Installed a pressure vacuum breaker for pool auto leveler- Is it installed correctly Arizona

lilumartz

New member
Sep 23, 2020
3
Scottsdale, AZ
My Pool guy just installed a new pressure vacuum break, it was leaking from the top. Is it installed correctly. Here are the before and after pictures.

1. Is it installed correctly? I am concerned with the handles so close to the wall. I had to replace the handles in the past on my old breaker. For future maintenance, I am concerned for clearance to get to the back handle.
2. Why did they spray paint the pipe. Is this for looks purposes or something that they need to do to protect the pipe.
3. Should have they replace the very old house bib and pipe. They left the original and attached the old house bib. Not sure if this is correct. The plumber that quoted me for replacement was 120 more than my pool guy, but said he would replace everything, pipe, house bid, pipe into home and pressure vacuum breaker.

Not sure if I over paid my pool guy for the install as well.

Thank you in advance for your input.
 

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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,260
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Looks okay to me. The PVC really needs to be painted here in AZ. It should be painted everywhere but especially here. It took a piece of non-UV resistant PVC about 10 years to brittle back in the Midwest from the sun.. here.. a year will do it.

As for replacing the bib and the valve, if it's not broken, typically you don't fix it. If the hose silcox works then you are good. If you really want I could send you a picture of my year old new install but it looks just like yours. In fact I probably could use my outdoor touch up paint to paint your rusty bib. Gotta love AZ where the whole state has the same color houses.

The only thing I don't quite get, and that won't hurt you is the two valves off of the autofill side. I suspect that the guy had a valve but not a union and he used a valve as a union to hook into the pipe that was already there. That's actually not going to effect anything but I am guessing that is why you have two shutoffs. Use the one at the siphon break if you never need to shut it off.
 

Dirk

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They'll probably be fine, both PVB and bib, but I would have made a few different choices.

The testing valves on the PVB should face out. You won't likely use either very often if at all, but if you get the unit tested regularly, like you're supposed to, the tester person would have appreciated easier access. I would have continued with copper through the elbow and down and sweated in a brass shutoff valve, then converted to PVC. With mine, I continued copper all the way to the ground, then converted, so that there would be no PVC exposed to sun. PVC ball valves are junk and that one will eventually fail. I may have chosen to use no valve at all, and relied on the PVB valves for shutoff, especially if I had no specific reason to shut off water to the auto-filler regularly.

Where the copper coverts to PVC should have been PVC male threads into copper female. Whenever possible, you screw PVC into metal, not the other way around. Going metal into female PVC can split the PVC. It's safer to crank PVC threads into a metal female fitting, especially if there is UV exposure. I can't tell if the plumber used a PVC or brass nipple in-between your copper and PVC.

For the bib, I would have used a brass 1/4-turn valve. They're just easier to use.


If it gets down to freezing in your area, all the pipe should be insulated and taped.

And the bib is missing its breaker:

 
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Dirk

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My PBV is downstream of this, inside an irrigation box (for appearances sake), but here's the bib and valve and copper fittings I was referring to, before I covered everything in insulation. My shutoff valve is before the PVB, which is the better location. I can isolate the PVB to work on it or replace it without shutting off water to the entire house. You would have to shut off all the water to replace yours.

IMG_3325.jpg
 
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Dirk

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Notice with the one I used: the valves and testing screws all face in the same direction, which would have been a better choice for your application: right up against a wall.

a3c94419-e4ff-43bf-af43-64671675353c._CR69,0,536,715_PT0_SX300__.png.jpeg
 
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mguzzy

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Jul 8, 2015
2,425
OV, CA
My question is why did they replace the whole valve. Was it broken beyond what a new PVB seal kit would repair? Usually a leak from the top is just a seal that has failed.

I agree.. putting the valves against the wall is bad style points.
 

Dirk

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Right? And how did he even get the new one on there? From the looks of the old painted copper, he must have disassembled the new PVB completely and screwed it on to the old copper male fitting, which leaves even less of an excuse not to turn those valves out.

Nice of him to repaint some of the wall, too. The whole job is a bit borderline. Sorry.

But that's how plumbers make money now-a-days...
 
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lilumartz

New member
Sep 23, 2020
3
Scottsdale, AZ
Thank you all for your feedback and product links to purchase. I am not a plumber and new to this all. with the pool stuff. When I saw it, I was not happy with how it turned out. He said he needed to replace the whole unit and not just the bonnet and insides because it was old.

This is what he told me when I thought it was the levers that where bad or not working because we replaced them a couple of years ago. He said: It is not the actual levers but the diaphragm inside the breaker. Because of this and how old it is, the whole unit needs to be replaced. 300 estimate to fix. I haven't paid yet and waiting for the invoice.

I don't understand the PVC valve. What is it used for? Why did he put it there?

Should I tell him to fix it correctly. I really appreciate and grateful for all the responses.
 

Dirk

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I would have some of that redone. The PVC ball valve is likely there so that you could turn off the auto-filling if need be. Those auto-fillers can fail sometimes, and you need some way to turn them off, and/or isolate them for repair/replacement. The valve on the PVB would serve that purpose, so the ball valve is redundant. Notice, the previous set up didn't have one.

I would ask the plumber to fix some or all of what he did poorly. The most glaring issue is the one valve handle that is sandwiched behind the PVB, up against the stucco. That's not cool and just lazy. I would ask that the PVC ball valve be replaced with a brass one, and the copper extended to it as I described. The other issues I listed for you are less critical. Some of which you could do yourself (adding the bib's breaker, insulating the pipe, etc). And the insulation will solve for the UV-exposed PVC issue.
 

mguzzy

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Jul 8, 2015
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OV, CA
He said: It is not the actual levers but the diaphragm inside the breaker.
Yup and you can purchase a rebuild kit for most PVB's on Amazon and big box hardware stores.. They are built that way so you service all the internal parts without removing the whole unit. Unless the original unit was such an off brand that a rebuild kit was as much as a new one. I realize this is after the fact so for future reference call us first. ;) We will be the first to tell you if you need to hire someone or what to tell them.
 

Dirk

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A little more salt for the wound (sorry): Did he test the old or new PVB? He would have used a gizmo for that purpose and connected it to the testing ports, monkeying with the valves and the test ports, etc. If he didn't do either, he was not the guy for the job and has not completed the job correctly (nor did he diagnose the problem correctly in the first place). Those things have the test ports and two valves specifically for that purpose. There are services (contractors) that specialize in PVB testing and repair. If this comes up again, that's who you use, not just "any old plumber" out to make a quick buck.

If he doesn't have the equipment to test the PVB, then that could be some leverage for you. Or he should hire someone that can test it on his dime, if you really want to go toe-to-toe with this guy.