Busted backflow

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Mad Estonian, May 20, 2007.

  1. Mad Estonian

    Mad Estonian LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    Calling out to all you backflow experts, anyone experienced this? I tested a Watts 3/4" 007 DCVA today. 1st check valve closed around 1.2 press. differential, but didn't close tight, slooowly leaking down to 0. 2nd valve didn't close at all. Replace both valves with new ones, got exactly the same results. Now, the system wasn't winterized, still not too sure why not, I think the installer might have dropped the ball. And it got relatively cold here this winter. It's only one year old, and the DCVA seems to have passed the test last year. Looks to me like I'll have to replace the whole thing, feel bad for the customer. Don't see any cracks or leaks in the body, could be something on the bottom (it's in the ground). Just thought I'd check if anyone has seen this before, or has any suggestions. Thanks.
     
  2. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Your first problem is that it is a Watts, Second.........its a watts.............
    If it was an 850, I would say your first problem is it LOOKs like a watts :)

    But, seriously, a little steel wool to the seats might save you some time and effort. In line checks like the watts or febco's 850 are harder to service/see the valve seats than a y check, but anything could have hung up on the seat and be stuck there. Doesn't take much if your problem is just bleeding down. Did you install rubber only? or new checks? I tend to charge for new checks on in lines because of the possibility to break a cage. If you can re-build the old cage later, then you can reduce the cost of installing a complete check later. Call every repair a "rebuild" but bill according to the cost of a complete check. Eating a broken cage isn't something I care to do.
    If you installed rubber only, are the cages in good shape for sure? I haven't seen very many in ground installs freeze hard enough to damage the actual brass, but your location says BC. I'm not sure about your freeze/frost line. If it actually froze, you may have a warped body.
     
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 22,076

    Sounds like the ball valves are shot in which case the assembly is junk.
    1.2 is not a very high number..same after you switched checks?
     
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,794

    3/4 DCVA's are cheap and quick to replace. We never rebuilt them.

    We always installed the Febco 850, I know that Bryan is a fan of Y checks like in the Wilkins, but I can't think of a single Febco we put in that failed testing.

    Actually, I can think of one, but thats it.
     
  5. Mad Estonian

    Mad Estonian LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    Thanks everyone, I really appreciate getting to draw on so much combined experience on here. My distributor only carries Watts, and that's mostly what I see, some Conbraco too, but no Febco DCVAs yet. I did totally replace both valves, wasn't going to take any chances. And yeah, I thought 1.2 was pretty low for a nearly new assembly as well. I agree that it's probably the ball valves, one did leak visibly halfway between open/closed (forgot to mention that), but seemed to seal when fully open or closed. Our winters are pretty mild here, we're just a stone's throw from Seattle really, I think it might have gotten down to 23F for a day or two, so I find it hard to imagine the body really being damaged.
    I'll do a search on past threads, but I am curious, is the consensus out there that Watts is junk? If so, I'll get my assemblies somewhere else.
     
  6. Mad Estonian

    Mad Estonian LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    3/4 DCVA's are cheap and quick to replace

    Retail here is $313 (and not sure how many of you are aware, the Canadian dollar is strong right now, just went over 90 cents US for the 1st time since the 70s. And without getting into politics, I think that's got more to do with what's going on down there than up here), that's partly why I feel bad for these folks. How much down there for one?
     
  7. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,794

  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 22,076

    I'm a fan of "Y" backflows too, the checks are larger & (I think) less friction
    loss. However, if the assembly froze, it should have forced the check retainers clear out & warped the body..If you had a little water that froze it
    could be the ball valves & checks were damaged. I've only seen one freeze
    & it's not pretty..amazing what nature can do! Febco/Watts/Wilkins no prob.
     
  9. Mad Estonian

    Mad Estonian LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    Stop buying from plumbing supply houses

    I don't, it's an irrigation distributor. But thanks for those links, depending on shipping costs, might be the way to go. As I'm sure you guys can tell, distribution, pricing etc. are a whole different ballgame up here, unfortunately.
     
  10. Mad Estonian

    Mad Estonian LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    And just to clarify, $313 is retail, not my cost. I paid $187.80 for one back in February, when retail was about $260, it went up right after. So those American distributors are looking really good, I'm inquiring about the shipping rates. One of you guys should smuggle some supplies to me up here, I can trade you for some of our legendary BC bud:nono: :dizzy: :laugh: And bring me up some empty wine barrels too, when my wife and I went on a winery tour in the Napa Valley last year they said they sold old barrels for $1. 1/2 barrels retail for $40 up here as planters. And the smell when you're drilling out drain holes in them is truly sublime.
     

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