65°F
weather icon Clear
app-logo
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Anti-siphon valve keeps water flowing one way

: I have a problem with my sprinkler system. At the front of my house are two sprinkler pipes that come out of the ground and are connected by some type of valve. This valve is leaking and I need to fix it. Tell me how.

A: You have a leaking anti-siphon valve. An anti-siphon valve is a generic term for a device that prevents unsafe water from entering your potable water system. It can be built into your sprinkler valve for protection at one station, or you may have a device installed at the beginning of your sprinkler system that blocks water from all of the valves downstream of it, such as a pressure breaker valve.

So what is a siphon you ask? Think back to your days in high school when someone desperately needed gasoline. We had a buddy we called the Human Siphon for his expertise at stealing gasoline from another friend’s vehicle. The Human Siphon would stick a tube into the gas tank of the victim’s vehicle, suck on it to start the flow of gasoline and stick the other end of the tube into his own gas tank. Once the flow of gas started, gravity and vacuum took over to continue the flow. The victim never did figure out why he started getting such good mileage after graduation.

With your sprinkler system, if the water pressure significantly drops, water from the lawn can siphon back through the pipes and into your potable water system. This means that fertilizer, weed killer, pesticides and whatever else might be on your lawn could make its way to your faucet. An anti-siphon valve is a one-way valve that prevents this. It can have a rubber diaphragm that prevents backups, a spring-loaded check valve, or an air relief valve.

In some cases, the easiest way to stop the leak is to buy a replacement valve. This is inexpensive if it’s plastic, but if it is a brass pressure breaker valve, it’s much cheaper to buy a repair kit. Some plastic valves do not disassemble, so you will be forced to buy a new valve.

This is a matter of cutting off the old valve, screwing a male adapter (use Teflon tape at the threads) onto the new one and gluing that section back on to the pipes. Just remember that to be effective, the valve must be a minimum of 12 inches above the highest piping and outlet downstream of it.

For the more expensive pressure breaker valves, a rebuilding kit costs about $30, and you can find it at home centers or nurseries.

Start by turning off the water to the valve and removing the screws that hold down the cap. Inside the valve will be a plastic bonnet that you turn counterclockwise to remove.

The rebuilding kit will have the parts necessary to repair your valve. Some kits have the parts partially assembled, whereas others have you follow the diagram included with the kit to reassemble the check valve. Either way, it’s a matter of placing the parts back into the valve body according to the diagram in the kit and then screwing the cap back on. Turn the water supply back on and you’re done.

By the way, you should also install screw-on anti-siphon devices onto all of your hose bibs. These just screw on and tighten down with a screw. They sell for about $5, and are cheap insurance.

Michael D. Klimek is a licensed contractor and president of Pro Handyman Corp. Questions may be sent by e-mail to: questions@pro-handyman.com. Or, mail to: P.O. Box 96761, Las Vegas, NV 89193. His Web address is: www.pro-handyman.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Create a great home gym in a small space

There are plenty of ways to make the most of a section of a room if you don’t have a full one to dedicate to a home gym.

Chelated iron fertilizers need water to work

If you are going to apply an iron fertilizer it should be in a chelated form. The best all-around chelate to use is a chelated iron fertilizer called EDDHA.

What are the color trends for 2023?

This year’s color selections run the gamut — from a vivacious coral shade to a bluish-greenish one all the way to an earthy tone and an off-white choice.

Bitter orange can be hard to find in Las Vegas

Q: Is it possible to grow sour or bitter orange in Las Vegas? It’s becoming almost impossible to find at the local markets, and we use it in so many recipes. I was curious if that was something that might grow here. When should I plant it?

Minimize effects of seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder affects about 5 percent of the adult population, and its symptoms are triggered by less sunlight exposure, which lowers serotonin and vitamin D levels. If you are prone to SAD, there are a few things you can do around the home to help boost your mood.