why do my 1/4 turn valves leak?
Darn it! I try to look like a pro on my kitchen remodel, so I sweat on 1/4 turn valves (with the valves open) and now two of the three are dripping ever so slightly when turned off. Did I use too much heat? Or is it dirt? Defective valves? Defective do-it-your-selfer??? I am not going to switch them out as I also stubbed them to close to the wall, and I am in a rush to get the kitchen done for x-mas... I am using 3/8" caps to keep moisture off the new sink base shelf until I hook up the supply's... Gee why didn't I just use regular valves and take the stems out? When they leak I can change the washer. Any help with what's will be appreciated, any advice about how to fix the drips would be a x-mas present!!!
Are these ball valves or Dahl quarter turn stops?
If you soldered a ball valve in in the open position, IT SHOULD NOT LEAK. The teflon seals can stand soldering temperatures.
Take a close look at a new valve wherever you bought your quarter turn valves and see if there's a packing nut on it under the handle. It might be leaking from the packing. That happens with me a lot because I specifically choose ball valves that have a large gap between the bottom of the packing nut and the top of the valve body.
In the mean time, maybe put a pail under the leak and post back what you've found out. Is it a ball valve? Does it have a packing nut? Describe as best you can where it's leaking from.
I'd encourage you to stick with ball valves, but choose ball valves with packing nuts. Nowadays some companies are making ball valves without packing nuts, which in my view is dumb. They figure the valve will never leak, I'd prefer to be able to tighten a packing nut if it does.
If you do switch to "regular" valves like globe valves or gate valves, remember this:
Nowadays lots of the better quality globe or gate valves (like KITZ and NIBCO) come WITHOUT a gasket between the bonnet nut and the valve body. They claim that the mating surface between the bonnet nut and the valve body is so perfectly machined that you can have brass to brass contact at that point and the valve won't leak. That is in fact true, but the bonnet nut is tightened up so $#%&ing much that you quite simply can't take the bonnet nut off without wrecking the copper piping the valves are soldered on to.
So, remember this: Take the bonnet off BEFORE soldering the valve in. You can do this by going to your local machine shop, putting the (typically) 8 sided bonnet nut in a vice, wrapping a towel around the valve body (so as not to leave pipe wrench teeth marks in it) and twisting the valve body relative to the bonnet nut with a large pipe wrench. (I put the pipe wrench perpendicular to the valve body and twist so the SIDES of the jaws apply the force near the base of the inlet and outlet where the brass is thicker and stronger to avoid making either inlet or outlet out-of-round.
Also, the reason they make the valves with 8 sided packing nuts is to tell you that you CAN take the bonnet off, but you shouldn't cuz the valve will leak without being retightened to the same torque. But, that's not a problem since you can use a teflon back-up ring.
Since there won't be a gasket between the bonnet nut and the valve body, phone any place that sells pneumatic or hydraulic equipment and ask who sells O-rings in your area. Go to that place with the valve body and bonnet and ask for a TEFLON BACK-UP RING to fit between them. That will serve as your gasket and allow you to re-assemble the valve with only moderate torque so that it doesn't leak so that you can remove the bonnet nut in future while the valve is in service.
Note that if you have an 8 sided bonnet nut, you can still use a socket to remove it, but you have to use an 8 POINT socket meant for square nuts. Basically, you find the socket that's large enough so that the POINTS of the socket just fit over the FLATS of the bonnet nut. That way, with a point just touching the middle of each flat, you can turn the socket and it will turn the bonnet nut just like a Snap-On flank drive socket. (This is important if you have valves inside the wall as I do, and you can't access them from the opposite side of the wall, as I can't.) Also, an 8 sided 1 inch bonnet nut will fit LOOSELY inside a 1 inch 8 point socket. The ratio in size is cosine (22 1/2 degrees) or 0.92388. So, if you have a bonnet nut with opposite flats 1 inch apart, you need a 0.92388 inch 8 point socket, or a 14.78/16ths socket. In this case, you'd buy a 7/8 inch socket and have your local machinist put it in a lathe and machine the points down until it just slips over the bonnet nut.
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