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grobbins6
07-10-2008, 09:39 AM
Hello everyone-

Here is a stumper for you....(I previously posted this in the homeowner section but never got a response; please forgive my posting here)....

We recently moved to a new house and I finally had a chance to bring the irrigation system on line. It went fairly smoothly; one broken head and one that refuses to go down; and aside from replacing the damaged heads there is a bigger concern.

When the system activates any of the zones, our upstairs toilet begins making the most horrendous pulsating noise and the filler tube begins pulsing water into the tank. The first time it happened I was outside and did not notice until an extra three inches of water was in the tank. It stops when you flush the toilet or depress the float enough to start some flow. I tested it with my wife and every time I activated a zone, it happened again.

I can't imagine the previous homeowner experienced this as the neighbors say he used the system routinely.

I am completely puzzled by this and have no idea what to do. The only other piece of information that could be important is that the water line feeding the irrigation system has an expansion tank on it. The valve to it was closed when I started up the system so I opened it after pressurizing the feed to the system but before pressurizing the zones.

Any thoughts?

Wet_Boots
07-10-2008, 09:52 AM
Any pressure reducers in the house plumbing?

WalkGood
07-10-2008, 10:08 AM
.... the water line feeding the irrigation system has an expansion tank on it. The valve to it was closed when I started up the system so I opened it after pressurizing the feed to the system but before pressurizing the zones.



Close the valve to the expansion tank and see if the chattering stops.

grobbins6
07-16-2008, 05:03 PM
Thanks for the responses!

There are no pressure reducers in the house plumbing.

I tried closing the valve to the expansion tank but it did not help. If I choked down the supply to the toilet it slowed things down but the problem still occurred.

As of right now, I am going with the idea that it is a bad valve in the toilet and will try replacing it.

Wish me luck!

WalkGood
07-16-2008, 08:35 PM
Note that there are special toilet tank valves that purposely relieve excess water pressure from the house water supply. Pressure can build up from water heaters when there are check valves installed that do not let the water expand back towards the water supply.

Wet_Boots
07-16-2008, 09:37 PM
Is the expansion tank still functional? (not waterlogged) - If there are no PRVs or whole-house check valves, then something must be, or have been, wrong with the sprinkler system.

WalkGood
07-16-2008, 09:44 PM
Is the expansion tank still functional? (not waterlogged) - If there are no PRVs or whole-house check valves, then something must be, or have been, wrong with the sprinkler system.

I'm thinking the expansion tank might be dis-functional; he said my suggestion to close valve to that tank did not affect the problem.


To grobbins..... does the toilet tank valve chatter continuously while the sprinklers are on or just for a moment when they first turn on?

grobbins6
07-17-2008, 12:23 PM
Thanks for all the responses!

WG - The toilet surges continuously once the system comes on and continues even after the system turns off. Basically what is happening is that the fill tube is pulsing water into the tank and overfilling it. To make it stop, I have to either flush the toilet or pull up very hard on the float lever.

We have an identical toilet on the same level that did not exhibit the same symptoms, even when I ran the irrigation system with the valve to the offending toilet closed. While I appreciate the suggestion about the PR toilet valve, this makes me think that it is not the case here.

WB - I have no idea how to tell if the expansion tank is functional or not. I did just notice in a photo I took during one of our walk-throughs that the tank was not present at that time. The valve is there but no tank. The irrigation system has a PRV outside I believe...I will double check tonight.

Man I hope this is as simple as replacing the toilet valve. If not; I am definitely finding a local guy to check things out. The neighbors tell me that a retired irrigation guy blows out the whole neighborhood in the fall but he won't do repairs so I will have to ask around for a recommendation.

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 12:42 PM
Expansion tanks that work have air in them, and you can read the air pressure on the air valve, and add air if needed.

What I don't see any evidence of, is of pressure readings being taken, before and during sprinkler operation. Poor data, poor assistance.

WalkGood
07-17-2008, 01:45 PM
A new toilet fill-valve is really inexpensive and easy to replace.

The "mystery" expansion tank that suddenly appeared..... you can tell if it is brand spankin new by looking at it. Why was it not present earlier? Is it really part of the fresh water system of the house or is it only for a hotwater boiler closed pressure system?

grobbins6
07-17-2008, 01:47 PM
What I don't see any evidence of, is of pressure readings being taken, before and during sprinkler operation. Poor data, poor assistance.

I'll see what I can do. Not an excuse but these are the facts...we moved in 2 mos ago and 9 days after moving in a little sister joined my 2 and 4 year olds. Things are a bit crazy as you may be able to imagine! :dizzy: It took me a month before I had a chance to start up the system for the year (prev homeowner got a bit lazy during the spring with the pending sale).

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 03:46 PM
With no other purpose for its existence, the expansion tank may be for water hammer in the sprinklers, which can occur for a number of reasons.

grobbins6
07-17-2008, 04:00 PM
Is it really part of the fresh water system of the house or is it only for a hotwater boiler closed pressure system?

It is on the irrigation system feed about a foot after it leaves the house main.

I would say it is on the newer side of things but will double check when I get home.

grobbins6
08-22-2008, 04:17 PM
OK...an update and some photos. I replaced the ballcock on the offending toilet and the problem went away. There was a slight squeal once from the other toilet on that floor so I replaced that ballcock as well. No water hammer issues since.

I also bought a pressure gauge and some fittings to allow connection to a spigot. Over the weekend will piece them together and get a pressure reading in the irrigation system (will have to calculate for heads based upon assumed piping/valve configurations).

Since I know you guys like pictures and to help answer some of the connections, here is the system I inherited....

In photo one you can see the street feed coming up from the bottom to the water meter, a prv, and then the irrigation feed splits off at the top of the picture (the expansion tank is on the irrigation feed).

Photo two shows the outdoor setup. Fire away! :)

WalkGood
08-22-2008, 04:32 PM
I've never seen a water meter piped like that. Only ones where the water goes thru the meter body.

Your meter looks like the water goes stright thru the horizontal pipe below and also thru the meter in that thinner (1/2" or 5/8") tubing.

Can you post another picture from a different angle, perhaps standing near the window and aim at the meter configuration (closeup) ?

Thanks

grobbins6
08-22-2008, 04:35 PM
BTW...I was wrong about the lack of prv's; sorry. :hammerhead:

grobbins6
08-22-2008, 04:43 PM
Your meter looks like the water goes stright thru the horizontal pipe below...


I wish! That would be much easier on the wallet but frowned upon by the water dept.

That setup is pretty common around here and I think it allows the WD to swap out meters pretty easily. We are a coastal community so it might carry over from the frequent removal of meters from the seasonal houses during the winter. My house is 2 miles from the ocean so that does not apply to me. :cry:

I will try and get another pic this weekend.

Wet_Boots
08-22-2008, 05:19 PM
Probably a Ford meter-setting rig. They make them in various configurations, so that one could simply cut a length from the supply pipe, and insert the rig.

WalkGood
08-22-2008, 05:30 PM
Well, now we can see why you had/have water hammer from the irrigation affecting the toilets. That PRV keeps all the "hammer" action to the house side of the PRV. That expansion tank looks small. But perhaps it is working.

Personally, I'd rather have the irrigation tap BEFORE the PRV unless the water pressure is just way too high. Your water meter might be blocking a lot of volume all by itself.

Wet_Boots
08-22-2008, 05:35 PM
There had better be another expansion tank in that basement. Otherwise, trouble come wintertime.

AI Inc
08-22-2008, 05:37 PM
Why do you have an expansion tank on the irr feed?

Tom Tom
08-22-2008, 06:11 PM
Your PRV has a strainer threaded into the bottom.

You may want to remove it(after turning off water) to check that its clean.

Mike Leary
08-22-2008, 06:22 PM
You may want to remove it(after turning off water) to check that its clean.

I wonder how many well-meaning contractors install filters and never come back to clean them. They've sure screwed me. I like the RB scrubber valve wired to a zone with automatic flush filtering, even so, I did take one apart that I installed five years ago; got clogged with larger material than the screen could pass. I'm thinking filters that can't be easily changed are a rip.

Tom Tom
08-22-2008, 06:34 PM
I wonder how many well-meaning contractors install filters and never come back to clean them. They've sure screwed me. I like the RB scrubber valve wired to a zone with automatic flush filtering, even so, I did take one apart that I installed five years ago; got clogged with larger material than the screen could pass. I'm thinking filters that can't be easily changed are a rip.


Had a system recently where the screen inside the PRV was pretty clogged up.

Replaced the entire PRV and rotor heads were spraying 5' further.

Its just one of those things that rarely gets checked/replaced.

Mike Leary
08-22-2008, 06:42 PM
With flush valves on Netafim, unless we're pumping from pond, etc., do we need them?

Tom Tom
08-22-2008, 06:44 PM
With flush valves on Netafim, unless we're pumping from pond, etc., do we need them?


you talking filters? Heck yeah. Its what a $10 part?

Mike Leary
08-22-2008, 06:46 PM
you talking filters? Heck yeah. Its what a $10 part?

That's not the point, servicing them is the big deal. :hammerhead:

WalkGood
08-23-2008, 10:02 AM
Probably a Ford meter-setting rig. They make them in various configurations, so that one could simply cut a length from the supply pipe, and insert the rig.

That Pretzelhorn rig looks like it is a restriction compared to "straight through" meters. But I like the name. Pretzels.... mmmmmmm.

Kiril
08-23-2008, 10:22 AM
Got Unions? :rolleyes:

Wet_Boots
08-23-2008, 10:35 AM
Got Unions? :rolleyes:The meter setters have the unions built in. You have to understand that these date back to the days of unmetered water, and the need to be able to cut in a meter into a supply line that's tight to a wall or floor, and that includes steel supply lines. Water departments like to keep their inventories simple.

Waterit
08-23-2008, 10:44 AM
Pretzelhorns, Kornerhorns, who thought these names up? Red Skelton?

DanaMac
08-23-2008, 10:54 AM
I see one potential problem. The PRV. The adjusting screw is adjusted all the way down. This is going to give you the highest pressure available. The other thing, is I see a lot of the PRVs going bad when they are adjusted all the way down. What I find is that there may be HIGH PRESSURE but LOW VOLUME. Which maybe someone tried fixing by putting in the expansion tank, hoping that may take care of a low pressure/volume problem.

Wet_Boots
08-23-2008, 11:13 AM
Change the plumbing...

DanaMac
08-23-2008, 12:25 PM
Change the plumbing...

I would still want a PRV in place.

WalkGood
08-23-2008, 12:29 PM
Change the plumbing...


And add a new shutoff for new irrigation feed.

The "X" where it says "cut"..... you mean to cap that at the expansion tank right?

Wet_Boots
08-23-2008, 12:51 PM
And add a new shutoff for new irrigation feed.

The "X" where it says "cut"..... you mean to cap that at the expansion tank right?Yep. You could rework it in a number of ways. I would eliminate all that lumber I think is used for bracing, and employ stand-off supports. A PRV in the sprinkler line would be called for if the pressure demanded it. Really killer pressure would have the existing PRV upstream of the meter.

Waterit
08-23-2008, 03:58 PM
I would eliminate all that lumber I think is used for bracing, and employ stand-off supports.

Finally, someone notices the almost-total lack of support for all that copper!

grobbins6
08-26-2008, 03:58 PM
OK guys...some more pics (including the requested new angle on the meter setup) and info.

I took a pressure reading at an exterior hose connection (house supply) and got 65psi. I took a pressure reading at the hose connection after the PVB in the exterior irrigation setup and got 64psi.

There is in fact another expansion tank in the house. It is located within the heating system on the hot water feed to the baseboards, prior to the zone valves.

And now the pics.....

The first shows the meter setup and irrigation feed again (as requested).

The second shows the valve box for zones 1-3. It looks wet and full of crap; any thoughts on what I should do besides dig out the valves?

The last three show the valve box for zones 4 and 5. You could not see everything so I included some side views.

Let 'er rip, I can take it! :weightlifter: (only because the system came with the house)

grobbins6
08-26-2008, 04:03 PM
Tom Tom; a question for you....if I open up the bottom of the PRV to get to the screen, how likely is it that I will not be able to put it back together? I don't mind doing it and having to replace the PRV, but my wife will cut them off if I have to leave the water off for a day while I fix it.

Wet_Boots
08-26-2008, 04:04 PM
Ask the town what your street pressure is.

DanaMac
08-26-2008, 04:14 PM
Tom Tom; a question for you....if I open up the bottom of the PRV to get to the screen, how likely is it that I will not be able to put it back together? I don't mind doing it and having to replace the PRV, but my wife will cut them off if I have to leave the water off for a day while I fix it.

As old and rusted and corroded as that one is, I sure wouldn't do it. Replace it Replace it Replace it. Otherwise, they may be cut off!! Send her to a nice hotel if it's off for a day :)

grobbins6
08-26-2008, 04:24 PM
Ask the town what your street pressure is.

It fluctuates between 75 and 80 psi at my sill elevation (depending on water tank level). Street is about 15 feet below that so it would be higher there.

AI Inc
08-26-2008, 04:47 PM
Would be about 6 lbs more at the street. Kirl can help ya better with that. If your in the northeast whats at the street isnt going to do you much good. Need to tap the basement.

Wet_Boots
08-26-2008, 05:08 PM
75-80 psi at your water meter is low enough to do the plumbing reroute and not worry about adding a PRV to the sprinkler supply. That will provide several benefits. More water for the sprinklers is one thing. The second, and most important thing, is that water hammer from the sprinklers shutting off will never get past the PRV, so house plumbing doesn't bang around. And find a better way to brace what you have. Lose the lumber.

One minus, is that flawed outdoor plumbing can leak even more, but you can add a master valve to the system, and make it unimportant.

Tom Tom
08-26-2008, 06:03 PM
Tom Tom; a question for you....if I open up the bottom of the PRV to get to the screen, how likely is it that I will not be able to put it back together? I don't mind doing it and having to replace the PRV, but my wife will cut them off if I have to leave the water off for a day while I fix it.


Like Dana suggested, chances are the entire PRV could be trashed-so replace the entire device.