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    Cross-connection in blue bathroom (30 Posts)

  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 1:43 AM
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    Cross-connection in blue bathroom

    By popular demand, I'm starting a new thread on my shower woes in the Blue bathroom. The original confusing thread can be found here:
    IT went all over the place and the original issues became hopelessly confused (except to icesailor!), who managed to follow the details and actually knows how my shower fixture works.

    Background: 100 yr old Speakman Mix-o-meter that HAD and probably STILL has a cross-connection. We replaced the gaskets and THAT stopped the toilet from from getting hot, but the sink and shower remain tepid. The sink also has very low HW flow, but I believe this is unrelated, due to a series of experiments I did today.

    After  a zillion years, I finally discovered where the hot & cold shut-offs in the basement are for this half of the house, but my "experiments" showed some strange things. PLEASE NOTE: a single valve controls the HW to this part of the house, but two valves control the cold water, one of which ONLY goes to this bathroom. When I shut off the cold valve servicing the blue bathroom, all cold water is shut off, but the hot water is still weak and tepid. When I shut off the hot water in the basement, I still get flow out of all the hot taps on all the fixtures, but it's very tepid.. Only by shutting off BOTH the Hot AND cold valves can I stop the flow to the hot tap. In addition, when I shut off both cold valves  and turn on the hot one, the shower water becomes HOT and has great pressure.(The only time I've felt this in at least a year!) This is why I don't think it's obstructed. The sink also gets very hot, but it's still just a trickle.
     I don't see how the water from the other cold valve servicing the other rooms is crossing over into the hot as I've already shut off the cold valve that supplies this bathroom.  Confused, anyone? So am I.

    I might also note that when I did the same experiment with the other bathrooms and kitchen, I had the same result. Shutting off the hot water did NOT shut off the flow at the hot taps. It just became tepid, but maintained a strong flow. When I then shut of the cold valve as well, all flow ceased. Someone please explain this to me. Could it all originate at the shower in question or should I check out the mixer valves in the other fixtures which are all fairly new. Is it possible this originates in the basement? If so, why is the blue bathroom that's furthest away the one with a problem. All the other bathrooms and sinks on this side are fine.

    Icesailor, regarding the low-flow to the sink...I think it may be unrelated. I thought to get the shower cross-connection fixed first and then address the sink.

    Why would replacing the gaskets not fix the entire problem, but only the HW in the toilet? What am I missing in how these old Speakman Mix-o-meter work?
    Thank you for any and all suggestions. I intend to fix this!!!
    This post was edited by an admin on August 26, 2014 2:06 AM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 1:28 PM
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    All crossed up:

    If you shut off everything in the cellar, and everything stops as you describe, but turning one on and you get what you describe, you have a cross connection.
    I wrote earlier but it has disappeared.
    What is the source of hot water? .If you have the Speakman valve you describe, and have a tub and also a shower in a tiled bathroom, you have a high end home. 100 YO homes built for the vast unwashed masses were lucky to have a legged tub. Are you sure that you don't have hot water circulation?
    Maybe you need to take photos of the piping around the hot water supply, where ever it comes from. Cross connections can come from anywhere. Especially when you connect positive shut off hand showers ANYWHERE. Like another bathroom.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 3:10 PM
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    How to troubleshoot?

    I'm glad you saw this post, thanks for taking time again. yeah,my posts often disappear if I click off the page too soon...very frustrating; I usually try to remember to hit"copy" before I post!
    Anyway, back to the cross-connection. I'm now sure that's what it is after reading about it extensively last night.The line feeding the sink may be obstructed, but that feeding the shower is free-flowing based on yesterday's findings. Yeah!

    I'm not sure what you are asking about having HW circulation or the source of the HW. I have a separate, dedicated gas hot water tank. It's always provided sufficient HW. I get HW to all the faucets in the other baths and kitchen; it's only the blue one with the Speakman mixer that gets cool water ALL the time at the shower and sink. I have NO positive shut-off handheld showers. I know what you mean. The washer seem to work fine and is on separate lines.

    Uggh!!! Just lost the rest of my unsaved Post!!!!! Anyway, you get the picture.
    I think any photos would be about as confusing as this post given all the steam mains and condensate lines that parallel one another.There is one odd little section I'll try to capture.

    Big question: How do I find where the cross-connection originates?
    This post was edited by an admin on August 26, 2014 3:42 PM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:47 PM
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    Best way to isolate

    So, I've been trying to find how to trouble shoot a cross-connection.  Every post I find suggests a different method, some turning off one or both of the valves directly under a fixture to shutting off one or both of the H/C valves in the basements. Surely these can't all be correctl
    How can I isolate where this originates...It's actually quite a bit of trouble to take the SpeakmanMix-o-Meter apart so I'd like to eliminate the mixer valves at the other bathrooms and kitchen sink before trying that again.

     It is possible the washers we replaced last year didn't work, but everything was cleaned and put in properly. To tell the truth, I don't recall the plumber testing it all out...once the hot toilet was corrected, he figured it was fixed.  The shower and sink remained tepid. Is there somewhere else in the mixer valve that could be allowing the leak? Here's two pdf attachment with  schematics and info for the valve as well as some pics of the valve itself:
    This post was edited by an admin on August 27, 2014 3:04 PM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 12:42 AM
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    In this set of photos, there is a hole at the top of each plunger. There are two holes in the yoke above. Was there a pin that went through those holes to hold the plungers to the yoke? Those are the holes I spoke of. What holds the plungers to the yoke? If there needs to be pins in place, or one or both are missing, it would keep the plungers from coming back and letting the water through. You could have a cross connection when the valve is open but not when it is closed.
    What is that netting around the valve cover? Did someone re-tile the wall? Did they take the old tile off the wall or did they rip out the old lathe and cement plaster out and use backer board? Did they get goobers in the valve? What is that meshey stuff?
    This post was edited by an admin on August 29, 2014 12:46 AM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 4:50 PM
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    copper pins...different shower

    Hi. Yes we have the little copper monel pins that hold everything in place. They're just not in the pic. That how we were able to get the assembly out. Very simple, but slick design.

    The valve in the pic is actually from another bathroom; I just used it for illustration purposes. Don't ask about the plastic netting. :( No tile has been repaired or replaced.Someday I'll figure out how to permanently fill the tiny grout holes so they don't leak...unless i find a suitable solid surfacing. These tiles are set in concrete with very tight spacing. It seem, however, that the fine line of grout is the only thing holding in the water. The floor is fine.
  • RobG RobG @ 3:20 PM
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    Try this

    Hopefully you have access to the other pressure balanced fixtures.

    Obviously you are bleeding cold water into the hot.

    Go to each fixture one at a time and run the hot water until it comes out hot and turn it off. Have someone run the fixture in question and hold onto the hot water pipe of the fixture that you are at and see if it turns cold then turn it on and do the same thing. That will tell you which fixture is back-feeding.  The only way you are going to figure this out is by thinking like water. Try shutting off the washing machine valves as well, a thread came up earlier that mentioned washing machines cross-connecting. Is this a home? Are there any fixtures that are always open? Is there anything that runs at the same time as the shower in question? 

    If this makes no sense let me know. Troubleshooting is tough to describe.

  • icesailor icesailor @ 3:35 PM
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    Pressure Balanced Fixtures:


    Speakman did NOT make a pressure balanced single lever valve 100 years ago or in that style. Symmons invented it in the late 1940's

    Look at the PDF Photo. The wide part at the top is the yoke that holds the two faucet spool cartidges. Both have small holes in the top. The yoke has two holes in it for a pin. The two spools are different. One is the hot side, one is the cold side. Notice the obvious groove in one side. The other one isn't visable. I'm not there. The one with the groove is probably the hot. It is a common problem for any spool/cartridge type single lever valve to be reversed. You can't do it with Symmons. It worked until the plumber changed the washers? And then your troubles started?

    I have to leave. I'll look back later.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 27, 2014 3:43 PM.
  • RobG RobG @ 3:57 PM
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    That's what I'm saying, the cross connection must be either at the shower valve or at another fixture. Running the fixtures one at a time and holding pipes is the only way to track it down. It's got to be somewhere.

    Just being nostalgic, I miss the old Creed plumbing catalogs of the good old days. You could Identify and find replacement parts for anything. Remember the American Standard 144 (fiber, metal, two piece, metal, washer cup, washer, bib screw) and the Price Phister 176, I could repair those in my sleep. Now it's all disposable.

  • icesailor icesailor @ 5:27 PM
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    Check Stops:

    They (Speakman) did offer those high end single lever faucets with check stops. So you didn't have to shut off the entire building to repair a shower valve. If on the valve, they can create havoc.
    Speakman was a Mid-West brand, made in Chicago. Used in Hotels, Men's clubs and wherever money was found. My experience with single level mixers were with Kohler "Neidecken" types. If you got the spools wrong, the valve opened in the hot position.
    What is more likely in my opinion was that when the water was turned off, the hot water bibb screw and washer came off on the main shut offs in the cellar. I don't understand the three stops in the cellar to shut off the bathroom. But I'm not there.
    I know and understand what I see and how it is supposed to work. There is a site I found with The Google that sells Speakman repair parts for valves not as old as that one. There is a photo of the internal parts of an old valve. They have green bodies. There are grooves cut into them. Many would not notice the machined slots . They do not line up with each other. Because one opens the cold water port sooner while the other doesn't allow the hot water to enter.

    I've had strangers call me up with a problem like this. They never tell me anything except a problem like yours. Without any prior knowledge, I set to work, figure it out, fix it, kick some grass on the problem and move on. After the owner tells me that I was the fifth or sixth person to look at it and their only solution was to demo the walls and ceilings and re-pipe it with the new wonder pipe, Aqua PEX.

    Notice how the spool on the left, the Cold, will start passing water as soon as the washer leaves the seat. It must rise further for the hot to begin flowing down the channel.
    Someone should be able to resolve this. But "Someone" might not as nuts as I am.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 27, 2014 5:38 PM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 12:53 AM
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    Today's results...

    indicate that the cross-connection is at the Speakman valve!

    Thank you robg..Very clear directions. .I did as you suggested and the hot lines all remained hot. I also turned off the washing machine valves. That is the only fixture that stays open. Nothing is ever on with the shower.

    I then shut of all the mixer valves at their shut-offs working my way up to the 3rd floor, as suggested in other posts.First hot, then cold. Absolutely no affect on the bleed-through.

    Lastly, I turned off the cold supply to the Hot Water heater and turned on the hot shower tap on the third floor. Instead of turning off, it ran cold. I wondered which cold shut-off controlled it....I shut off the cold that supplies the Blue room only and that did the trick. I deduce it's the cold supply that feed the blue room that is bleeding into the other lines. Is this correct thinking.

    Icesailor, there are multiple shut-offs in the basement...each one SHOULD only shut off one thing or series of faucets, but because of the bleed-through, I had to shut off an "unrelated" valve to totally shut-off the blue bathroom's cold, and THAT was when I finally go HOT water full strength in the shower.

    Where would I find  check stops on the Speakman? BTW, it was designed so the Hot and cold spools couldn't be switched and the cold ALWAYS came on before the hot. These valves are actually a pretty sweet piece of engineering. Very elegant in their simplicity, but seem to be way ahead of their time in safety.
    I look at this as a mystery that we can solve through a process of elimination. Now I just need to figure out what can be wrong with the actual mixer valve to cause this problem.  We replaced the washers last year in an attempt to fix DID stop hot water going to the toilet, but not the cold cross-connection. Looking at your reference yolk assembly and the following pdfs, do you have any ideas what's really wrong and how to fix it? Could the cold valve somehow be stuck open?
    Thank you all for hanging in there
    P.S. Just found this gem:
    Unfortunately no pics, but good descriptions. As icesailor said, some did have check stops, especially ones like mine with the shampoo and needles. However, it specifically states to provide access panels in the back and neither of my Speakman showers have them. the house was built to a high standard with very few shortcuts. It also said they could go elsewhere on the line. Where to look? Wish I could identify my model @.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 28, 2014 1:55 AM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 10:14 AM
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    Do you have any kind of a diverter on this valve like so you can turn the water from the tub spout to the Shower head?
    When you said that in order for the water to stop in the "Blue Bath", you had to shut off another valve to stop the water. WHY? I would think that the source of the cross connection could be where that water line is going to or coming from.
    You have both a tub and a shower in this bathroom. You don't have anything connected to the spout like a sprayer that has a positive shot off? The tub valve may have a diverter for a non existent shower and it is there. I think I told you a very long time ago to take the cover off the shower valve and run the water. Put your finger on the valve body and see if hot or cold water is running through the valve. If the hot and cold side are hot or cold on both, there is a cross connection there in the valve.
    Check/stops are usually installed on the valve as soon as you get to the valve body. The escutcheon cover usually cover them. They usually face to the inside. Because they don't stick out from the finish face of the wall, tile setters are notorious for covering them up. With the cover off, if they are there, you should be able to see them. If you recognize them is another issue.

    I asked you this before. Regardless of the position of the handle and/or which direction it turns when you turn it on (CW-CCW) and the water first starts to flow out of the valve into the shower, is it cold then hot or does it first come out hot. It is supposed to come out COLD first so you don't get scalded by hot water. If hot water comes out first, the hot and cold cylinders are in backwards.
    As I understand, you said that you had to shut off the water to a third valve to stop the water in the blue bath. What does that valve feed? It is cross connecting something. You need to look elsewhere for the reason that you have to shut off the third valve.
    If the shower valve is in the off position, you run water, and there is no sign of water running through the valve when it is off, then it isn't the valve. You should try this after you get the hot side hot, and the cold side cold. If there is no change when you get the "symptoms", there is nothing wrong with the valve. If the hot and cold become the same, or the hot turns war,. there is a cross connection somewhere else. 
    Or an obstruction.
    Or maybe a seldom used shower or tub with a positive shutoff.
    You haven't totally gotten the concept of water and cross connections. You have to think like water.  
    Lastly, if that is a high end, Soup to nuts and ice cream. I can't believe that the house wasn't built without HW recirculation. Especially with a second floor bath. We Forensic Pipe Detectives notice minor things that most would not even consider. Sort of like a spot of spilled black coffee on a white tiled floor. Where did THAT come from?  
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:48 PM
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    You should be able to see the sketches here:
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

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    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:19 PM
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    Gettin some where...

    This is the difference between a plumbing genius like you, and a novice  like me! I didn't think to mention that YES, the water comes out of the shower hot first. DUH! In my experiments shutting off the valves at the various sinks, the only difference it made was that the initial hot water ran for an increasingly long time before turning cold. It's done this since the beginning of the problems before we replaced the gaskets.I guess I read the pdf wrong when it said they couldn't go in backwards. I also think the plumber was careful to put them back as they came out...of course that doesn't mean they were in there correctly. In 100 years, someone my have replaced a part and screwed it up.
    tt used to leak hot water down the front of the valve. A new gasket on the escutcheon plate fixed that issue, but the smaller gaskets/washers really did nothing. I notice in the pdfs, it says something about them being "enclosed"' ; Is there any possibility they weren't put in correctly?

     Re-reading my old post, I also see that we found the cold valve was somehow stuck in the "on" position due to mineral deposits.
    I'm going to go through this post and answer each comment and question. i won't be able to actually take it apart until next week when I have someone with the proper tools to do it.  Thanks for this further food for thought. Gosh, are you sure you don't make housecalls?
  • icesailor icesailor @ 5:09 PM
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    Although it might say that you can't put them in backwards, it might only mean that if you put them in backwards, that the valve won't work properly. If you look at the PDF, you will notice that the two parts aren't exactly the same. That slight difference is how they work. And it is supposed to open in the cold position. You really need some old gas bag who has repaired a lot of things that couldn't be repaired. By the photos of the parts on the sink, the lower one looks to be in good shape. The other looks like a disaster. Or else it is the quality of the photograph.
    Does the back of the shower back up to a hallway or closet?
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:56 PM
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    Is it possible

    the hot and cold pipes to the Mixometer somehow got crossed, for example if old galvanized pipes were replaced with copper?
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

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  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 7:31 PM
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    Speakman speaks...

    Thanks for your continuing help icesailor...the pic was before they were all cleaned up. forgot to take on after.

    So yesterday I got in my 15,000 steps; today I'm spent that energy on the phone to Speakman. They are AWESOME!!! REALLY AWESOME!!!! Veronica and an "old-timer" (40+ yrs. with the company) spent a very long time helping me troubleshoot; they have the originals of the pdfs as well as some other catalogs, etc, in addition to a working knowledge of these Mix-o-Meters. (They didn't think these units had stop-checks, but I'm sending them pics so they can maybe identify my exact model and specs in their old catalogues.) We came up with a list of possible culprits for the HW first syndrome, and CW cross-connection issue.

    -Too high HOT water pressure. This might explain the hot water first syndrome, as well as the hot toilet. Easy to test.

    -Entire yolk assembly put in wrong, letting hot water enter fist. Easy to verify and fix.

    -Replacement gaskets/washers wrong size (depth), even if correct circumference. The replacement gasket for the hub that came with the kit was wrong, so perhaps the valve gaskets were wrong as well. This does NOT explain why replacing them actually fixed the hot in toilet. but not not the cold water carry-over.

    -Worn/damaged hot or cold plungers. Even the enclosed washers could be worn.
    Easily replaced with new ones from Tapco. Not sure if they can go on the yolk wrong, but can check when entire assembly is out.

    -Pinhole in valve casting due to age. Worst case scenario as it requires ripping out tile without guarantee of finding a new one. I have to talk to Tapco about it if it comes to that.

    P.S. Icesailor, this shower plumbing backs onto an exterior brick wall. :( I know...why would anyone do that!) It's the only fixture that does with the exception of the Butler's Pantry sink, but that shares a space with a radiator.

    P.P.S. i looked up recirculating HW and now I'm amazed we don't have that or didn't at one time. I don't see any pipes that go nowhere. That would have been awesome because it does take forever for the Master Bathroom to get HW.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 28, 2014 7:33 PM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 12:34 AM
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    Old Parts:

    Some of those old single lever valves are critical with washer diameter and thickness. The PDF says you can't install the cylinder/plungers in backwards. But evidently, you can. When they say you can't, it may be because bad things happen. 100 years ago when the valve was installed, it was unusual for DIY'ers to be trying to repair expensive faucets. I used to turn on and drain over 100 houses every year. There were certain parts that I ended up replacing almost yearly because owners used to go to a hardware store to get a particular part that did NOT fit their fixture and change it. The following Spring, I would put the correct part in and over the Summer, they would replace the same part that didn't fit. With Kohler toilets, there are certain parts that Kohler supplies that have equivalents in Big Box Stores by Generic manufacturers, They do not work. Now, I either buy them from a plumbing wholesale distributor who sells Kohler parts or I order them from my old Wholesaler. The fact that you replaced washers that were incorrect and maybe fatter, can possibly move the plungers up to a point where water can by-pass inside the valve and not be coming out the head or spout.Unlikely, but not impossible.
    I doubt that your valve has check stops. The cover is too small and she (Veronica) would have known instantly if they used them on the valve. Check stops were something that came in for commercial installations like schools and hotels where you had individual stops on each fixture but not on bathtubs and showers. So you had to hunt for a place to shut water off in an area of the buildings just to service the valve. Its hard to visually imagine your situation without being there, There's a certain amount of intuition along with experience that is needed here. Intuition says that the problem is close by but the valve is a false lead. It has a problem, but it is a false lead. Its my experience with those types of valves, unless you have the correct repair parts, the valves don't work. The handle binds, and it won't stop leaking. Veronica and the Old Timer are invaluable. Their jobs haven't been shipped overseas and you don't talk to someone in a call center on the Asian Sub-Continent speaking British/English who's name is "Pretty". .
    The unequal pressure on hot and cold is part of a symptom of your problem. But I feel the cause is somewhere else. There's still the issue of the three valves going to the bathroom. What means nothing to you, means everything to me. The Steam Pro's here can cast their eye on a piping array and immediately know where the steam is supposed to go, where it will go, and the design of the system. And why it isn't getting there.
    The fact that you had hot water in the toilet is almost always due to a cross connection. Hot water pressure is almost always less than cold. Usually, you don't get hot water because the cold will almost always overpower the hot. Unless there is an obstruction somewhere.
    You have a high end house. You're in the Chicago area? It is hot and humid there in the Summer. Do the toilets sweat in the summer from the humidity?
    I just wonder about an early attempt at an anti-sweat device to get the tank water temperature above the Dew Point. Especially in a master bath.
    Unless you have a defective brain like mine, I would be pumping air through the system backwards so I didn't have water flying everywhere and figuring out where the obstructions are. For the amount of time and anguish you've put in this, I would have had the entire house drained down with my air compressor and pumping 60# air around and looking and listening to what was where. These things take a lot of time. Imagine if you were paying yourself $100.00 per hour. I assure you that I would have found and repaired it in well less than a day unless I had to cut things out. Imagine the bill. That's why no one wants to do this stuff. There is nothing but a personal reward to it. If you had any idea of what can be involved in this stuff.
  • RobG RobG @ 1:33 PM
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    I'm still stuck on the three valves. You may have an early hot water gravity recirculation system. Is there any way to post photos of the basement piping? Are all of the pipes original galvanized piping? The dead men did not cut and thread pipe for no reason, as such, there is no reason for three pipes to run to a bathroom. It could be as easy as a bad check valve.

  • icesailor icesailor @ 5:09 PM
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    Old dead men:

    The old dead men didn't thread the pipe. That's what helpers were for. Ever thread a piece of 3" steel pipe with a geared threader and no Power Drive. Puts muscles in your body waste.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 12:40 AM
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    Moving forward...maybe.

    I'll do a schematic tomorrow to show the hot and cold lines and that might be clearer. I'll post some pics then as well.

     Today I concentrated on the Speakman. I took out  the yolk assembly and plungers. Everything was  in correctly in all ways. No issue there. It is, in fact, impossible to get them in wrong.
    I was wrong. The hub washer was correct from the kit, so apparently this kit was the proper one. (I was told these washers were for a Speakman Mix-o-Meter when I bought them.) The  washers still seem to be in good shape, but the plungers are really rough! I'll try posting pics. I don't know if these are causing the problems (not sure about that now), but I'm ordering new ones. Thanks for the link, Icesailor. That was my EXACT unit, not a newer model. I'm getting whatever new parts I can, cuz who knows when they'll stop selling them. I always run into that.

    No check stops on the valve and no chance I missed them. I don't have anything on my toilets either. They don't sweat because it's a long way from the basement to the lavs.
    I didn't address the water pressure issue today. The HW pressure is great.
    While I had the water off and drained, and the shower apart, I blew the air compressor down the lines. I didn't feel any air!!! Then I blew water out  shower valves in case anything came out under the high pressure.

    However, the hot water shut-off valve in the basement is broken  and letting through water unless I shut off the inlet to the HW heater. I have to wait til Tuesday to get the proper parts as everything was closed and the Big Box stores didn't have anything that would work. It was missing the gasket (blown somewhere down the line), and the screw holding it on was completely dissolved. As icesailor mentioned, this could be causing an obstruction, but the pressure in the shower is good.Any chance this could be causing a cross-connection? I have to check out the older CW shut-off tomorrow. The one that goes to the blue bathroom is a newish ball valve.

    Icesailor, the "third" valve is the cold control for  the west half of the house. The dedicated ball valve is supposed to shut of the blue bathroom only (North). It isn't leaking water through that I can tell, but I still need to shut of the "third" valve" to totally stop the cold water flow to the blue bathroom. The last valve is the HW valve. I'll post a schematic and pics tomorrow.
    At least I know I have a leaky valve, the shower gaskets are fine, the assembly is in correctly, but the plungers are badly corroded and need replacing. Not sure if this info  helps. I probably won't do anything until Tues. Thanks for all the help and have a Happy Labor Day. C
    This post was edited by an admin on August 30, 2014 12:44 AM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 7:59 AM
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    Broken Valve:

    When you say that the hot water control valve to the bathroom in the cellar is broken, what kind of valve is it? Is it a compression stop with a washer inside? Is that where the missing screw head is? Is it a "gate valve" with a non-rising stem? I doubt that it is a modern ball valve unless it was installed recently (last 10 or 15 years). If it is a gate valve with a non-rising stem, and you have brass bibb screws rotting off, its from de-zincification. The screw threads on the stem and gate may be rotted off. If it is that kind of valve, when you went to repair the faucet years ago, the stem might have stripped and the "gate" is wedged in the bore and can't be fully opened or closed. If the hot water shut-off in the basement is a Stop& Waste type with a compression washer and a bibb screw holding the washer in place, and that is the screw head that is missing, where is the washer that was in there, and the screw? Did you take the mechanism off and look in the hole to see if the washer was jammed in there? If the valve is installed in the proper flow direction, it is supposed to blow it out of the seat. Are there any parts to the washer around?
    I've said from the beginning that I didn't think the shower valve was at the root of your problem. It needs service, but you have a cross connection and/or flow problem. The only way you can ever have a cross flow with a properly designed and manufactured plumbing fixture valve that is fed with Hot & Cold is to plug or cap the outlet and have both H&C wide open. Once the pressure equalizes on the two sides, you can get back flow. If one side is closed, you can't get it. You can only get it when the pressure is equal on both sides. If the pressure is considerably less on one side, the higher pressure will flow to the lower pressure side.
    Don't rely on a long distance to the toilet to keep it from sweating. A way I always depended on to see if flush balls were leaking by in toilet tanks was to check for sweating. If the tank and/or bowl was sweating during sweating season, the ball was leaking bye.
    Don't ignore the possibility of something hidden that the access was covered over and is lost. It happens.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 8:35 AM
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    Hidden Mysteries:

    If you think it can't happen, here is one I found that was YEARS in the doing. The owner never complained to me, only the renters paying $30,000 rent for the month of August rental. The whole house was fine. Just this one bathroom.
    Massachusetts CMR 248 states that you can not have hot water spraying on a body that doesn't go through an approved pressure balanced single lever device faucet. Like to a shower head or a hand shower. This was installed on a soaking tub with a $5,000 specialty faucet with a hand spray, There was also a stand alone shower in the same bathroom. The hot water in the bathroom would only misbehave under long time use. Like when the renters wanted to fill the tub or take a long hot shower. It was only barely warm.
    This was some Plumbers answer to the mixing valve to protect the hand spray.
    The first pictures show the Watts 70A hot water extender. The last one shows it still there, There is a Beacon Anti-Sweat Valve under it that is still there. It should have been replaced but there are time limits. The entire bath was finished in white. The beaded board wood ceiling below was painted white. This was the third of fourth owner. There was a Weil-McLain VHE boiler installed when this was probably done. 30 years ago? This was repaired by my taking apart the finished wall in the adjoining bathroom to locate the problem that I knew had to be somewhere near by. The adjoining bathroom didn't have the problem because it was piped from a different direction.
    You never know what you might find in an old house.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 30, 2014 8:42 AM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 12:38 PM
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    Compression type?

    I think the valve is the compression type. I don't know if you can tell from the attached pic. I looked and felt and couldn't find any screw head. i think it just dissolved. When i recently cleaned a third floor shower head, I did find some black gasket material clogging it, (as well a a lot of mineral deposits). Cleaning out the head totally cleared up the problem. butdoing so had no affect on the blue shower on the second floor.

    I'm also attaching a few pics of th bib assembly. notice how the washers appear different sizes...they aren't. It's just the metal has totally worn away on one. The actual valve holder is surprisingly clean.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 3:07 PM
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    Many things.

    Those plungers come out by driving the pins out of the yoke. Did you remove them? Did you get them back the same way? The one on the right in the photo would usually be the hot because the shoulder is gone. Although I have seen cold ones go bad. The plunger on the right looks to be in good shape. If you look at the PDF you showed, there should be a top to the plunger that restricts the flow of water over the plunger so that moving the valve handle and plunger will let the hot water pressure overcome the higher cold water pressure.
    The compression washer: It is in the system somewhere. If you say signs in a shower head, it is around. The screw head is the same. Its floating around somewhere. That's how they break off. There is a tool to drill out the screw. It probably won't work on that stem because it is much bigger than the average 1/2" faucet washer. And 5/8" or 3/4" washers aren't commonly found when you look for them. You really need to change the valves if only to get rid of the washers and screws. 
    What you really need to do is to make something that is 1/2" threaded so you can connect it to the shower head pipe. Connect your air compressor and blow through  the valve, backwards. So that the air comes out in the cellar. You need another body to hold a 5 gallon bucket in front or under the open valve. What means something to me might not have a meaning to you. When you blow air backwards, you can blow anything out of the pipes. You can also hear and tell if there is an obstruction somewhere.
    That valve shower valve can be changed in the hole that is there. It isn't fun, but it can be done. They have plates to cover the hole. They are used to replace 8" center tub valves where you must convert to a shower valve and meet code.
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    This post was deleted by an admin on August 30, 2014 5:44 PM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:17 AM
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    Some Progress...

    just not in the Blue bathroom. BUT, thanks to the pdf Steamhead posted, i now have hot water in the Masterbath sink for the first time in years! It's always been a trickle and I figured it was either the shut-off valve or an obstruction, but the valve was one I'd never seen and was clearly OLD. I'll post a pic later. Anyway, I dismantled it and then blew out the line of mineral deposits and who knows what else. Then I looked to see if I could fix the valve. I only figured out exactly how it worked because it was drawn on p.19  of Steamhead's Speakman catalogue.
    It's described as an old-style low seat valve. Since it would no longer turn, I filed some off the end and left in in the "on" position. I'll replace it later when I get something attractive. But for now I have great pressure and HOT  water.

    I then did the same in the Blue Bathroom, which did improve hot flow to the sink to a degree, but when I shut off the cold in the basement, hot water came out the sink's cold tap, again.While the sink is not a mixer valve there does seem to be some sort of obstruction there. I'll take the whole thing apart when I have a moment. As usual,  disaster struck when strainer  fell down the  drain, necessitating  removing the trap whose brass connection broke off due to corrosion which required a quick late night trip to HD. While a great excuse to totally clean out the pipes,  I've had enough actual plumbing for the next few days !I'm not doing anything to the shower until the correct gaskets arrive.
    P.S, Steamhead, I'm having fun finding all my parts in that catalogue. I'm hoping Tapco still make some of them for my bath as I would like original shut-offs there, but need the stems. My showers' Needle is shown on p.9 . The main difference in my older fittings is that they're lever and these later ones are all cross-handles.
    This post was edited by an admin on September 3, 2014 2:33 AM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:56 PM
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    Progress Report...

    For those waiting on pins and needle for the next installment (Ha!), while waiting for the Speakman replacement parts, I managed to fix the broken 100yr old HW shuto-off in the cellar, no thanks to my local plumbing store. I think it will be good for another 100 with the  SS screw I used. Now there's no more cold water flowing into the hot spigots of the other bathrooms and kitchen when I shut off the hot valve. Unfortunately, it had no affect on the shower in question.
    Also, having a heck of a time finding a replacement valve for my Symmons Canterbury sink faucet that has weak HW flow. The obstruction is somewhere between the shut-off valve at the sink and the tap. Cold water flows freely and the connecting hose is clean, so that leaves the connecting lines and the valve itself.

    On another note, very disappointed in the local plumbing store I've frequented for years. They no longer help or even know about older stuff and seem to have a condescending attitude that I'd even try saving anything old. Just rip it ALL out and replace and then do it all again in ten years when that stuff breaks. Sometimes that's the only choice, but what ever happened to Yankee ingenuity. I guess that's how they sold me the wrong gaskets last year. Just venting. :)
    This post was edited by an admin on September 12, 2014 9:07 PM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 8:53 PM
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    If you contact Symmons, I am quite sure that they will not be like the plumbing supply house you are dealing with.
    Understand that it is difficult for old style plumbing suppliers to continue to exist. No one fixes anything any more and with the advent of Internet Sales and Home Depot etc,  the attitude is that if we don't carry it, you don't need it. And we can sell you a new one.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 1:20 AM
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    An understatement....

    "If you contact Symmons, I am quite sure that they will not be like the plumbing supply house you are dealing with."

    Well, THAT was an understatement. I called Symmons today, and not only did they have my part, the are sending it to me FOR FREE!!! I couldn't believe it! The gentleman helping me even helped  troubleshoot and said if that's not the problem to call back.
    I'm thinking it's not the problem after pulling it apart today, but I'll have to revisit it when I get the valve. It may be the line between the shut-off valve under the sink and the faucet. At least I was finally able to get the stripped screw out.
     Needless to say, I'm very impressed with Symmons customer service. Thanks for the suggestion, icesailor.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 9:17 AM
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    I said from the beginning that the supply's or supply piping has a problem with debris. If I had known that you had a Symmons sink faucet, I would have known that the supplies had been replaced. Get a set of braided sink supplies. The stainless steel ones. Put the small end on the stops. Open the valves and flow it in a 5 gallon bucket. If one is significantly slower than the other, it is restricted in the piping. If they are both OK, connect them and try the faucet. If one is slower than the other, then the restriction is in the faucet.
    Because the sink end of the flexible supply is 1/2" FPT, you can connect an air compressor adapted to fit the connected supply and blow backwards, any blocking debris. The shower has the Speakman single lever. There is a bath tub that is separate and has a regular 8" Center faucet? If so, when you get the air compressor connected to the flex supply on the sink, power up the line with compressed air. Open the same faucet on the tub. It will blow the debris backwards and maybe out the tub faucet. "Shock" it. Open it fast, then slam it shut, hard. The shock will often dislodge the debris.
    Glad you had a positive experience with Symmons. Their tub shower valves are the best. Solid brass, no plastic parts. Except for some outside trim. I dealt with them for almost 50 years. Every part of the valve is replaceable while in place. If you should decide to replace any shower valves, I highly recommend them. They are competitive in price but are far and above the competition in quality and ease of repair. I serviced/repaired a lot of faucets and valves in my life. Symmons were the easiest. Some not so old shower valves were terrible to get parts for (if they were available at all) where Symmons parts were always available. So much so that I always had parts in the Van with me.
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