What Is a Check Valve?
A sump pump check valve is a required accessory. It keeps the water your sump pump pushes out of the sump pit through the discharge pipe and away from the house from running back down the discharge pipe and back into the pit causing the pump to keep pumping the same water over and over causing the motor to overwork and wear out faster. If a check valve is not used, as much as one-half gallon of water per cycle runs back into the pit.
Another obscure role a check valve plays is keeping insects and rodents from crawling through your outside discharge pipe and following it all the way down to the pump. The check valve flapper keeps the unwanted creatures from getting below the valve into the sump pump.
Even though the check valve is small and looks like it does very little, it does extend the life of a sump pump.
Which Check Valve is Best?
There are many brands of check valves and differences between brands. To help you identify the check valve which is best for your pumping needs, this review will compare those three things believed to be most significant in the selection of the best valve: design features, material durability and strength, and ease of installation.
The hammering noise is annoying. Which check valves hydrodynamic design reduces water turbulence and resistance inside the valve more than others thus reducing the hammering noise? The spring gate causes the least amount of turbulence when closing and is quietest. The flapper design causes the most water turbulence with its hinge movement when closing and thus is loudest. Those valves using an additional air chamber with the flapper are thirty-three to fifty percent quieter than those without an air chamber. Those using basement rooms for sleeping report it is impossible to sleep with the noise of the flapper design.
Poor water flow through the valve slows down pit water removal. The full flow valve flap allows more water to flow through the check valve than does a partial valve flap since it opens completely without obstructing the flow of water. Both designs are readily available; however many neighborhood hardware stores have a very limited supply of the full flow valve flap design.
Buying the wrong valve for your specific application is frustrating. Ninety percent of all check valves are made to be used with a solid discharge pipe. There are some, however that can be used with the accordion style discharge hose. Knowing how you will use the check valve and reading the label on the carton is important.
Not knowing the difference between ABS and PVC or bunaN and neoprene puts you at a disadvantage when looking for the best check valve. PVC is stronger than ABS. Also installing a PVC check valve to a PVC pipe is ideal. Bonding of PVC and ABS is not the same.
A flapper made of neoprene is stronger than bunaN and natural rubber. Natural rubber has the least amount of strength and durability. As long as the flapper is flexible, the seal will be tight for all three materials; however natural rubber will leak quicker.
Ease of Installation
Knowing your degree of skill when it comes to determining which check valve is best is important. Check valves to be connected to the discharge pipe with rubber connectors (sleeves) and clamps tightened by screw drivers are the easiest to install. This style requires slipping the rubber union over the PVC pipe and tightening two stainless steel clamps per union with a screw driver. To remove this style requires loosening the clamps and sliding the pipe out. No cutting of PVC pipe is required unless the discharge pipe is too long.
Some check valves require the PVC discharge pipe to be glued inside the check valve connection. The biggest challenges with this type of check valve are cutting the PVC pipe to the proper length and using the correct cement to glue the discharge pipe and check valve together. If the check valve material is ABS, it is necessary to check city code regarding the co-mingling of ABS with PVC. Some cities do not allow this.
Installing the check valve upside down can easily happen. Both ends of the check valve look the same. Look for manufacturers who clearly mark the direction the valve should be placed with the discharge pipe.
In summary, knowing about sump pump check valve design, differences in material quality and ease of installation will help you to find the best check valve for your pumping needs. You can find out more information on sump pump check valves at my website.
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