Leaking zone valves

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Old 04-18-13, 08:29 PM
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Leaking zone valves

I have a solar hot water system that heats our house. The system uses 5 Automag zone valves. I am not sure of the model; that name was on the parts list that the contractor supplied. Three of the valves are leaking around the plate on the back of the valve. The contractor said it would eventually stop. It has been over a year now and they still leak, a crusty area around the back plate. There is a glycol solution that is running in the system. Is there a better valve that could be used? I think these are normally open and run on 24 volts. Do these normally leak?

Any advice would be appreciated,

Steve
 
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Old 04-18-13, 08:49 PM
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The contractor said it would eventually stop.
Was that a good answer in your opinion??? I would think not.

have a solar hot water system that heats our house. The system uses 5 Automag zone valves. I am not sure of the model; that name was on the parts list that the contractor supplied.
How old? Glycol can do some bad things if not maintained.

Make and model of equipment????

Electrolysis???Acidic????

Others will chime in.......Soon.
 
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Old 04-19-13, 08:29 PM
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Zone Valves

The system is just over a year old, the glycol should not be a problem. The leakage is from the back of the zone valve -- there seems to be a thick fiber gasket between the plate on the back and the zone valve itself. I have cleaned off the crusty layer and tightened the 4 screws that hold the plate on the back. In a few days the crusty layer will start forming again.

I am wondering if anyone has any experience with this type of zone valve.

Thanks,
Steve
 
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Old 04-20-13, 08:12 AM
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Automag is not really a very common zone valve but is often used where there is need for a normally open type of valve. One of the advantages is that these valves can remain energized indefinitely whereas a standard 'motor' type of valve can be damaged. Being that they are normally open, there is an advantage to the fact in some applications (such as wood stoves and solar) that in the event of a power failure the valves will open and allow 'gravity flow' to a 'dump zone' for the excess heat that may build up.

One of the 'problems' that can arise with glycol in a system is that it is 'slipperier' than water and can permeate into places that water can not. It may actually be 'wicking' through the gasket material.

I myself would probably start with the manufacturer. I would ask THEM why ... is it a glycol thing? Can they suggest or provide a different gasket material that will prevent the glycol from weeping through the gasket...

AUTOMAG

p.s. I've just emailed them on your behalf and will let you know as soon as ( or IF ) I get a reply.
 
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Old 04-20-13, 02:21 PM
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NJ Trooper

Thanks for the info -- wicking sounds like the issue -- the gaskets seem abnormally thick, a grey type of material. I will wait for further info -- thanks again.

PS I have two friends that just retired from NJ's Finest.

Steve
 
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Old 04-22-13, 09:13 AM
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Response from Automag.....................

If the valves are only 1 year old they have gaskets made out of the best material available. It's the same material used in automotive gaskets. When you have a condition like you describe, as long as it is not dripping we advise to leave it alone. FYI, we recommend that the bolts be torque'd to 118 in. lbs.
 
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Old 04-23-13, 10:42 AM
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NJ Trooper

Thanks for the info from Automag -- The gaskets do have a very slow drip that is making a mess. Could you send me the link you used to get the Automag info, I will contact them and see if I can get new gaskets and torque them to the indicated amount, I have a inch pound torque wrench.

Steve
 
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Old 04-23-13, 11:19 AM
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Is it possible that these zone valves are dripping from where they come together and are soldered? I had an area that started leaking after 3 years and the slightest drip turned into a mess. If not, there is a 5 year warranty of the valves, based on the website. Do they drip when the system is hot and running or all the time?
 
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Old 04-23-13, 02:54 PM
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If I were you I would go ahead and call them, they have an 800 number. I think a telephone call has more impact.

AUTOMAG
 
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Old 04-30-13, 08:39 PM
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Catanzaro,

The leak is from the gaskets on the rear of the zone valve -- I will be buying new gaskets from Automag when I get a chance to call them. I will assemble them with hi-temp silicone gasket sealer that I have used on engine cooling systems. The drip is not one that you can see, just a weeping and crusty formation around the gasket area of three of the valves. I would not be able to drain and pressurize the glycol system myself, I am going to insist that the contractor do that. So far I am trying not to be a difficult customer, but I guess I have to get after him!

Steve
 
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Old 04-30-13, 08:46 PM
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NJ Trooper,

Thanks for the help!
 
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