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Old 04-04-2009, 11:31 PM   #1
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


This device in front of my house has been dripping for probably a year or more. My home is in the San Diego area. I have $80/month water bills, and I think this may be the cause! I believe it is some sort of device that reduces the water pressure before it enters the house. Can anyone tell me what this is, and how I get it to stop dripping? It drips at a rate of about one drip per second.

drip-mississippi, drip-mississippi, drip-mississippi...

Click on an image below for a larger view.

Note the area circled in RED in the first photo - that is where it is leaking from (see the drip about to fall?). The second photo shows some details from an information plate found on the device.

Thanks for your help all!




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Old 04-04-2009, 11:37 PM   #2
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


Where is the water meter?
Before or after this?
Usually anything after the meter is your responsability
Call the water company if needed

That could be wasting 5-6 gallons of water day

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Old 04-05-2009, 12:25 AM   #3
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


This looks like a pressure relief valve. This was just dicussed in another thread where someone had a similar problem... The large water pressure just b-4 this valve has possibly failed allowing too much water pressure inside your home.. Instead of the increased water pressure going inside your home & causing problems with fixtures, etc,. This relief valve opens to allow the pressure to excape B- 4 any damage can occure This regulator belongs to you & not the city.. replace your regulator & you should be ok

Last edited by kenmac; 04-05-2009 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:41 AM   #4
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


Even a slow drip is going to waste ALOT of water,,,MUCH more than you think. Put a measured container under there,,better make it bigger than you think and see. Bet its closer to 30-50 gallons a day times 30 times 12 is alot of water, specially if your in a high rate area. FIX it!!! and check all other places of leakage also. Sneakiest is stool tank. shut off water to it for a measured time.Like all day while at work,,or all nite and use another!! take lid off and mark level. IF level doesnt stay the mark for 8-12 hours it LEAKS. Another way is to plunge all the water out you can(it leaves 2-3 inches in the very bottom) You walk back in 4-6 hours later and the level is 2-3 inches higher(which isnt much water) it leaks!!! MOST all of them leak,,just a matter of how much
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:31 AM   #5
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


I actually put a gallon jug under my drip before I fixed it & tested the amount of water leaking
Thatis how I arrived at 5-6 gallons a day - mine was a pretty steady drip

Depending upon the rate of drip the gallons lost will go up
I fixed a shower valve leak & a kitchen faucet leak
Between the 2 I figure I was losing about 10g a day
That's ~300g a month & 900g every quarter
Almost 10% of my water bill I think
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:08 AM   #6
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


You may want to measure the water pressure inside your house to be sure the regulator
is working and set properly (you can adjust the screw on top).

Replace the pressure relief valve it is still leaking.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-05-2009 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:05 AM   #7
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


from the looks of it... That's a very old reg.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:03 PM   #8
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


I agree with Kenmac replace the pressure regulator (big bell looking thing) and replace the pressure relief valve that's leaking they are old and not worth fussing with. If you do not replace you will be unhappy.
Make sure you set the regulator at 45 psi and the relief around 47-50. If you don't know how call a pro.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:18 PM   #9
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


that dripping is an old connection and it is threaded into the main horizontal pipe..if your ambitious shut the valve off on the far right open water inside to relieve the line pressure at the tee thats dripping.take a pipe wrench and remove the TEE from the nipple that goes into the horizontal copper pipe.if the nipple comes out also no big deal you can install a plug into the BULL of that tee..if the nipple stays just BRASS CAP it with some teflon.if that is a front yard you could install a brass spigot/petcock(flowers/grass/washing cars) with a bushing to go into that BULL. the valve on the far right is your shut off from the street and the meter and your responsibility from there all the way into the house...that regulator is typical and set to reduce the street pressure ....down on the screw you increase pressure into the house up decrease pressure going in.THE BULL is plumbers term for that part of the tee thatis the future connection and the reason that tee was installed....to do something with the water.

Last edited by biggles; 04-05-2009 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:33 AM   #10
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


Thanks for all the great information everyone!!! I definitely want to get this fixed as soon as possible.

I've done a bit of looking into PRV valves and the such, and I have a few questions:

1. Biggles - are you saying that the PRV valve may be fine, and I just need to remove the device that is dripping and cap it off? I thought that device was some sort of over-pressure valve - not so? Why would 'the bull' be leaking? isn't it essentially a cap?

2. If I'm to replace the PRV, how do I select a proper replacement? The PRV installed is manufactured by Case Acme. I checked their website, and there are several different models and capacities - any suggestions for a direct replacement that will not require me to cut any pipes?

3.Does it look like I can replace the PRV without making any new 'sweat' connections? I haven't had any experience sweating pipe, but I've got the tools and would like to give it a go. This may be a high-risk first go at it since it is the main feed to the house.

4. I've seen recommendations elsewhere to use a 'double union' PRV if I replace it - that would make any future replacements easier. Would you recommend this?

5. If I was to hire a plumber to replace the PRV, about how much would that cost? $100, $500?

Thanks!
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:04 AM   #11
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


Prices depend on location. This site highly discourages labor price discussions since it is a DIY forum.

It would be considered a small job so it shouldn't be to bad.
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:27 AM   #12
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


why touch the PRV except to adjust the pressure...how is that presure on the cold water in the sinks/tub?just wrench the fitting off and cap or plug it depending on what comes off.where the water is dripping out of,can you stick your finger up into the fitting?if you can it might be some kind of spring loaded relief might be a code thing where you are....plumber would know.on that PRV did you pop that clean out on the incoming water side of it if it is clean i wouldn't touch the PRV...
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:05 AM   #13
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
why touch the PRV except to adjust the pressure....


My thought on replacement was.. That the prv has been working all this time & now he has a leak on the relief.. Even if the town increased the water pressure. the prv should mantain same set pressure as B-4
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:19 AM   #14
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmac View Post
My thought on replacement was.. That the prv has been working all this time & now he has a leak on the relief.. Even if the town increased the water pressure. the prv should mantain same set pressure as B-4

I like the way you think, just get rid of the old pressure regulator and relief valve and install new.

I would not plug the relief valve as mentioned, it's there for a reason. Reason- to let the owner know when there's a problem with the regulator and their plumbing system is at risk of high pressure.
Don't mess with this type of equipment it is important to maintain a constant pressure, don't forget the piping in the house is not new and excessive pressure can start showing up inside.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:41 PM   #15
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What is this contraption in front of my house? Why is it dripping?


Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzycat1 View Post

2. If I'm to replace the PRV, how do I select a proper replacement? The PRV installed is manufactured by Case Acme. I checked their website, and there are several different models and capacities - any suggestions for a direct replacement that will not require me to cut any pipes?


Don't know about that brand.. I use watts brand..for replacment... You need to know water main pressure obtained form water supplier. & the size of the line on which it will be installed that looks like 3/4 You can union both ends on 1 doesn't matter.. I would not cap that pressure relief. You could damage your other fixtures if you have too much water pressure .. If you call a plumber....Price will depent on location. If you have the ability & the tools . It's not a difficult job.

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