I have recently been given a Waste Water notice from South East water and asked to repair the cause of the leak in 15days. I first investigated the cause and found that the ball-cock valve in the loft was dripping constantly and overflowing on occasions, typically during the night.
I have now replaced the ball-cock valve, but I am still having problems with it. This is because it is very slow to fill the tank, and when SE water checked my meter recently they still saw a small water usage and will not remove the waste water notice until I have fixed the 'leak' although it is not a leak. They have asked me to get a plumber round to fix the valve such that the tank fills quicker.
When we use any water in the house, the valve opens and water gushes into the tank to maintain the water level. However, once the water level reaches a point where the valve starts to close, the water entering the tank from the valve slows to a drip, and hence the water level rises extremely slowly, such that the drip does not stop for many hours when no water is being used in the house.
If anyone has any suggestions as to how to get the valve to fill the tank quicker that would be much appreciated. I'd rather not call out a plumber to fix a relatively simple problem.
The problem is that once the valve has slowed to a drip it then can take several hours for it to finally close. Is this normal?
From SE waters point of view they will not remove the waste water notice until the system closes the flow of water much quicker than this or else they are likely to keep detecting a 'leak' whenever they inspect the meter.
I have adjusted the level such that it stops about 1" from the overflow. I can also check the washer but this should be in good condition since I replaced the whole valve 1month ago.
Thanks for the advice.
The valve does eventually close, but because the flow of water into the tank is a slow drip (following the gushing of water into the tank when water is first used) it takes a long time for the valve to close fully, typically several hours from when water is used.
SE water say that as they are only able to monitor my water meter, and listen for water flowing, they will detect a 'leak' (or noise on the pipe) even if we have not run a tap for several hours because of this slow dripping from the valve. Therefore whenever they check the meter they will issue a waste water notice. I have explained the cause of the 'noise' to them, but they want me to get a plumber round to adjust the system so that the tank fills and the valve fully closes within a much shorter space of time than it is currently. I suppose less than 1hour from when water is used.
You asked whether there is any flexing on the water tank. The ball cock valve is mounted high up on a plastic tank and is therefore a bit flexible. There is a plastic stiffening piece that reinforces the tank wall locally though. What effect would a flexible tank wall have?
I have not used PTFE tape over the pipe joints, but I don't see any weaping through the joints.
I have demonstrated that when the valve is fully closed (either by manually filling the tank to a point where the valve fully closes or tieing up the valve arm) the water meter stops moving. I am therefore happy there is no leak. However SE water will not remove the notice.
I suppose what I need to know as well is whether the system behaves in a pretty typical behaviour, and whether getting a plumber out is a waste of money.
I'AM PERPLEXED BY THIS SITUATION YOU DESCRIBE WITH THE WATER COMPANY!
SURELY IF THERE IS NO OVERFLOWING OF THE TANK TO THE EXTERIOR OF YOUR PROPERTY, THEN THE WATER COMPANY CAN NOT SAY YOU STILL HAVE A LEAK.
NO MATTER HOW LONG THE TANK TAKES TO FILL, IT IS WATER THAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR AND CAN BE USED IN ANY WAY YOU SEE FIT.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU HAD A DRIPPING TAP FOR INSTANCE?
THERE ARE MILLIONS OF THOSE AT ANY ONE TIME COUNTRYWIDE!!!
ALSO MILLIONS OF TANKS THAT HAVE VALVES THAT TAKE AN AGE TO SHUT COMPLETELY AND ARE ON THE VERGE OF OVERFLOWING INTO THE STREET THROUGH LACK OF MAINTENANCE OR MALADJUSTMENT.
I SUGGEST YOU LOOK FOR OTHER LEAKS THAT MIGHT WELL BE THE SOURCEOF THE DISCREPANCY.
FLEXING OF THE TANK WALL, WOULD ALLOW THE VALVE TO OPERATE IRREGULARLY/INTERMITTENTLY (BALLCOCK BOUNCE SO TO SPEAK) AND MAKES SETTING THE VALVE TO SHUT AT WATER LEVEL CLOSE TO OVERFLOW OUTLET MORE AWKWARD.
YOU COULD TRY ADJUSTING THE BALLCOCK VALVE TO SET THE WATER LEVEL TO A HEIGHT SOME 2" OR 3" BELOW OVERFLOW OUTLET THUS MAKING THE TANK FILL TO THAT LEVEL MORE QUICKLY AND SHUT SOONER.
HOWEVER THE WEIGHT OF WATER IN THE TANK WILL BE LESS THAN IT WOULD BE WHEN FULL TO CAPACITY (SO TO SPEAK) AND SO WILL AFFECT PRESSURE/FLOW AT TAPS WITHIN YOUR PROPERTY.
COULD YOU LIVE WITH THIS? THINK SHOWERING, THINK FILLING BATHS, THINK WASHING MACHINE FILLING ETC ETC.
HAVING SAID ALL THAT, ONCE THE "WASTING OF WATER NOTICE" IS REVOKED YOU COULD PUT THE TANK/VALVE SITUATION BACK TO WHERE IT WAS PROVIDING THE WATER COMPANY WILL NOT BE MONITORING YOUR SUPPLY ANYMORE!!!
Thank you for the advice.
It is a crazy situation as I know and they also realize that there is no actual waste of water, but just an indication from the water meter that there is a drip. And that this drip is not actually overflowing anywhere and being wasted.
I think the way out of this notice is to lie and tell SE water that a plumber has visited fixed the drip. I will then tie up the valve before going to work for when they do their inspection (which will be within a couple of days of me informing them its fixed). Then hopefully they'll remove the notice and end of story.
This is always a problem with tradtional Ball Valves, by design they take longer to fill the cistern the nearer it gets to being full. Another way round this would be to fit a side entry Fluid Master (or similar) Float Valve.
With these as soon as the cistern reaches full the vale shuts off completely and does not then drip fpr ages afterwards.
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