Backflow Preventer with intermediate Atmos. Vent water leak??

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Old 03-13-05, 10:25 AM
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Backflow Preventer with intermediate Atmos. Vent water leak??

I have a Well McLain Gold GV boiler for my baseboard hot water heating system in my house. My house and heating is only about 2 years old. Last night, I lost all water in the house because my well pump either stopped working or got clogged. I noticed once I lost water and water pressure in the house that this piece connected to the water line coming from my boiler started dripping water. The water was dripping out of this little 4 foot piece of pvc pipe connected to this this thing called a "Backflow Preventer with intermediate Atmos. Vent" I never noticed water dripping out of this piece of pipe before. Now I have my well water back working normally and water is still dripping out of this piece of pipe by the boiler. I do not know why it is and if this is normal or not. Right now I just have a bucket under the end of this piece of pipe to collect the water dripping out. Can anybody help me out with what this may be? if this is normal and it should stop soon, etc?

Thanks
 
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Old 03-13-05, 12:17 PM
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This is a backflow preventer. It stops water from back siphoning into the water system and contaminating the water from an unsafe source of water (your boiler). When there is a backflow situation in the water supply, the valve will open up and create an air gap so the boiler water can not flow back into the water system.

These will usually leak after water pressure has been shut off and allowed to drain. Some sand / sediment has just lodged in the little seal assembly.

Now for the problem you have. You can not legally work on these. They are regulated at the state level through the local authorities. The fact you are on a well and not "city" water does not disallow you from following state regulations on protection of water supplies. Check with your county sanitarian or your county envirnomental department to see what you can do.

I think you will find that this can only be rebuilt by a licensed backflow tech that has current license listed with the county officials. You can not even go to a supply house and buy parts to rebuild these little guys without showing your license (at least everone around here does this).

But now for the real world...Home depot sells new Watt's backflow preventers and you just swap out the old with the new. Is this legal, no... but it's done all the time.
 
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Old 03-13-05, 01:44 PM
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I Just purchased 2 of them at the Depot (29.00each) One end has a female thread fitting and the other a female sweat. they can be purchased "single" or in boxes of 6 for the "jobbers". Cut & unscrew the old and on with the new. I know it's not the actual legal way , however I believe it is a real DIY project.
-Bob
 
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Old 03-13-05, 03:57 PM
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Legal-Schmegal

Codes vary thruout the country. Here, you can do whatever you want in your own home. If it does not meet code, you will have to correct it when you try to sell.
 
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Old 03-14-05, 07:39 AM
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okay I noticed that on either side of the backflow preventer there is a shutoff valve. This is how my system pipes are..

Boiler on left, Indirect hot water heater on right

if you follow the pipe from right to left, you have, the cold water domestic 60psi supply line comes in, goes through a shutoff valve, goes through the backflow preventer, goes through the pressure decreasing device to take the 60psi well water and drop it down to 15psi for the boiler system, then if goes through another shut off valve and finally into the boiler "FROM SYSTEM" input.

I noticed, that if I shut off the valve on the cold water 60psi supply line side, then the water dripping out of the backflow preventer sort of trickels very fast then totally stops. So I am guessing the water that is coming out of the backflow preventer is the water from the cold water supply line, NOT the water from the boiler side. But I do notice, that after I open this cold water supply line valve again the backflow preventer starts dripping very dirty water, then the water turns clear and continues to drip. I get about 1 drop per second and am catching it in a white bucket.

Now, my questions...

1.) Is there a way I can unclog the backflow preventer? maybe by hitting it with a wrench to try to lossen up what's in there or maybe by turning the valves off and back on? I do notice that after I turn the cold water side valve off and back on, the water seems to drip at a slower pace, but eventually once my boiler kicks on, the water will start dripping again at the normal 1 drop per second pace.

2.) Before I lost ALL water in my house and all the pressure in my domestic drinking water system, I belive my pressure tank guage was set at 50psi. The well guy that came over and got my water working again put a new guage on there and set it at 60psi. Is this increased pressure setting causing this backflow preventer dripping problem? Is 60psi too much for a regular house with a well? what is the normal water pressure setting at your pressure tank? I just don't want the pressure to be harmful and like bust apart my pipe connections or something..

Thanks again
 
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Old 03-15-05, 06:28 PM
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Backflow preventer

You might be able to flush out whatever is causing the drip, but I doubt it.
60# should be fine. The backflow preventers I see in my catalog are rated between 125 & 175 psi.
I would not worry about 60# from the pump. Most pumps are set 50-60#. Mine is set @ 75 psi. with a 100# relief valve.
 
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Old 03-16-05, 02:08 PM
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Jerome

I had the same problem a couple of years ago when I lost well presure. I got tired of the drip and shut off the water on the supply side of the backflow preventer. I then disasembled the backflow preventer. They are very simple, or at least the one I have is. I just cleaned up the entire inside and reasembled the backflow preventer, no more leaking. I would not buy another one unless you can't fix the one you have. Good Luck
 
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Old 01-26-09, 07:29 AM
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Backflow Preventer

I recently had the same drip through the vent.
I replaced it with a new identical valve and there was no leak for a a day or 2. My presure is set to 60 psi and the valve is rated for 175 psi. Is there something else in the system (maybe the boiler side) that could cause it to leak?
 
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