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Plumbing mystery

Posted by sylvia-390171 - Created: 3 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by kate.fitch@orange.fr - 3 years ago

My comment yesterday about a perished balloon inside a metal "ball" stems from our experiences when we lived in Portugal (1983 to 2009). We used to refer to the Algarve as "Worlds end", obviously their plumbing systems date from way back, so excuse me if the info I imparted was a little dated.

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Posted by AQ-417490 - 3 years ago

UK pressurised systems have a hot water cylinder with an internal expansion vessel to take up the expansion of water as it heats up, but these vessels are unreliable and fail, so the excess water (about half a cupfull) dribbles out the pipe connected to the pressure release valve, via a tundish, which is directed tothe outside like a toilet cistern overflow. I was told by a plumber that, in France, ballons (hot water cylinders) do not have pressure vessels. Apparently, the small amount of expanded water simply escapes through the expansion / pressure release valve (part of the groupe de securite) through the tundish and piped into the waste. Debris can collect in the PRV, so as advised, opening the valve from time to time to let out a cupfull of water helps to clear away any deposits that can stop the valve from seating properly.

I was also informed that there is a mesh filter on the inlet for the incoming supply to the ballon, which can also clog up over time. I don't know if this has isolator valves on it to enable cleaning without draindown, or whether the tank has to be emptied to do it. You would know if the filter was blocked, as hot water pressure would be reduced when opening a hot tap.

Hope this helps, but I am not a plumber - it is information from a plumber who returned to the UK a few years ago.

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Posted by paul & nadine - 3 years ago

Just a long shot - have you tried manually turning the knob to let the water flow out. You should do this from time to time, and it flushes out any grit, rust or whatever that might have collected in the pressure release thingy.  It's free and will only take a minuten, hand it might just solve the problem. Just a few seconds will be enough.

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Posted by geegee42 - 3 years ago

The tank is the ballon I think the poster is thinking of an expansion vessel,when it happens look under the tank to see if water is running through the overflow connected to the safety valve 

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Posted by Iguana Rock - 3 years ago

I thought the actual tank was the 'ballon' - is that not the case?

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Posted by kate.fitch@orange.fr - 3 years ago

I think your balloon is not holding the pressure, we had that when we lived elsewhere, the balloon perishes over time, just needs replacing- not a hard job nor should it be expensive, the problem will be finding a place that sells replacement balloons.( or maybe a complete metal ball type thing-y with new balloon already installed. Come on you plumbers, help out here, please.

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Posted by Iguana Rock - 3 years ago

 We have exactly the same problem but have already fitted a pressure reducing valve which has made no difference whatsoever. We fitted a new 'Group de securite' valve but that was more than 4 years ago so perhaps it needs another new one but I would expect it to last much longer so not convinced that's the problem either. Every time we turn on the cold water tap or when the washing machine or dishwasher is filling it makes the same noise, it's actually quite loud.

We would be very interested to know if other people have had the same problem and what they did about it. We even asked a local plumber (French) to look at it but he seemed to think it wasn't a problem until it stopped working so just to leave it (not sure that I agree with this either!)

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Posted by sylvia-390171 - 3 years ago

Thanks for the advice, we will look into that.

Sylvie

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Posted by vivaofsnape - 3 years ago

Had a similari problèm after boiler was serviced - water hammer or Coup de bélier. Turned out to be that air had got into the system during the service. if you have radiator CH turn them on and bleed out the air

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Posted by Parfait-440630 - 3 years ago

From your description it sounds like your 'Group de securite' valve is on its way out. Or your incoming water pressure has been increased, and you may need to fit a 'pressure reducing' valve. But more than likely the first one.

Hope that helps!