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Why are fiber union washers still a thing?

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Jells
Jells Member Posts: 571
I'm getting really frustrated that every time I need to service a valve with fiber washer unions it's a bear trying to get it sealed again! I had to crack the seal on a mixing valve union to drain some water from a DWH tank, (the damn vacuum breaker failed like they always do!) and could not get it sealed again without some dope on it. Was nervous about that, but some search showed it's not uncommon.

So why do they still use fiber instead of EPDM or some other elastomeric seal that's more dependable? And what's with the **** vacuum breakers? Some of them are $80 and still either fail to open or fail to seal again. It's the same issue, the ring in the unit gets permanently deformed and fails to seal again.

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  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
    edited December 2022
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    Jells said:

    I'm getting really frustrated that every time I need to service a valve with fiber washer unions it's a bear trying to get it sealed again! I had to crack the seal on a mixing valve union to drain some water from a DWH tank, (the damn vacuum breaker failed like they always do!) and could not get it sealed again without some dope on it. Was nervous about that, but some search showed it's not uncommon.

    So why do they still use fiber instead of EPDM or some other elastomeric seal that's more dependable? And what's with the **** vacuum breakers? Some of them are $80 and still either fail to open or fail to seal again. It's the same issue, the ring in the unit gets permanently deformed and fails to seal again.

    I've been asking my self and others this for months and months now.

    Why not silicone washers? Caleffi offers both, yet ships the paper ones. I thought I finally got my PRV sealed and yet after months I noticed mineral build up around both connections, so, I guess not.

    I keep using the paper ones because I assume if it's sold this way I should be able to make it work. But for some reason I keep failing. I don't know. I've tried soaking them first, I've tried going tighter and tighter, I've tried looser. All surfaces are spotless before I re-assemble and alignment is perfect.

    When I have time I'm pulling it apart for like the 6th time and going silicone.

    EPDM, Silicone, Neoprene are all excellent materials for this.
    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
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    stand by we have a solution in the works that is making its way into all the product lines.

    pros and cons to all the washer material options
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    CLambSTEVEusaPAMikeAmann
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,213
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    Only one reason, and we all know what it is...
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,192
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    In a pinch use good quality Teflon tape like Blue Monster and make your own washer. Make sure you wrap around EDGE & FACE of union joint. Lots of Megaloc on threads and kill it. Mad Dog
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    hot_rod said:
    stand by we have a solution in the works that is making its way into all the product lines.

    pros and cons to all the washer material options
    I suppose that's true.

    So how about a metal to metal union?   :p
    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
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    So how about a metal to metal union?
    Wow, a ground joint union? Now, that's what I call brilliant.
    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
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    I actually ordered a bunch of the red silicone washers from Caleffi..... 

    And I use them on all mixing valves. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    JellsChrisJ
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 571
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    I actually ordered a bunch of the red silicone washers from Caleffi..... 

    And I use them on all mixing valves. 
    That's what I need to do. Of course I ordered some brand new fiber for 'just in case' when I was ordering a bunch of other stuff, and when I needed them they were nowhere to be found! Grrrr....