broken fitting in pvb

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Harry0, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Harry0

    Harry0 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 220

    I had this happen twice today during activations-Customer turned on system during winter and pvc around pvb shattered leaving a broken pvc male adaptor in the brass pvb-Anyone want to share secrets on how to get the fitting out? I just replaced them new. I would like to salvage the pvb(about $60)
    Thanks Harry
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,410

    Inquiring minds want to know.
  3. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,722

    Heat it with a torch or heat gun. But I would save time and throw it away.
  4. crosson lawn

    crosson lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    southern question what is a PVB??
    just wanting to sympathize with ya'll northerners
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,214

    pressure vacuum breaker
  6. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    Let me get this straight - you have a PVB (pressure vacuum breaker) that had freeze damage to the PVC supply piping and/or fitting and to remedy the situation cut it out and replace the device?

    Whatever happened to repairing the broken fittings and replacing the internals? It is not hard to remove a plastic fitting piece from a backflow device - a small hacksaw blade and a screw driver works well. Install a couple of fittings, replace the internal parts if needed, and recertify the device.

    Replacing the entire device requires either carrying an inventory of PVB's or a trip to the supply house to get one. It also requires a trip to the permit office to get a new device permit. (you do get them permitted when you put in a new device don't you?)

    Kinda reminds me of the commercial where the plumber tells the lady that her drain is clogged so they have to tear down the house. There seems to be a severe lack of irrigation repair technicians, and an over-abundance of irrigation parts replacement techs. The old, "we'll keep replacing components until we get the problem solved," mentality. Look at the ads for irrigation techs in some of the trade magazines. Under experience required - 1 year or we'll train. That's scary.

    Example - zone doesn't come on. Solution - Cut out the valve and replace it. Might have been a loose wire, a bad solenoid, or faulty diaphragm.
    Example - zone doesn't shut off. Solution - Cut out the valve and replace it. Might have been a piece of debris under the diaphragm or solenoid plunger, or a worn out diaphragm.

    I know I'd much rather replace a diaphragm on a Toro 250-06-04 with it's 8 screws than cut that sucker out and replace it. Because nine times out of ten the knothead that installed it made some fancy mainline offset and put the fittings hub to hub and then ran a couple of lateral lines in the ditch also.

    Fix it and be done with it.

    Jerry R
  7. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,722

    I have to disagree with the repairing of a backflow when there freeze damage. Too often you replace the parts inside and turn it on and there is a hairline crack in the unit . Now you have to do it twice. Costing the customer more money . In these situations we just replace .
  8. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    yes...heat with torch it will come right out...don't heat it too much though..just enough to peel it from the threads.

    As for repairing vs replacing:

    I had one yesterday....guts were bad....replaced bonnet/poppet assemblies....turned water on, hairline crack in ball valve. Replaced the unit...

    The parts would have cost her more money...labor would have been about the I replaced the unit. It only took 5 minutes to replace the guts and find out about the hairline....I think it is more honest than to just automatically replace the unit because the guts are bad...just my opinion...I don't think I did her any dis-service by "wasting" 5 minutes replacing the guts, only to find out the ball valve was cracked.

    Now if it takes 30 minutes to replace the guts and then you end up replacing the unit due to a crack...then it wouldn't be fair to the client....HOWEVER, IF IT TAKES YOU 30 MINUTES TO GUT A PVB...n/m

    I am no expert by any means..but in two days I have repaired 7 backflows.....2 of those needed replacing due to cracked ballvalves AND bad guts AND cracked copper lines...but the other 5 just needed repair parts. Seems to me that the weakest link is the plastic guts and they are designed to break saving the brass housings???
    Ahh..what the heck do I know, I'm from Arizona.
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    The ONLY way I see the PVB could possibly be OK with pvc supply pipe broken is if you left the "A" valve in the off position. All the tech literature say to leave all ball valves at 45 to allow them to drain. I will admit that if I am worried about a supply side leak and I can blow through the valves in question and then shut them off. (while air is traveling through the valve, rotate it open and closed several times before disconnecting). If this is the case w/ your PVB, the easiest solution to your problem is a Ram bit. That will allow you to re-use the fitting entirely. Otherwise, a torch, with the valve off and having manually dumped a bucket of water into the pvb will work.
  10. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Oh what a feeling to live in a state where irrigation is licensed!! As far as the backflow goes, if freeze damage is there, be very leary of the device. We are talking about hard freezes here Jerry, not the quick overnight thing you see in North Texas. Brass bulges or seats get damaged as well as the internals. But about the lack of service in our service hit the nail on the head with a sledge. Funniest part is, I will preach until the cover me with clay that its more PROFITABLE to fix it. It just takes less knowledge to replace it. You can repair two or three bad diaphrams/solenoids in the time it takes you to cut out and replace one valve, and that's just talking residential 1". Larger valves are even more time saved and money made :)

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