June 6, 2011

Repairing sprinkler system pressure vacuum breaker

by dwm — Categories: Home Repair1 Comment

It appears that the main valve and the outdoor cutoff valve to my sprinkler system don’t fully shut off the flow of water. I had noticed this in the winter, when water was dripping out of the PVB test ports. I ignored it at the time because there wasn’t much I could do about it in sub-freezing temperatures. However, I knew the potential consequences… broken PVB innards.

Sure enough, today I opened up the PVB to find the bonnet assembly broken. And water continues to flow into the PVB with the main valve and the outdoor cutoff valve turned off. This mean those valves will need replacing. The main valve is indoors, and I’m not sure why it doesn’t function. Might just be a cheapo, I haven’t looked at it closely since it’s on the ceiling in the basement between joists. What I do know is that it’s not just a slow drip; it’s fast enough to fill the PVB in a couple of hours.

For now I’ve ordered a new Febco 905-212 repair kit for the PVB. It’ll suffice for the summer, but at some point I should replace the main valve in the basement. With water flowing into the PVB all of the time, there’s no way to prevent damage in the winter. I had left the drain spigot open outdoors, but it’s buried in a bucket and apparently it filled and froze which allowed the PVB to fill up with water and freeze too. I don’t understand why the installer decided to bury the bucket in the ground and put the drain valve in it; it’s inconvenient and asking for trouble in bad winters.

1 Comment »

  1. dwm says:

    The new PVB arrived. I installed it, turned the water on and ran the test program from the sprinkler control box. All is well; all heads in all zones are working fine (which means my winterization was fine, it was just the leaky main and shutoff valves that caused the PVB to break). I corrected the clock on the control box, checked the program I use (30 minutes at 3AM every other day), and set it to run.

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