Single handle Watts Laundry valve developed stem leak, Is running in midway position the cause?

I have a Watts single handle washing machine valve that was installed by a plumber less than 5 1/2 years ago, and I only did the laundry once a week or sometimes not for 2 or 3 weeks. Tonight it developed a leak when doing the laundry. The leak was at the stem (handle). I went to Home Depot and bought a new Watts valve for $29 and just replaced the whole thing (including the O rings) except that I reused the old elbow attachments since those were soldered on.
The new valve appears to work fine, so far, and I am keeping fingers crossed that it stays leak-free.
My question is this: When doing the laundry I would typically leave the valve half-way (or less) between Off and On rather than all the way On. When not doing the laundry the valve was off. Do you think the new valve would be less likely to develop a leak if I turn it all the way On rather than half-way-on (or less) on when doing the laundry?
(I now have a pressure-reducing valve where the water comes into the house, so maybe I don't need to bother with the midway position as a means of reducing the water flow)
Thanks,
Jay
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To be clear, the old valve still leaked tonight even when turning it all the way on after it started leaking. It would only stop leaking altogether when shut off. I'm just wondering if running it in the midway position helped cause the leak and I'm better off leaving it all the way on when doing the laundry.
Jay
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On Jul 19, 10:36 pm, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Putting the valve halfway on would reduce the flow, but not the pressure when the washing machine was off. Now that yhou have a pressure reducing valve at the house entrance, there is no reason not to turn the water all the way on when using the washing machine. But, after 52 x 5 uses, the valve should not have failed if the water was totally "clean". Do you have some grit/sand in the water that would have caused the smooth surface to become roughened?
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I'm not aware of any sand or grit per se, but the water is hard, meaning that it does have minerals in it. Would that alone cause it to wear out with so few uses, or is it possible they just don't make these things like they used to?
When I removed the old valve, I did notice that the elbow for the warm water connection had more calcium, etc. on it than the cold connection, but I don't know if that means anything. BTW, the water heater is 4 years old and is a Bradford White.
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On Thursday, July 19, 2012 8:25:51 PM UTC-7, (unknown) wrote:

Since you took out the old valve, do you see any cavitation in it? Cavitation occurs at or near the point where the flow is restricted when partially closing the valve. The water when restricted will spray at a very high pressure and erode the area which is restricting its flow. Reducing the water pressure to the entire house or opening the valve all the way will reduce this problem but that in turn can cause other problems like less water pressure at the shower heads.
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I can't see much into the old valve, just the ball itself and don't see cavitation that I'm aware of. Presumably what wore out is the Spindle O-Rings on the spindle that turns and I can't see inside, and would have to remove the side plug to get to that (and I supposed it woudn't be easy to get that removed even with the right size Allen Wrench).

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On Jul 20, 1:20 am, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

I don't see what the point is of opening the valve half way to reduce water flow is. For most of the water use, the washer is going to fill up to the set fill level whether it takes 3 mins or 30 mins. The only time a half open valve would make a difference is during the beginning of the rinse cycle, when it spins and sprays fresh water before filling for the rinse cycle. That is to get rid of any foam and displace the water in the clothes with clean water. So, I'd want the water to be coming in fast, not slow. It doesn't amount to much water, its only a few intermittent sprays.
The only time I've fooled around with the valves was years ago when I had washers that did not auto-adjust the temperature. Then I would adjust the hot water side to make the "warm" temp right. Also, the above applies to most toploaders. Front loaders are a whole different animal with no reason I can see to screw with the valves.
But does having the valve half open have anything to do with the failure? Probably not.
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Since the washer shuts the water off abruptly, having the valve open half way means there is less of a shock to the pipes, etc., due to the abrubt water shutoff. That is the only reason for the valve to be opened less than all the way.
J.
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On Jul 20, 10:54 am, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Does the water being shut off actually cause a water hammer, ie the pipes banging around? Or is this just a theoretical concern? If it's the latter, I wouldn't worry about it. I've heard a lot of people complain about water hammer from a noise point, but can't recall pipe failure being attributed to it. I guess it could occur, if it's bad enough.
There are also devices you could have soldered on near the valves that are essentially shock absorbers for exactly that problem.
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There may not be water hammer, since I already have a pressure reducing valve installed where the water comes into the house, but I can sometimes see the hoses jiggle a bit when the washer shuts off with the valve open all the way.
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On Jul 20, 1:26 pm, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Which I would say is normal and nothing to worry about. But it's a minor point. The only negative I can see with having the flow reduced is that you get less water during the brief spraying before the rinse cycle and it takes longer to do the wash.
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On Jul 20, 9:54 am, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

The OP might have opened the valve halfway to reduce the water flow to the washing machiine so that there would be more pressure and water for toilet flushing, handwashing, etc!
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On Jul 20, 10:54 am, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

If you are _that_ concerned about "water hammer" from the fast acting valves in the washing machine then install the proper arrestors in the piping before the laundry valves, do not try to use a shut off valve to act as an arrestor...
It sounds like that may be some of the reason why the shut off valve seals failed after 5 and a half years...
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