Ball Valve Leaking Internally

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by rckowal, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. rckowal

    rckowal New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have a 1" brass ball shut off valve between the house water service and a lawn sprinkler system. It was installed about 20 years ago and has been working fine ever since - no leaks, etc.

    As I normally do at this time of the year, I blew out the sprinkler system with compressed air to winterize it. Now I see a slow drip coming from an open outdoor drain valve located between the ball valve and the sprinkler backflow preventer. It appears there is a leak between the ball & it's seal inside of the valve. It is slow - about 4 - 5 seconds between drips. On the exterior of the ball valve, there are no signs of leaks or anything unusual (stem packings, solder joints, etc.).

    What can be causing this sort of leak & what will it take to fix it?

    Richard
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    It's old like me. Replace it. The valve not me.

    John
  3. rckowal

    rckowal New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thanks John,

    Maybe it is because it's old (so am I by the way) but some how that doesn't sound quite right. Maybe I'm missing some thing, but in 20 years that valve has only been opened/closed a total of about 50 time - so I can't see how it could have worn out. Being made of brass, stainless steel with a Teflon seal, it shouldn't rust, rot or corrode to cause it to leak.

    Perhaps the ball/seal got damaged some how? But even that's hard to visualize when all that's passing through it is water.

    Does any one else have any ideas?????
  4. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Well, they don't come apart for inspection or rebuilding so you are going to have to replace it and figure out what went wrong later when you have the old one in your hand.
  5. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Soldering kills ball valves.

    I always manage to maintain their integrity when soldering them by heating the joint no longer than is absolutely necessary, keeping the valve open and taking some steps to cool the rest of it (with a damp rag) but I really notice them loosen up after they have been heated and fitted.

    Some of the seals must suffer in the process. I can only imagine the sort of torture your one inch valve went through two decades ago when I was still at school.

    When you come to replace it, I have switched to using US-made valves. They are a lot sturdier than the cheap Chinese ones, but cost more too.

    Apollo valves are my current favorite.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,607
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    Age and number of operations have nothing to do with the life of a ball valve. I once had a 2 1/2" one, which may NEVER have been turned off and one, but at the most only a few times, and when I did turn it off, I had to break it just to get it turned on far enough to allow some water to flow into the system, until I could obtain another one and find a time when the system could be turned off long enough to replace it.
  7. rckowal

    rckowal New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thanks HJ. After reading the replies on this forum & talking to my sprinkler system repair guy, I now understand that although it's rare, they can develop leaks.

    He'll be here next Monday to install a new valve.

    Richard
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