WATTS 263A REGULATOR ADJUSTMENT AND MAINTENANCE
PROTECT FROM FREEZING!
- If a water source has as much or more pressure than you wish to set your regulator, then you will be able to complete your adjustment. Hook regulator to the source and to the RV. Turn the water on at the source but do not run any water downstream. You want static pressure, not running pressure. Turn the adjustment screw clockwise to increase pressure. Turn counterclockwise to reduce the pressure setting. For the pressure to go down, you must release the downstream pressure by opening any tap or faucet.
- Keep breather plug on oil filled gauges in an upright position.
- Sediment, gravel, scale buildup or even organic material can get caught in the valve mechanism and cause the regulator to become inoperative, bleeding by the excessive pressure a water source might have. If this happens, a quick full flush on the ground may rid the regulator of the material. If not, then disassembly of the unit will be necessary. Check and clean all parts, then reassemble. If a part has failed, repair kits are available to rebuild the regulator.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR WATTS 263A
Sometimes a customer will become aware of a problem with the regulator that is indicated by a reading on the gauge that is more than what they have it set at. Most of the time, this is an indication of the need to perform some maintenance on it.
A regulator is just a valve that automatically opens and closes by way of a diaphragm, needle valve and valve seat. If the valve cannot close for any reason, it will not be able to hold the pressure. Various things can get in the way of it closing, such as, organic material, gravel, grit, or more often, mineral deposits (scale) around the perimeter of the valve seat. The nice thing about the watts valve is that you can take it apart for maintenance, rebuilding or repairing.
I suggest getting a thin rag and a pencil with an eraser on it, along with some white vinegar, CLR, or other mineral dissolving product. The access to the valve seat area is through the bottom hex plug. Loosen the lock nut and screw the adjustment bolt out or to the left (counter clockwise) until it gets loose. This removes the tension on the main spring in the upper half of the unit and makes it a bit easier to perform the task. Unscrew the hex plug on the bottom of the regulator and note that there will be a spring there that you need to be sure does not get away from you. Set the spring aside and remove the rubber needle valve cone on the s/s pin. Turn the regulator upside down and if the needle valve does not fall out, bump it against the palm of your hand which will usually get it to fall out.
If not, you probably have a bit of gunk in there that is making it stick. The needle valve should move or slide easily on that s/s pin. You can reach in with tweezers or needlenose pliers and pull it out, if needed. Now you have exposed the valve seat, which is nothing more than a hole down in the brass body that the rubber cone part of the needle valve seals into. Examine the rubber cone and valve seat to see if anything obvious is there that could be holding it up. Most of the time, if it is mineral deposit, it is very difficult to see, but donʼt let that stop you from cleaning it!
Soak a corner of the rag in the vinegar or whatever you have, and push that soaked corner down in there so that it contacts the valve seat hole. Now take the eraser end of the pencil and apply pressure against the rag and twist the pencil back and forth to both dissolve any scale and get it to wipe on out of there. Flush the unit out with some water and replace the needle valve and spring. Note that the spring fits over a protrusion on the top of the rubber cone that holds it in place. Screw the hex plug back in and you are ready to test. 90% of the time, this procedure will fix the problem.
Hook the regulator up to the hoses and turn the water on and see if the unit holds at zero. If it does, then go ahead and turn the adjustment bolt to the right or clockwise, until you reach the desired pressure. If the source pressure is not high enough to get where you want it to be, stop short or back it off to a pressure below what the source is, so that you can accurately determine if the regulator is holding or if it creeps on up beyond where you have it set. If you set it at the source pressure, or beyond, you will not be able to determine at this time if it is holding at the set pressure, or not. But letʼs assume that you are unlucky enough to be in the other 10%. Letʼs examine the next step to help make a diagnosis of the problem. This step can be performed while you are doing the cleaning, or you can go back in now because the cleaning did not help. You will need a piece of 500 grit, or so, sandpaper or emory cloth. Cut a strip about the width of the pencil or a bit more, and about 4” long. With the hex plug, spring and needle valve removed, fold the sandpaper over the end of the eraser evenly so the you can hold it in place with your one hand with the paper on both sides of the pencil. Squeeze the paper and push the pencil down into the brass body and work the pencil back and forth, just like you did with the vinegar.
What you are trying to do is get the grit of the paper to sand or polish the soft brass around the perimeter of the valve seat hole. Reposition the paper, as needed, to get the brass to turn shiny and allow you to see any wear or imperfections in that valve seat rim. Water can be rather abrasive with what is in it and can wear a groove or divot in that valve seat that would prevent the valve from sealing. This is not too common, but it can happen. If you find that is the problem, then you either have to replace the regulator or if you are handy and have a dremel tool with a 60 degree cone bit, you can grind that valve seat to remove debris and smooth the affected area.
I have had a customer report that he successfully did make such a repair. If this kind of a situation happened within the first year, it would be covered by warranty, even though it is not a defect. Watts is just a pretty good company to deal with. If the brass is not worn, but the unit still does not hold pressure, then the next step is to purchase the rebuild kit for your 263A and replace the diaphragm, needle valve and small spring. Sometimes, the rubber parts will get dry and harden up over time, especially with part-time use.