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Why Is My Stop and Waste Valve Leaking

December 31, 2015
Author:
Brad Bippus

Why is my stop and waste valve leaking?  Short answer: It is worn out.  

The stop and waste valve, or isolation valve, for your sprinkler system allows the water to be turned off while your water supply to the house is not affected.  Why is the stop and waste valve leaking? This valve will wear out with time.  Depending on the quality of valve, the incoming water pressure and water quality, a stop and waste valve typically last 15 years plus or minus 5 years in Flagstaff, AZ.  Some areas of town have exceeding high water pressure which places a lot of strain on the valve when in the off position.  In those areas, the valve will last 10 years on average.

Two types of leaks

There are two different types of ways these valves leak.  The most obvious way it leaks is through the waste hole. When the valve is turned off the water leaks through the waste or drain hole. Sometimes these holes can get plugged

with plant roots. When they do get plugged with plant roots, you will see water coming out he opened test port on the back flow. Otherwise, you can look down into the standpipe and see water cumulating at the bottom.

Leaking stop and waste valve

The Sneaky Leaky

The more common type of leak that you will see with these isolation valves is going through the valve.  This leak is harder to detect than the leak that you can see outside the pipe as mentioned above.  This type of leak can be compared to a heart valve leak. When a heart valve leaks, blood is leaking through the valve, not from inside the heart to the outside.  Time will tell when you notice this type of leak.  It can take upwards of a few minutes to a few days.  It all depends on how fast the leak is dripping thru the valve into the pipe.

Obviously Leaking Way

One way to notice the leak is by observing water coming out of the opened test port of the back flow.  This leak does not manifest itself when the valve is open and the system is on.  It only happens when the isolation valve has been shut off,  winterized and all the valves set appropriately for the off season.

Not Obvious Leaking Way

The second way to observe if your stop and waste valve is leaking: take a look at the water meter to see if it is spinning.  Most of the times it will be a minute leak.  By staring at the small triangle dial in the middle of the water meter gauge, you will notice it moving very slowly.  The larger the leak, the faster the dial will move.  The smaller the leak, the slower it will move.  You may have to stare at it for a minute to observe it moving.

 

Time for a Repair

Unfortunately, it will be a costly repair.  It will be more expensive if you do not take care of this quickly. Because the water is always dripping, It will fill up the pipes with water, freeze and break the pipes.  No need to worry.  There are two ways of getting this fixed.  Click here to watch our stop and waste valve replacement video.

 

Luckily, there are  two ways of fixing this type of leak.  

FIRST WAY: start digging up the valve.  Cut the pipe accordingly, Thread off the old valve.  Replace it with a new one.  Reconnect piping.  Back fill and you are done.   

SECOND WAY. And the easiest way, Call AZ Irrigation & Maintenance at 928-225-2224

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