Failed Wilkins Model 600 Pressure Reducing Valve ???

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by roback, May 10, 2008.

  1. roback

    roback Member

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    31
    I redid the connections from my main line before they hit the house about 3 years ago or so. I have a 1 1/4" feed that I have split (T) to the right it goes to irrigation and has its own Pressure Reducing Valve set to approximately 70PSI which seems fine, and to the other side before it hits the house it runs through another Pressure Reducing Valve set to approximately 60 or so, I believe. Each has its own ball valve to shut off independently. I have a hose bib on the irrigation side, and a pressure relief valve on the other. The gardner brought to my attention that the pressure relief valve before the line hits the house has been leaking as the area under the setup is wet. I started by replacing the pressure relief valve but that did not solve the problem. I notice that when I let water out of the pressure relief valve, it drops the pressure to about 60PSI or so, and the over the course of 10 minutes or so the pressure is back up to about 100-125 and it starts leaking again. I thought this valve does not open until the PSI gets to 150 so I am a bit confused. Maybe have been having 150 to the house since the Pressure Reducing Valve has failed. I have never adjusted this PRV. Would that be the first step, or does it seem as though water leaking out within 10 minutes or so suggest a seal that is shot? I do notice that the adjustment nut and bolt on the pressure reducing valve seems rusted? How difficult are these Pressure Relief Valves to service for a non pro to do? What part is the likely culprit, and how difficult is it to get to it? Any help would be appreciated. I cannot call Zurn until Monday, so any feedback would be welcomed. Thanks.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Not sure why you have a pressure relief valve, except on a water heater. But yes, relief valves are prone to start dripping at a much lower pressure than their setpoint.

    Your regulator valve has an adjustment range of 25 to 75 PSI. If you are seeing a pressure higher than that, the diaphragm or seat is shot.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Prv

    If the pressure does not stay at the reduced level when there is no water flow the PRV has failed and the best repair is to replace it.
  4. roback

    roback Member

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    31
    Why A Pressure Relief Valve?

    The Pressure Relief Valve is the last device before the water hits the house! It tells me if the pressure reducing valve has failed and there is an undesirable amount of pressure entering the building. Thought a pressure relief valve was common place! Makes sense to me. If there was no pressure relief valve, I would not know that the reducing valve had failed until the body started leaking itself or worse. What am I missing? The Pressure Reducing Valve is somewhat difficult to replace as I have to cut and re-sweat part of the setup due to the cramped space it is in. I should have installed a double union setup, however I did not have enough space for that. What is the most likely culprit of the reducing valve failing after 3 years? I have not tried replacing the seal yet. Bummer, it is mother's day so I cannot work on it! Should I cap off the relief valve or let it leak? Debate damage from some water leaking (leaking a small stream) vs whatever benefit from some pressure being relieved! The pressure at the relief valve is about 150PSI, which is what it is off the main line. Can someone trouble shoot the most likely culprits, in the order of likelyhood! Would prefer not to rip the whole thing apart, bell housing, stem, etc. if I do not have to. Thanks.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Location:
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    You can get a repair kit for a Wilkins 600. It will cost about 1/2 the cost of a whole new valve. It has the key parts you should need, although the success rate is not real good due to water issues. But for a 3 year old valve, you might do all right.

    The only time I see pressure relief valves is when the water heater is located somewhere inside the dwelling, and to avoid the trouble/expense of routing the discharge line, they use a Watts 210 temp. gas shut off, and then install a pressure regulator outside like you have. Where is your water heater located?
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Check the specs on the PRV. See what it says about the maximum pressure differential. At 150#, you might want to consider two PRV's in series so each can drop the pressure a little.
  7. roback

    roback Member

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    31
    Two PRVs. Good Point, but ....?

    Good point about two PRVs. I thought of that, but don't have room in the make up for it, unless I do something real wierd -) Maybe, Wilkins can recommend a better PRV for my application. I do have a second one that reduces it to the irrigation line which is keepng 150# at 50 PSI with no problem. I think the one I got gets alot more action as it is the last device before the water hits the house! If I can rebuild, I would prefer it as I do not have to take part of the makeup apart. Not a huge deal, but it it tight and I could only fit one union in.
    to the guy that asked about my relief valve .... The hot water heater is in a utility closet about 50 yards from the makeup. BTW, even if it were further ... how would I know if the reducing valve failed if I did not have a relief valve on it? I guess I could put a key driven hose bib there and have it connected to a water meter? Not sure how much of a problem 150# is in a house, but I would like to know if this becomes the case for any length of time. As it is, I have been remiss in not noticing it, so it could have been t his way for 3-6 months? Nothing rattling yet. By the way, as a follow-up. I just connected a male to hose bib connector to the relief valve, and have a short 6' hose running out to the middle of the yard, rather than have it leaking along the perimeter wall. Should call Wilkins tomorrow, and will have time to mess with it Thurs or Friday! Is rebuilding one of these 600s difficult for a do it yourselfer with mechanical background. I ran all of my plumbing from the street and through my house, so I assume I can figure out how to disassemble it! I installed it, and it has worked fine for 3 years :)
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
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    Check the specs...a high differential pressure stresses the thing and it may not last long.
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Location:
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    If your street pressure is only in the 150 PSI range, I don't think this calls for two regulators.

    The reason it is so unusual....maybe unnecessary...to have a prv like you do....the PRV on the water heater essentially protects the entire house. Usually, you will notice if it starts dripping. Generally, all the piping in the house is rated for up to 150 PSI. You will experience problems with toilet ballcocks and washing machine hoses.

    Nothing wrong with having that relief valve. It was just an extra cost, and it would be one more thing to eventually fail itself and leak.

    The reason I asked about the location of the water heater was just curiosity as to whether it was located in the middle of the house and had the watts 210 gas valve on it.
  10. roback

    roback Member

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    Watts 210 Question

    It is probably overkill, however the water travels about 100 feet or so though the interior before it makes a turn and hits the external closet where the water heater is and I thought it might be good to know if the reduc valve had failed so that I do not run the risk of a leak in the ceiling before it hits the heater! Question on the Watts 210 valve. If I install that, do I still need a discharge tube exiting the building from the water heater closet? I have not installed one yet, and if the valve works well, in theory, I see no need. Is the 210 pretty easy to install? I am assuming that in the case of detecting a leak, it kills the gas feed to the water heater? I have not used one before. Thanks.
  11. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
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    The watts 210 is a temperature activated gas shutoff. That's it. It takes care of the "T" part of required T&P protection. That's why you need a "P" relief outside. There is no reason at all to use on if you can conveniently route the discharge from a conventional TP, which sounds like not problem in your case. The Watts 210 runs about $130 these days, so don't go there if you don't really need it.

    The pipe run in your attic is the very last thing which would "give" if you had a severe overpressure situation. First, there is the TP on the water heater. Then you have lots of things like washing machine hoses, faucet flex lines, toilet fill valves......any or all of these would give up the ghost first.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,319
    Location:
    New England
  13. roback

    roback Member

    Messages:
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    Called Wilkins and the guy says the if the two o rings that seal the diaphragm unit, and the plunger unit are okay, then the valve probably needs to be replaced. I noticed that the diaphragm plate is rusted on the underside where the rubber diaphragm sits up against it. He says this does not cause a drop in pressure and would not be the culprit. I am debating trying the rebuild kit as I can get it for a little over $20 as opposed to $100 or so for a new valve. Any experience with the diaphragm unit. Am I throwing my money away. Can a seal look okay to the eye and still be bad?
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