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            • #7
              Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

              Originally posted by HHIP View Post
              Just wanted to mention I'm 52 years old and never wore a bicycle helmet and I'm still here to talk about it. I must be an exceptional person
              I'm 27 and have dented a bicycle helmet against a curb.

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              • #8
                Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                I'm 27 and have dented a bicycle helmet against a curb.
                Boy, this younger generation. I just don't know what will become of them.
                Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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                • #9
                  Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                  In my area, the CA Department of Public Health under PUC Rule 16c is requiring that public water purveyors assure that their water systems are protected against backflow from consumers' premises. Their method of compliance is to demand that their customers install approved backflow prevention assemblies at the point of service. At this time, only commercial users are being required to conform. I assume it will eventually trickle down to residential users.
                  Funny thing is, no mention is made in the water company notices of the necessity for an expansion tank on the user side of the assembly. Every one I've bid, I've explained the need for a tank. If they don't want to install an expansion tank, they get to sign a waiver before we commence installation of the back flow device. And, since the install requires a permit, there's a good chance the inspector isn't going to sign off until he sees a tank in place.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                    It would seem to me that unless it's the code that the tank be in place, the inspector wouldn't have anything to say about it. However, I can see where it could be a real problem.

                    In my humble opinion these back flow preventers are a joke, but what do I know. I wonder what senators nephew invented these things anyway?
                    Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                      Originally posted by cpw View Post
                      I'm 27 and have dented a bicycle helmet against a curb.

                      I am 36 and still skate WITHOUT a helmet - I was TAUGHT by the old school

                      Here is an OLD saying:

                      NO RISK = NO REWARD





                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                        I'm 61- -never worn a bicycle helmet, never had a chain guard on a bicycle either. Never understood why they put the crossbar on boy's bikes either. David

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                        • #13
                          Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                          Originally posted by Thurman View Post
                          I'm 61- -never worn a bicycle helmet, never had a chain guard on a bicycle either. Never understood why they put the crossbar on boy's bikes either. David
                          The crossbar is for rigidity. Boys do many more things to bikes than girls who are just sissies.

                          Seriously, for rigidity. It also teaches a boy to not screw up. LOL
                          Time flies like an arrow.

                          Fruit flies like a banana.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                            Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
                            I am 36 and still skate WITHOUT a helmet - I was TAUGHT by the old school

                            Here is an OLD saying:

                            NO RISK = NO REWARD
                            Just because you add risk doesn't mean you add reward. Having a helmet on in no way detracts from the bicycle experience.

                            I would rather spend $50 on a bicycle helmet than potentially hundreds of dollars in an emergency room, or much worse.

                            There are plenty of things that don't provide an appropriate cost benefit (e.g., I am dubious as to the efficacy of car seats for children older than a toddler); but the cost-benefit of a bicycle helmet is quite high.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Water main check valve, no expantion tank

                              Reasons people didn't wear helmets, seatbelts etc. is they weren't around or we just didn't know any better.

                              There will always be that story of "so-and-so" that if they had a helmet on or were wearing their seatbelt, they would have been killed.

                              But statistically, you're safer to do so.

                              Back on subject. My area has double check valve yokes at the meter. So in other words, a closed system.

                              But a closed system does not necessarily have to have an expansion tank. A high enough PSI (typically at night) must also be present to overcome seals. Without that, you don't see problems.

                              Literally thousands of houses & businesses here on the municipal system without an expansion tank for decades. But as the water department expands service & updates is when some might see a problem.

                              Regardless of PSI though, it's code for my area.

                              Now here's a question I'd like to know:

                              I know to set TXT in relation to incoming PSI, but still the tank is an enclosed unit. If it is an enclosed unit, it has finite space.

                              So what is the pressure point where a TXT becomes redundant?

                              Thanks.

                              J.C.

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