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Shower valve still leaking?

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  • Shower valve still leaking?


    This is my first time using this forum. I have a Symmons Temptrol Model A which was dripping. The folks at Symmons talked me through rebuilding my shower valve and were even nice enough to provide all the replacement parts. I started by just replacing the washers on my valve stem but my drip persisted. I then replaced the valve stem (which came complete with new washers), both hot and cold water seats, and the rubber gasket that sits next to the cap.

    I'm not sure if I have a real drip or not - after about 12 hours of being shut off, I still notice the bath spout is "wet" when I touch it and right next to the drain you can see a drip has come out. The drip rate is only about 1 drop every 30 minutes or so (I put some newspaper down and checked - it took about 30 min before I saw any drop on the paper). This is much better than the 1 drop per second I had before I rebuilt the valve. That's why I hesitate to call it a true "drip".

    Is this just the water draining out of the pipes or is there a drip I should fix? The seats are hand tight but quite snug (Symmons says 15 ft-lb torque on the seats and I'm pretty confident I have about that - certainly not less than 15 ft-lb and I didn't use a hydrolic lift to force the seats in place!). Not sure what else I can do.

    I'm probably making a big deal about nothing, but now that I've got a taste for doing my own plumbing repair, I've become a perfectionist!

  • #2

    Like the name. Did you use pipe dope on the seat threads?
    Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.


    • #3

      I put a little Silicon lubricant on the threads of the seats, but no pipe dope. The cold water seat does have a rubber O-ring on the outside of it.

      Should I take the seats back out and put pipe dope on them? I've also read teflon tape may also work?


      • #4
        Silicone lubricant won't do it. Since you've had the unit apart a few times now it won't take you long to go ahead and re set the seats. I would torque it a skosh past hand tight when you re install the seats even with dope. These small threads are easily stripped so don't crank down on it really hard.

        Teflon tape will usually work on seat threads. As will a quality pipe thread compund. Do not buy a cheap store brand compound.

        After testing the repair, make sure your diverter is set "to tub" so that all the water can drain out of the pipes. It won't take 12 hours. Your spout should be completely dry after an hour.
        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.


        • #5
          plumber covered most of the key issues with a standard valve. the symmons is a little off of common. this is a pressure balance valve and has a dual seat that requires a special seat wrench to properly tighten it. sounds like you probably have the tool since you were able to get it out.
          make sure you use pipe dope on the seat threads. also believe it or not the washer screw is also an area that will cause a leak. since this is a pressure balance stem, it has a free floating piston inside of it. if the washer screw is loose it will bypass the piston and cause a drip. also another issue with this vavle is that the stem packing is always under pressure, even with the valve in the closed position. not a good design.
          like plumber mentioned, make sure you put the diverter, or volume controll into a center position to allow the valve to properly drain. i would put a cup under the spout and check it in the morning. if the cup is full of water or just a couple of drops. this valve does require a little extra force to properly close. remember that you are closing 2 washers at the same time.


          • #6
            Thanks plumber and plumber rick.

            You are right, I do have the special tools to remove the Symmons seats and I have gotten a little "practice" so removing the seats again shouldn't be a big deal.

            I will check the things you guys mentioned and get some pipe dope when the stores are open tomorrow.

            The "drip" is VERY slow (about 1 drop per 30 minutes - that's right, ALMOST non existant) so I doubt a cup will be scarcely more than damp in the AM. Nonetheless, I'll put a cup under the spout tonight before I go to bed and check in the AM - better to check than to assume!

            Really appreaciate all the help!


            • #7
              Plumber and Plumber Rick,

              Thanks for the suggestions - you convinced me I had a small drip and now it's fixed!

              Didn't end up needing to use the pipe dope, but did need to tighten the hot water seat just a smidge more. It turned out the the hot water seat was sticking out just a hair too much and was preventing the cold water washer from being able to get a tight seal on the cold water seat. I didn't tighten much at all and was surprised that this small increase in tightness made the drip go away, but it did. I can't take credit for this idea - I thought I should call Symmons about the pipe dope since it wasn't ever mentioned in any of their instructions for rebuilding the Temptrol valve. The customer service agent said the dope was a good idea, but suggested I try tightening the hot water seat just a hair more first.

              Thanks for convincing me I wasn't crazy!