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Need cleanable check valve: $56 union connect or $20 Sharkbite?

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Jells
Jells Member Posts: 571
My check valves on hydronic heat get all gunked up with mineral deposits to where I have to rap them with a hammer to get them open! So I want an easy way to pull them and give them a vinegar bath. Is there a downside to cheaping out with the Sharkbites? I have the flex in the system to remove them. The union ones are pretty pricey.

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    whats causing all the mineral deposits?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    MaxMercySuperTech
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 514
    edited December 2022
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    Jells said:

    My check valves on hydronic heat get all gunked up with mineral deposits to where I have to rap them with a hammer to get them open! So I want an easy way to pull them and give them a vinegar bath. Is there a downside to cheaping out with the Sharkbites? I have the flex in the system to remove them. The union ones are pretty pricey.

    I wouldn't use a SB for a maintenance/serviceable part. While they are re-connectable more than once, they become less reliable every time they're re-used, unless they make a two piece union that is meant to come apart (haven't seen one). I'd just sweat in a union an be done with it.

  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    hot_rod said:

    whats causing all the mineral deposits?

    Don't know, by all reports we don't have very hard water, but it is what it is. Clogs up the checks and mixing valves. I recently put a Clearwave on the main service, figuring if it helped it was worth the relatively small price.
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    MaxMercy said:

    Jells said:

    My check valves on hydronic heat get all gunked up with mineral deposits to where I have to rap them with a hammer to get them open! So I want an easy way to pull them and give them a vinegar bath. Is there a downside to cheaping out with the Sharkbites? I have the flex in the system to remove them. The union ones are pretty pricey.

    I wouldn't use a SB for a maintenance/serviceable part. While they are re-connectable more than once, they become less reliable every time they're re-used, unless they make a two piece union that is meant to come apart (haven't seen one). I'd just sweat in a union an be done with it.

    Thanks. I usually give em some extra grease, but I recognize they are not immortal. However they're about 1/3 the price of the union check! I'm assuming that union check is robust enough to be serviced many times, if not I'd be better off just replacing the SB one every time.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
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    You could use 2 pairs of circulator flanges, less expensive than a union if cost is your concern.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,909
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    Jells said:

    MaxMercy said:

    Jells said:

    My check valves on hydronic heat get all gunked up with mineral deposits to where I have to rap them with a hammer to get them open! So I want an easy way to pull them and give them a vinegar bath. Is there a downside to cheaping out with the Sharkbites? I have the flex in the system to remove them. The union ones are pretty pricey.

    I wouldn't use a SB for a maintenance/serviceable part. While they are re-connectable more than once, they become less reliable every time they're re-used, unless they make a two piece union that is meant to come apart (haven't seen one). I'd just sweat in a union an be done with it.

    Thanks. I usually give em some extra grease, but I recognize they are not immortal. However they're about 1/3 the price of the union check! I'm assuming that union check is robust enough to be serviced many times, if not I'd be better off just replacing the SB one every time.
    Go cheap and pay later!
    Long Beach EdSuperTech
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,075
    edited December 2022
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    Expensive, but they sure make things easy. They also have a high Cv. 
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Caleffi-NA51256-3-4-Press-Serviceable-Inline-Check-Valve-Low-Lead
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    PC7060SuperTech
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    Expensive, but they sure make things easy. They also have a high Cv.
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Caleffi-NA51256-3-4-Press-Serviceable-Inline-Check-Valve-Low-Lead
    The sweat version is the one in my Supplyhouse cart. Alas, I do not yet have a press tool!
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,757
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    I'd like to see a study of sharkbite failures vs sweated fitting failures. I bet Sharkbite has them.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
    edited December 2022
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    Jells said:

    hot_rod said:

    whats causing all the mineral deposits?

    Don't know, by all reports we don't have very hard water, but it is what it is. Clogs up the checks and mixing valves. I recently put a Clearwave on the main service, figuring if it helped it was worth the relatively small price.

    Looks like a complete waste of $100-300 to me.

    I'd go unions for sure.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    SuperTech
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    I consider a Y strainer a pointy of muse device. Use them to protect balance valves, checks,anything prone to getting debris. Easy to clean without disassembling.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Larry Weingarten
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    hot_rod said:
    I consider a Y strainer a pointy of muse device. Use them to protect balance valves, checks,anything prone to getting debris. Easy to clean without disassembling.
    It's not debris, it's deposits. As for the Clearwave, seems like hooey voodoo to me too, but enough people were raving about it on the supplyhouse reviews that for the price it was worth trying.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,588
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    Does your system leak and require refilling? If it is not too big a system, why not clean it up and fill it with better water. If it is plugging your check valves, it is probably scaling the boiler and any other HX in the system. You might experiment by closing the fill valve and seeing if you lose pressure.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    nothing like scale to drive down boiler an HX efficiency.

    If fill water is over 7 GPG, this build up starts the first day you fill your system.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    hot_rod said:
    nothing like scale to drive down boiler an HX efficiency. If fill water is over 7 GPG, this build up starts the first day you fill your system.

    Of course, we have to understand that chart was made by someone trying to sell products that solve such issues.

    I'm not saying it's not true, I'm just saying it very well may be exaggerated.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    MikeAmann
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    I'd like to see a study of sharkbite failures vs sweated fitting failures. I bet Sharkbite has them.

    But the sweat joint failure is all pilot error, not the technology. If I had to replace the SB check after 3 services, I'd be at par with the Union. But I was a sport and ordered the sweat union ones. They're here and I'll install them this week.
    Zman said:

    Does your system leak and require refilling? If it is not too big a system, why not clean it up and fill it with better water. If it is plugging your check valves, it is probably scaling the boiler and any other HX in the system. You might experiment by closing the fill valve and seeing if you lose pressure.

    Here we go, where I get piled on for disclosing it's a potable water system running off a 40k BTU tank. I have a programmable 24V timer that runs the pump for 5 min each week 52 weeks a year to clear the sitting water during off season. It's a much simpler solution to the sanitary problem than a plate exchanger.

    Amazon ASIN B01MRYMT3H

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    Now the lime scale issue makes sense!
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Zmanmattmia2SuperTech
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
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    You could put it between 2 of these and be able to flush acid through it occasionally:
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Webstone-50613W-3-4-Sweat-PRO-PAL-Full-Port-Ball-Valve-w-Drain-Lead-Free

    or use one of the threaded version and one of the union version and be able to remove the check valve.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,194
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    Expensive, but they sure make things easy. They also have a high Cv. 
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Caleffi-NA51256-3-4-Press-Serviceable-Inline-Check-Valve-Low-Lead
    What @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes said. Add a pair of press isolation valves and you’ll be set!
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    PatN said:
    Putting one of those in every unit would get pricey and labor intensive to maintain. $30 cart every 4-6 months! I looked into a 'softener' for the whole building, but it seemed a PITA too. No easy solutions, which is why I took a chance on the Clearwave.
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    PC7060 said:
    What @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes said. Add a pair of press isolation valves and you’ll be set!

    The checks are on the loop so there's already isolation valves.
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    mattmia2 said:

    You could put it between 2 of these and be able to flush acid through it occasionally:
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Webstone-50613W-3-4-Sweat-PRO-PAL-Full-Port-Ball-Valve-w-Drain-Lead-Free

    or use one of the threaded version and one of the union version and be able to remove the check valve.

    Interesting idea, but not as simple as pulling out the check and dropping it in vinegar for a while.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,909
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    Jells said:

    PatN said:
    Putting one of those in every unit would get pricey and labor intensive to maintain. $30 cart every 4-6 months! I looked into a 'softener' for the whole building, but it seemed a PITA too. No easy solutions, which is why I took a chance on the Clearwave.

    You came here and asked a question. Most are against your idea, but you argue your point.

    Go ahead, use Shark bites. Professionals use them only temporally and replace with a permanent solution!
    SuperTechbucksnort
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    So.
    Aside from you doing your own work in multiple unit buildings that you rent.........

    You have 30 gallon tank heaters in each unit that are being shared to do space heating and domestic hot water?


    Wonderful.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    pecmsg said:

    Jells said:

    PatN said:
    Putting one of those in every unit would get pricey and labor intensive to maintain. $30 cart every 4-6 months! I looked into a 'softener' for the whole building, but it seemed a PITA too. No easy solutions, which is why I took a chance on the Clearwave.

    You came here and asked a question. Most are against your idea, but you argue your point.

    Go ahead, use Shark bites. Professionals use them only temporally and replace with a permanent solution!
    I've hired licensed professionals for permitted jobs that used Sharkbites in special cases, like at the bottom of a riser where getting it drained enough to sweat is a PITA. So your statement is not universally true, but to be fair it was like 2007 before Pro-press was so ubiquitous. Plus you didn't read the whole thread to see I ordered the union checks anyway.
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    ChrisJ said:

    So.
    Aside from you doing your own work in multiple unit buildings that you rent.........

    You have 30 gallon tank heaters in each unit that are being shared to do space heating and domestic hot water?


    Wonderful.

    They're 40 gal, and I told you the dog pile would commence! These are 450 sq ft attached rowhouse units where the direct venting possibilities for a dual use mod-con heater are non-existent. These systems are not uncommon in my area.

    My 1st conversion from gas-on-gas I listened to the heating contractor, and let them put in a Minitherm boiler and an indirect tank. It was expensive, noisy, had a big footprint and was unreliable due to some venturi effect in the flue constantly turning it off.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
    edited December 2022
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    I said wonderful, that's not necessarily an insult.

    Since these heaters are typically 50-60% efficient I'm going to assume fuel cost isn't included with the rent.

    Wow that just hit me.
    450sqft?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    ChrisJ said:

    I said wonderful, that's not necessarily an insult.

    Since these heaters are typically 50-60% efficient I'm going to assume fuel cost isn't included with the rent.

    Wow that just hit me.
    450sqft?

    Yes. Exactly. 120 year old city rowhouse 1br. That's why such a modest form of heating works. Plus they're mostly attached. And they pay for their own gas. I even have been installing Nests for them, as the utility is giving them away.

    The unit I'm working on I've dispensed with baseboard and am doing it with totally with Twin flo kickspace heaters. In such a small space baseboard reduces the room, besides always getting rusty, dirty and falling apart, with tenants blocking their airflow. I am surprised it's taking 3 heaters, I thought two K120s would do it, but we finally had a cold snap and it was running 100% at 26 degrees out with a temp drop of 20 deg on the loop. I'm adding a 3rd Twin flo.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,909
    edited December 2022
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    Jells said:
    You may want to try this. https://www.supplyhouse.com/3M-Aqua-Pure-AP43011-Aqua-Pure-AP430SS-Hot-Water-Heater-Scale-Inhibitor-System-AP431-Cartridge-Included?utm_source=google_ad&utm_medium=Shopping_tm&utm_campaign=Shopping_TM_LPLTV&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9JC4gIL--wIVRuTICh13BgFKEAQYBSABEgLAQvD_BwE
    Putting one of those in every unit would get pricey and labor intensive to maintain. $30 cart every 4-6 months! I looked into a 'softener' for the whole building, but it seemed a PITA too. No easy solutions, which is why I took a chance on the Clearwave.
    You came here and asked a question. Most are against your idea, but you argue your point. Go ahead, use Shark bites. Professionals use them only temporally and replace with a permanent solution!
    I've hired licensed professionals for permitted jobs that used Sharkbites in special cases, like at the bottom of a riser where getting it drained enough to sweat is a PITA. So your statement is not universally true, but to be fair it was like 2007 before Pro-press was so ubiquitous. Plus you didn't read the whole thread to see I ordered the union checks anyway.
    Professional: Someone that gets paid to do a job. 
    Qualified: Someone that KNOWS how to do a job. 

    Pro Press is over 20 years in use in the USA. Longer in Europe. 
    CLamb
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    Professional: Someone that gets paid to do a job.
    Qualified: Someone that KNOWS how to do a job.

    And there's the rub about hiring a contractor of any flavor, I have to become an expert in their field to tell whether they know what they're talking about! By that point, if it doesn't involve a lot of heavy lifting, I just do it myself.

    I can't tell you the **** I'm going through trying to get a steam boiler system with bad combustion diagnosed and serviced. Last guy, who was originally called to service the flue as part of eliminating the possible causes of bad combustion, stands there talking about his decades of installing boilers as a Master Plumber and licensed chimney sweep, and tells me, without measuring combustion or even examining the system closely, that I need to rip out the 10 year old boiler and install a new one! A previous one, again without combustion analysis, tells me to rip out all the returns! When I said I wasn't going to do that before running a combustion analysis on the sooted up boiler, he ghosted me. If I didn't know something about this stuff, I'd have spent over $10k and the problem would still not be fixed!
    MikeAmannCLambGGross
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    These are common in the rest of the world where tankless and combi are the common DHW source. You refill the phosphate crystals every so often.
    of course we need a supersized version for the US market in flow capacity and canister size.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    hot_rod said:

    These are common in the rest of the world where tankless and combi are the common DHW source. You refill the phosphate crystals every so often.
    of course we need a supersized version for the US market in flow capacity and canister size.

    What I'd really want is a whole multifamily house sized version of that. Suggestions on product? I got the Clearwave because looking at all the options for the consumable types made my head explode.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,909
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    Jells said:
    Professional: Someone that gets paid to do a job.
    Qualified: Someone that KNOWS how to do a job.
    And there's the rub about hiring a contractor of any flavor, I have to become an expert in their field to tell whether they know what they're talking about! By that point, if it doesn't involve a lot of heavy lifting, I just do it myself. I can't tell you the **** I'm going through trying to get a steam boiler system with bad combustion diagnosed and serviced. Last guy, who was originally called to service the flue as part of eliminating the possible causes of bad combustion, stands there talking about his decades of installing boilers as a Master Plumber and licensed chimney sweep, and tells me, without measuring combustion or even examining the system closely, that I need to rip out the 10 year old boiler and install a new one! A previous one, again without combustion analysis, tells me to rip out all the returns! When I said I wasn't going to do that before running a combustion analysis on the sooted up boiler, he ghosted me. If I didn't know something about this stuff, I'd have spent over $10k and the problem would still not be fixed!  

    Glad you think all were good for is heavy lifting!

    I guess my almost 50 years in the field were a waste of time, you already know it all!

    most here have forgotten more then you’ll ever know! 
    Good luck 
    try not to hurt anyone!
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
    edited December 2022
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    pecmsg said:
    I guess my almost 50 years in the field were a waste of time, you already know it all!

    most here have forgotten more then you’ll ever know! 
    Obviously if I knew it all I would not be here asking advice! But the guy with over 30 years in was being a lazy **** telling me I needed to replace a 10 year old boiler. Are you saying I should just have implicitly trusted him, or the guy who wanted to rip out the steam returns to solve a combustion problem?  The latter is a HH regular too.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    Jells said:

    hot_rod said:

    These are common in the rest of the world where tankless and combi are the common DHW source. You refill the phosphate crystals every so often.
    of course we need a supersized version for the US market in flow capacity and canister size.

    What I'd really want is a whole multifamily house sized version of that. Suggestions on product? I got the Clearwave because looking at all the options for the consumable types made my head explode.
    You have a few options to remove or mitigate hard water problems. Ion exchange water softener, requires salt backwash. Phosphate treatment, requires replenishing the crystals, magnets, or TAC type treatment. I've tried all but TAC

    As with any technology they all have pros and cons. Love and hate fan base :)

    Or live with the problems and maintenance of the minerals.


    https://www.watts.com/our-story/brands/oneflow/template-assisted-crystallization-technology
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
    Options

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment