The sight of a leaking valve can cause a lot of stress. Many people might think that valve leakage is a sign of an imminent failure, but that isn’t always the case. While a leaking valve can create a major issue—wasting both water and money—if caught early enough, it can be stopped before it turns into a major mess. If you have equipment such as boilers, water heaters, and water tanks then you can expect a valve to leak at some point in its lifespan. But with a little knowledge and the right tools, you can stop a leaking boiler or other valve issues right in their tracks.
Big or Small Leaks: When to Call in a Professional
If you notice valve leakage in your workplace your gut reaction may be to call in a professional plumber. That might not be necessary though, even if there is a large amount of water that is leaking. Before you panic it’s important to troubleshoot your pipes to make sure the leak is coming from the valve; and that it is the only leak. Noting the condition of the valve and any buildup of debris that might be contributing to the leak are also important. Sometimes, a leaking boiler valve can be fixed just by doing some cleaning.
It’s also easy to think that a leaking valve means the part is defective and needs to be replaced. While that can be one reason for a valve leaking, there are actually other causes that need to be looked at. Washers and o-rings can wear out over time and result in leaks. Leakage can also be caused by parts that have just become loose over time. Valve settings may also be turned up too high, allowing more water through than it can handle. By checking out these simple issues it can help you determine if your valve can be fixed with just a few tweaks or if a call to a professional contractor is necessary.
Tweaking vs. Taking Apart
Once you’ve determined whether your valve leakage issue can be fixed by yourself, it’s time to come up with a game plan for repairs. Minor leaks can often be repaired with a quick do-it-yourself fix. If the leak is caused by built up water pressure, tightening the packing nut on a valve can sometimes stop it. Wrapping the valve in some tape can also help secure it, although this method is considered more of a temporary fix and doesn’t always take care of the problem for very long.
If tweaking parts around the valve doesn’t get the job done when you have a leaking boiler, you may have to call in a professional to do some disassembling. Internal leaks can be hidden deep within pipes and can only be fixed with a more thorough repair job. Contaminants inside of pipes will slowly corrode and eat away at them, rubber washers can wear out and disintegrate, or there may be something lodged in a pipe that is blocking the water flow. In these situations, a complete tear down is needed to solve the issue.
The Right Tools to Get the Job Done
Like any repair job around the house, in order to properly fix a valve that is leaking on a boiler or other piece of equipment, you are going to need the right tools. This doesn’t mean you need a full toolbox that is as extensive as a professional boilermaker might have, but there are a few essentials that you should keep in mind to get the job done properly. An adjustable wrench is a critical tool to have whenever you are working with plumbing. Pliers, especially slip joint pliers, are also very useful when working with valves and pipes. And, of course, a reliable screwdriver is always handy to have around.
Having the right supplies to stop valve leakage is also important when doing repair work. This includes masking tape and extra washers in case you find the ones in your system that need replacing after taking it apart. Even if you are taking on a boiler repair job by yourself, it doesn’t hurt to consult with a professional beforehand. They can assist you with shortcut ideas and tool suggestions you might not have thought of. That way you can have everything you need on hand before you start working on any leaks to minimize costly and frustrating downtimes.
The Costs of Leaks
Regardless of the extent of valve leakage your system may have, it’s not something that should be ignored. Even minor leaks need to be taken seriously because they may be hiding much larger issues. When those issues grow out of control, they can result in costly breakdown and major messes that can really hit your pocket book. Keep in mind the costs that leaks can have on utility bills as well as any water damage that may be caused and you’ll understand why handling problems as quickly as possible is always a good idea.
Valve leakage can be a serious issue, but just because you see a few drops of water, that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. With the right tools, you can take on small leaks and fix them on your own. It never hurts to bring in a professional for a second opinion, however. For boiler service and repair partners that work as hard as you do, trust Manley’s Boiler, Inc. All of our services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays. We serve all of California, including Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Santa Clara County, and more.
Whether your leaking boiler or fixture needs some tweaking or a full teardown and cleaning out, taking care of the issue in a timely manner is the best way to save money and avoid major breakdowns. Contact our customer service team today for more information.