Watts water pressure regulator leaking -- repair, replace, or just clean?

I have a Watts 25AUB 1" water pressure regulator that seems to be leaking internally. As long as there is *some* water flowing somewhere (even a bathroom sink that's just dripping), the pressure in the house's pipes is around 60 PSI. However, if you shut off all the water, the pressure builds up to the street pressure of 130 PSI within a few minutes. Then you get a blast of water when you first turn on a faucet until the pressure goes back down to 60.
Are these pressure regulators known for needing regular cleanings? (It's six years old.) Should I invest in a repair kit or a whole new regulator?
Thanks, John
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John Sevinsky wrote:

Usually they will go much longer than that without service. You may have stuff in the water that is building up. I would take apart and see what a good cleaning does.
If that model has an internal "bypass" check valve, that could be leaking, rather than the main valve.
Jim
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You can buy rebuilding kits for most Watts regulators. Was going to put a kit in mine. Took it apart and found calcium in it. Cleaned it up and it's as good as new.
Al
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Thanks, I'll try to take a peek inside and see what it looks like. Unfortunately, the guys who installed it put it right up against the basement wall. I can easily remove the cone-shaped piece because it's on the front, but the two plugs on the other side are right up against the wall. :(
John
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John Sevinsky wrote:

This seems like a simple problem but it is actually complicated by the fact that you have a hot water heater. Even if your pressure regulator is sealing perfectly, when your hot water heats up, the water will try to expand and if no water is on and the regulator valve is sealed tightly like it should, the water will have nowhere to go and the pressure on your side will increase. The pressure regulatr can't reduce it because if it opens, you will get the street pressure and if it stays closed you get the internal pressure build up. Some regulators have a bypass so the pressure at least will not build up above the street pressure.
So what I am saying, is before you take the regulator apart, turn off the water heater and see if you still get the pressure build up. If the pressure build up is due to the hot water heater, I think the only REAL solution is to add an expansion tank which has compressable air.
This seemingly simple problem is really not so simple.
Mark
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Yeah, but I'm seeing this gradual pressure increase al the time, even when the hot water tank is not being heated. The tank is heated from a boiler with an oil burner, and I defnintely know when that is running.
John
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John Sevinsky wrote:

ok then I agree, look at the regulator valve..
when you think about it, that valve has a tough job, since water is not compressable, if the valve has even the smallest leak, the pressure will gradually build up.
Mark
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You're right, It is a tough job, and I'm thinking it's too important of a job to be trusted to one device. I'm wondering if I need some sort of secondary device downstream, like a pressure relief valve set to about 75psi. That way, once I do fix my regulator, the pressure in the house won't rise to 130psi it the regulator fails again.
John
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John Sevinsky wrote:

Where might you dump all the water that will result?
Instead, how about a second regulator in series?
It's beside the point here, but as was suggested you really need a thermal expansion tank for the hot water line.
Jim
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Where do these things commonly leak? The seat disc? The O ring?
John
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John Sevinsky wrote:

Either at the seat or at the bypass check (if so equipped).
Jim
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OK, I bought a repair kit and took my regulator apart. The seat disc didn't look too bad, but I replaced it anyway. What did look bad was the small O-ring that formed the seal between the two chambers. I replaced that, and the regulator is regulating again!
Now that I have everything sealed up, I'm now seeing that hot water heater thermal expansion problem that you guys have been talking about. :(
John
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On 29 Mar 2006 06:26:19 -0800, "John Sevinsky"

What? You mean you doubted us? Shame on you. Bubba
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This whole thing started when I fixed some leaky toilets. It turns out the leaks were enough to relieve the pressure and compensate for the leak internal to the regulator. I want my leaky toilets back! :)
John
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replying to Speedy Jim, Pfeiffer wrote:

Watts 25AUB regulators are economical and effective to reduce residential water pressure from 130-150 psi to 50-60 psi, but chlorine, calcium, etc. in the water erodes the seat washer (13/16" O.D. x 11/32" I.D. x 1/8" thick) resulting in pressure creep severe enough to necessitate replacement. If a local hardware or plumbing supply store does not carry one, Grainger offers one from Accurate Products in Chicago, Grainger part # 4PAG1, AP# API-1137-EPDM. Its cheaper than a new regulator or a full replacement part repair kit.
HB
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