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Old 12-10-2007, 07:32 PM   #1
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Mixing Valve replacement


Hi All,

New to this board, so bear with me :-)

We have oil furnace - baseboard water heat... the boiler off the furnace also provides all the hot water for the house.

I went to adjust the mixing valve on the system, and it's seized up, and all green/corroded - so it's shot...

So, my question is...

how hard is this repair for me to do myself? I have been trying for a week to get a plumber here to return a phone call, and the one guy I talked to today told me it's a 2 hour job, and a $75 part... or total part and labor about 300 bucks!!

I saw the exact same valve at Home Depot for $32.00... but I was expecting that.

I've never done any copper work - only PVC, etc... I know I'll need a pipe cutter to cut the old one out, and I guess 3 new coupler fittings and 3 short pieces of copper pipe for the new valve, correct? a torch, and some of that solder I guess...

The other question, is if I open the whole system up like that, is it easy to just replace it, and go, or do I need to burp the entire heating system, or will bad things happen - or is there a valve somewhere that bleeds the air out automaticly...

I'm actually pretty handy - even though I sound like an idiot here - jost never attempted copper...


Thanks to all that reply - esp plumbers :-)
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:07 PM   #2
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Mixing Valve replacement


I think $300 is a very good deal, a steal giving the fact you don't have the tools or experience. You are going to spend at least $100 and probably more if you did it yourself. You must live in the boonies or it is just too darn cold if you have that much trouble getting someone to come out. You may be handy and soldering is really not that difficult, but it takes practice. I would have him do it and give him 20 bucks extra to watch. You just heard from a plumber.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:18 PM   #3
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Mixing Valve replacement


Yeah, I figured that if I was going to practice on joint fitting copper, that place would not be a great one to start :-)

I honestly don't see how it would take a good plumber more than an hour to do the job - it's 3 connections, and it's all very accessible... it's not burried behind the furnace, etc, or behind a wall, etc...

but, again, I know nothing about copper, and that could be why it takes 2 hours...

I live in a 40K people city - I can't even get anyone to return a phone call, let alone come out...

My guess is that with the cold weather they are all really busy installing new hot water heaters, furnaces, etc... I don't know....

I wonder if I could get the valve and just have someone charge me the labor to put it in... 3x the cost of retail is kind of highway robbery.... and like all contractors, they buy at wholesale, so they'd be charging me $75 for a $20 part.... ouch!
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:07 PM   #4
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Mixing Valve replacement


I'm sure someone would put it in if you purchased the part but they won't warranty it (the part) then, most plumbers will come back if there is any problem with something they purchase and install. You also asked questions about bleeding the system down that can sometimes even be a problem for a plumber depending on how low in the system the soldering is taking place, water and soldering don't mix. You either have to wait for the water to drain, blow it out with air or suck it out with a vacuum, all these little extra things take time, cutting, sanding, deburring and tightening threaded adapters if your part is threaded and the pipe can't be soldered directly to it.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:25 AM   #5
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Mixing Valve replacement


the valve is not threaded in any of the 3 connections... is there an alternative to soldering it in?

I would say it's low - the valve is 2 feet off the floor in the basement - the only thing lower is the valve coming in off the street (the one that is in the house - the main water valve)

the thing here on warranties, with regards to that, is they will warranty the part, but not the labor - big deal - I could replace it 3 times at that price... and I know it's the same exact valve that is in there now... has the same knob and everything - I bet it was purchased at home depot before...

There looks to be a cut off valve on 2 of the 3 pipes beyond this, so I wonder if the main water would even need to be shut off, etc...

I would attempt it myself, maybe if it was summertime, but to have no heat right now would not be fun :-)

I can send photos if that would help to figure out what I'd need to turn off, etc, or what goes where....

Thanks
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:48 PM   #6
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Mixing Valve replacement


Maybe you did see the same valve in Home Depot but that valve you have now isn't working is it? You really want to install the exact same one? The valve in Home Depot is much lower quality then the one the plumber will hopefully be getting from a plumbing supply house. Yes, he pays less then the average person at the supply house. His cost however is still going to be more than the lower quality valve at Home Depot.

Then he marks up the product which is a perfectly normal practice. He spends his time, his gas, and uses his vehicle paid for and insured by him to bring the valve from the supply house to your home. Would you do that for someone you didn't know for free?

You could get the valve yourself and have him install it but anything you buy yourself typically isn't warrantied by the installer. Meaning if you buy a valve and save yourself $30 if it goes bad in a week you are paying the labor on installation again. I know I've seen plenty of Home Cheapot faucets that the installer has warned against being installed only to have the homeowner calling back a month later complaining about drips, peeling chrome, etc. Then they get irate when they're told the plumber will not warranty any product not furnished by him and that to remove and re-install a replacement from Home Depot will be billed at the normal rate.

Last edited by Marlin; 12-11-2007 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:58 PM   #7
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Mixing Valve replacement


Quote:
I would attempt it myself, maybe if it was summertime, but to have no heat right now would not be fun :-)
This is exactly why I said to call the plumber. How long do you think it would take to get a plumber out if you get stuck with a leak in your solder joint or your heat doesn't work?

Quote:
Yeah, I figured that if I was going to practice on joint fitting copper, that place would not be a great one to start :-)
You have already admitted you have some doubts and no experience with copper sweating.

Quote:
I honestly don't see how it would take a good plumber more than an hour to do the job - it's 3 connections, and it's all very accessible... it's not burried behind the furnace, etc, or behind a wall, etc...
How long do you think it would take you? Plumbers charge money for a good reason. Some things I may try to walk you through or it may be so simple that that I would have to tell you once to know how to do it. It is best to call someone who knows his business on this one. Pay the price and get it done right.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:41 AM   #8
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Mixing Valve replacement


While not trying to invalidate anything said above, take a real good look at your plumbing system. Do you forsee more repairs in the future? If you think this plumber visit is the only one you are likely to need in the next 5-10 years, that's one thing. But if it looks like there are multiple visits looming ahead that will involve copper work, it might be a good idea to begin your savings now - and something that is out in the open and easily accessible looks like a good place for the first try. Yes, you'll need to invest in a toolset: torch, cutter, reamer, heat blanket, emery, wirebrushes, flux, solder, hand vise, etc, but that's a one-time investment that stays in your toolbox, not drives off with the plumber.

A 2' piece of 1/2" pipe, some fittings and a few hours worth of time should allow for enough practice to get some idea of soldering. Be prepared to see a bunch of leaks on your first attempt. If you are handy, a few extra hours of work should get you there - so it would be best to start this project on a Saturday morning, prefferably after the family took their morning showers. Prefferably before they head out for an overnighter at in-laws.

Far as valve goes, not sure what is there at HD, but a quality mixing valve IS around $75. In your case, it is best to get a valve with union connections - it will let you do all the soldering without the risk of overheating and ruining the valve.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:41 PM   #9
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Mixing Valve replacement


Actually, what I think I will try first, is to swap innards - there is a nut on the top of each, and I can just replace the seized up one with the newer one...

if it doesn't make a difference, I can worst case take the valve back to HD, and I'm no farther ahead, but if it fixes the problem, It's 10 mins and $30... and I'm done... so about 10% of the cost to have a plumber come out and do it...

I have no copper leaks at all in this house... (knock on wood)

Yeah, I really am going to learn all this stuff on my own someday :-)

At least, I figured out how to shut the cold water off, and bleed the system down there, which I will of course do, so I don't get water everywhere...

Thanks Scorrpio - I was starting to think this was a site for contractors, not DIY'ers - And that is a good point - if I spend $100 or so on tools, I'll always have them... finding them when you need them might be a different story though :-) you are correct - it is 1/2 copper to and from said valve...

From one Scorrpio to another :-) (Oct 27th)
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:43 PM   #10
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Mixing Valve replacement


PS now if I can just find a good mason.... :-)
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:51 PM   #11
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Mixing Valve replacement


Actually, referring to 1/2" copper I meant for practice - cut it into pieces, and sweat them into some interesting looking figure using elbows and tees. I still got my 'practice copper sculpture' sitting someplace. A 1/2" mixing valve serving hot water to entire house is a bit smallish, I'd think (mine is a 3/4") Don't you have flow problems when several fixtures/appliances want hot water at same time?
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:53 AM   #12
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Mixing Valve replacement


Hi,

I didn't know if I should start a new thread about this; it seems related to me.
Anyhow I need your advice regarding a leaking mixing valve. It is a Taco 5000-1 and it leaks between the body and the brass cap. The guys from Taco sent me an o-ring replacement kit along with instructions.
My question is: could the o-rings be replaced without removing the valve from the system (the 3 pipes)?

Thanks!
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Old 02-21-2008, 04:47 PM   #13
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Mixing Valve replacement


I just finished fixing a leaking Taco 5001 mixing valve, 3/4" size. The top, where the adjustment stem is, unscrews and the guts can be pushed out. There are two o-rings that need to be replaced. These are 1 1/16" ID with 1/16" cross section. I used the ones made from EDPM. The first o-ring seals the mixing vale from leaking and the second o-ring seals between the hot and cold. The surface that the second o-ring mates to needs to be clean or the valve will stick. I polished this with a green scrubing pad. I also polished the two sensors. The guts where black from the dead o-rings. There is a third o-ring on the stem. I did not replace that one so I do not know what size it is. If you remove the valve, you will need 3 flat rubber washers 1 3/16" OD 23/32" or 3/4" ID and 3/32" thick. Use valve grease when reassembling and make sure the plunger moves freely against the spring.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:49 AM   #14
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Mixing Valve replacement


Thank you for sharing, eagle77!
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:26 PM   #15
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Mixing Valve replacement


I had difficulty setting the temperature of the mixing valve after I reassembled it. I looked on the Taco web site. I discovered there is one more step to do after the mixing valve is reassembled. The valve needs to be "exercised", meaning the hot and cold supplies to the valve are alternately turned on and off. Do this about four times.
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