Leaking Backflow Preventer

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Old 05-09-09, 09:56 AM
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Leaking Backflow Preventer

Just got to the summer cottage and found a puddle of water by the boiler. I've tracked it to the vertical drain copper pipe coming from the Backflow Preventer (Hersey Model BCP Backflow Preventer). It's dripping about once every 7 seconds.

It looks like I can isolate the Backflow Preventer by shutting a valve upstream and then two others between the boiler and the rest of the system. So therefore it doesn't seem like I need to drain the system.

What I'm looking for is confirmation that I'm on the right track and not forgetting anything.

Thanks in advance.

Steve
 
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Old 05-09-09, 11:37 AM
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As long as you can isolate it, you are correct that there should be no need to drain the system.

I'm not familiar with that model, but some of them can be disassembled and cleaned, and sometimes all it is is a piece of 'crud' under one of the check valves...

Is the cottage on well water? Was the well pump shut down in your absence? might be why it's dripping if the pressure on the boiler side was higher than on the system side...

You might wanna flush out the lines real good before reinstalling or installing a new one...
 
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Old 05-09-09, 12:46 PM
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Thanks for your very helpful response.

1. Here is a picture of the backflow preventer (on right). Does this look like the style that can be cleaned?

Pic 1


2. Yes, good question...there is a well and the pump has been shut off all winter (other than a few visits). Does this mean that once the well is back on consistently, the leak will stop? or was that just the cause?

3. You mentioned flushing the lines. Do you mean the whole system? Does it matter where I drain from? There is a drain valve on the bottom of the boiler, I'm assuming that's where I should drain from. I don't understand how water get's back into the system. (Probably a dumb question). I'm assuming there is some kind of a valve that automatically lets water into the system when it is needed?

Thanks again for taking time to help.

Steve
 
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Old 05-09-09, 01:01 PM
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Steve, in order to post pics, you have to host them at another website and link to them here... you can get a free account at Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket ...

I might not know if that is the type, but it can't hurt to look... I know that the Watts brand can be disassembled...

NO, do NOT drain the boiler! Leave that old water right where it is... the less fresh water goes into the boiler the better, fresh water has oxygen, oxygen rusts ferrous metal. Never flush a boiler unless you have to for some other service reason.

What I meant was before you replace the valve, open up the water line and let the water run for a few minutes just to get any 'solids' that might be in the pipe from the well out...

Yes, there is a valve thingy that regulates the pressure in the boiler... it's usually a bell shaped thing, and it's on the line from the domestic water into the boiler, the same line that the backflow preventer is on...
 
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Old 05-09-09, 01:04 PM
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OK, Picasa works too...

that gold thing with the handle on it to the left of the backflow is the "Pressure Reducing Valve" and that sets the minimum pressure in the boiler to (usually) 12-15 PSI ... the handle is for a 'fast fill' which would be used typically during servicing of the boiler ... if lifted, it 'bypasses' the regulator and lets water in full throttle... so don't do it.
 
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Old 05-09-09, 03:29 PM
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Great! so... I WONT drain the system . I will...
- take out the old backflow preventer and replace/repair.
- while I have it out, I will let the water run from the pump for a couple minutes.

Do I take it from what you say that the PRV is what let's fresh water into the boiler as needed to maintain the correct pressure and that this will take care of itself automatically?

Also, you mentioned I shouldn't drain the system unless I have to. Another issue that I have is that I have a balancing valve with issues. When I loosen it enough to adjust, water comes pouring out. (house built in 1945). I'm thinking I ought to replace it, which I'm thinking would require draining the system. I guess after your admonition not to drain, I wonder if I should just do my balancing work with water squirting out and let well enough alone. It's doesn't leak once I tighten it back up. I know I have a picture of it but I can't seem to find it.


Thank you very much. I truly appreciate your help.

Steve
 
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Old 05-09-09, 04:54 PM
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Do I take it from what you say that the PRV is what let's fresh water into the boiler as needed to maintain the correct pressure and that this will take care of itself automatically?
Yep, 'zackly... as long as THAT valve is functioning properly! They have a tendency to get plugged too... that big nut on the bottom of the PRV comes off to reveal a mesh screen that's supposed to filter out the bigger 'chunks'... and sometimes they need to be cleaned... but leave it alone if it ain't broke, of course.

When I loosen it enough to adjust, water comes pouring out.
That might be what they call a 'plug valve', which probably has a square lug on top, and a nut on the bottom? If so, I would say leave it alone... but I'd like to see a picture if/when you can find it.
 
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