Ball Valve Repair on a Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)
Evaluate the PVB Device
Ball Valve Repair (parts needed):
Ball Valve Repair is best done with the correct parts. Especially relevant, the best choice is to replace a sprinkler part with the same manufactured sprinkler part. There are upgrades to allow for ease of drainage (Brass Drain Elbows, Brass Drain Couplers, etc) and ease of replacement in the future (Ball Valve with a Union). While these are useful, the best suggestion is to consult a qualified sprinkler technician for a quality product.
-Ball Valve (look for a similar/exact part to minimize possible issues)
-Copper Pipe Cutters
-Copper Coupler(with or without Stop)
-Torch (Propane or Mapp gas)
-2 Channel Locks
Ball Valve Repair Steps:
Ball Valve Repair Steps- Removal & Preparation:
Cut the copper pipe somewhere past the ball valve leaving enough room to fit the copper coupler and remove it. Generally, the best solution will be to cut the pipe just below the elbow on the outflow side of the PVB. By being careful the pipe and the male adapter may be reused. If this is not possible then you will need a male adapter and some copper pipe as well.
If the damaged ball valve is the bottom side of the PVB, the whole PVB will need to be removed. With most houses, this will require disassembling the ball valve with is in good condition. This is done in order to unthread the broken ball valve you are attempting to repair.
The ball valve you removed to allow access will need to be cleaned and the male threads have teflon applied on the PVB body. After the ball valve is removed you will need to clean the threads and reapply teflon tape. Finally, connect the ball valve onto the main assembly and then connect the male adapter into the ball valve.
Make sure the connections are tight and lined up where you cut the pipe. Next, sand the inside of the copper coupling. In addition to the coupling, use the sandpaper to make the copper pipe bright & shiny. Next, generously cover the outside of the pipe and the inside of the copper coupler with flux. Slide the copper coupler partway down on one of the pieces of pipe.
Ball Valve Repair Steps- Soldering:
Ensure the petcocks on the backflow casing and the drain cap (if you have one) are open to allow air to circulate. It is necessary to make sure the water is completely drained. Water in the pipes will prevent you from having a good seal.
Make sure to have a wet rag handy. Next, light the torch and make sure you have a conical flame. After that, begin heating the coupler with the torch. Due to the thickness of metal in the coupler compared to the pipe, it is important to heat the copper coupler. The pipe will transfer heat via the coupler. This is vital as the metal will not fuse with the solder if both pieces of metal are not hot. As the metal heats up it will glow red, on the opposite side of where you are heating.
Finally, touch the solder to the copper joint. Consequently, the hot metal will cause the solder to immediately melt and be sucked down, or up, into the joint. This must be done on both sides of the coupler! You will be able to see a silver puddle all around the coupler. Next, take the wet rag and quench the joint. Turn the water on and if no water sprays at you, the work is complete.
Tips & Advice for Ball Valve Repair
Wrap Teflon (clockwise – turning with the threads) the male thread sections on either side of the ball valve. You want the tape to lay-down and go with the motion of connection.
You will need most likely need to flex(light pressure) the pipe to allow it to fit properly. Ensure the pipes are completely seated to make the best repair.
Use a mixture of using the torch to melt the solder & wiping with a wet rag to clean up the lines of excess solder that were running down the copper pipe once the water is on.
Be careful to not use excessive solder. Because there is a chance the solder can get into your main line or manifold and cause damage to your valves. Problems such as a weeping valve or stuck valve, holes in the valve diaphragms, etc). Finally, after doing this project you should open up the drain in the valve box and attempt to flush out any excess solder that may be in the pipes.
Remember, all municipalities require companies to be licensed to perform any form of repair on a Backflow Prevention Device. This is important because these devices protect you, your family and your neighborhood.
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