A check valve is a special type of value that only allows liquid to flow in one direction. That’s why it’s sometimes also referred to as a one-way valve, a non-return valve, or a clack valve. These valves are very important in areas that are prone to flooding and are often used in drains.
How does a Check Valve Work?
Check valves feature two openings. The liquid enters through one and exits through the other, which sounds very simple. The power of the check valve comes from what’s in the middle. There are a few different types of these valves, but all of them do the same basic thing: prevent water from flowing backwards.
One of the simplest types of check valves is a ball check. In this method, a ball is placed within the exit valve. Water flows in to the intake valve and pushes the ball forward. But when water tries to flow from the exit valve backwards, it pushes this ball right up against the smaller intake valve. The ball completely blocks it, preventing water from moving forward.
A swing check valve is similar in that a small disc or other type of stop is held in place against the valve. When water hits it from one side, it swings open. When the water comes in from the other side, however, it simply pushes the valve more tightly against its housing, actually making the seal stronger.
There are a number of other types of valves, too, including pneumatic, duckbill, and stop-check valves.
Where will you find these Valves?
These valves are used in a number of different applications. Many pumps, including sump pumps, use them to prevent the water from returning through the pump. These pumps are essential to removing water from certain areas, but they must not be allowed to function in reverse. Otherwise, it’s possible the pump could actually allow more water into the area. If that were to happen, you would probably have to call sewage cleanup services.
In addition to basements, you’ll find this type of valve in your sprinkler systems. They’re used in irrigation lines to prevent water from draining out in between uses. They can also be used in solar thermal heating installations and rainwater harvesting systems.
Check valves are used in more places than your average basement, though. They may also be used in power plants and chemical plants. They’re found in aircraft to control corrosive fluids. NASA even uses check valves in their launch vehicle’s propulsion propellant controls.
In addition to controlling liquids, check valves can also be used to control gases. For example, check valves will be used in any application that requires two gases to be mixed into one.
Why Check Valves are So Important
Without a check valve, you’ll find water flowing the opposite way that you want it to. While this wouldn’t always happen, it would happen enough that it would make sump pumps and some other devices practically useless.
So remember, when you have your sump pump checks before the spring and summer rains begin, make sure the check valve is examined and, if needed, replaced.
Should you find yourself in a situation where your check valve has failed (or worse, wasn’t installed to begin with), you can contact our team at Active Restoration, so we can help you get out from under water.