Agricultural irrigation is no joke. You need plenty of tools to be successful, and one incredibly helpful device is a check valve. Check valves ensure that water flows in one direction and keep contaminants out. Since they perform such an essential function, you must know what to look for when shopping for one. These are 10 things you need to know about your check valve before you buy one. It’s crucial to make an informed decision for your farm’s success.

There Are Different Types

A ball check valve opens and closes based on the placement of a ball. As the water rises, the ball sinks down, indicating that the valve is open. When the flow reaches its ideal cracking pressure (we’ll define that later), the ball will skyrocket upward, causing it to close. On the other hand, a swing check valve relies on a disc that moves on and off the seat, indicating when it’s opened and closed. Gravity plays a significant role here. It’s vital to keep this in mind during installation to ensure there’s enough room for the swing to occur.

Why the Flow Rate Is So Important

The flow rate shows how many gallons go through a check valve per minute. The ideal number is 8 feet per second. If you have a flow rate higher than 8, the check valve will likely erode and experience wear and tear. It won’t matter if there are metal or rubber seals; high flow rates will decrease the life of your check valve.

Inlet Pressure? What’s That?

Knowing a check valve’s inlet pressure will help you determine what kind you need. An inline check valve is typically in the middle of the pipe, whereas a slip-on check valve is at the end.

By understanding the inlet pressure number, you can determine what you need.

Why You Need To Know About Cracking Pressure

Cracking pressure is the minimum pressure needed for a valve to open. You can set check valves to any cracking pressure. Of course, check valves need to reach this number to allow water to flow through it. The valve will close if the upstream pressure ever falls below the cracking pressure. How the valve closes depends on the type of check valve you use.

Industries That Use Check Valves

It’s mindboggling that many people don’t know what a check valve is because many industries use it. Rural Water Direct sells one-way water check valves for agricultural irrigation purposes. However, there are plenty of other fields that take advantage of the device. Water treatment facilities use check valves to keep drinking water clean and free of contaminants. Moreover, the oil and gas industry uses check valves to gain additional oversight over their operations.

Knowing the Materials Is a Must

Understanding the material is another one of the 10 things you need to know about your check valve. For example, if the piping system will have hazardous liquid running through it, you may need a different type of check valve. Basically, it all comes down to application. What are you using the check valve for? Once you answer this question, you can determine what material you need.

How Fast Will It Close?

It’s critical that a check valve closes within milliseconds of when it’s supposed to. If the valve doesn’t close when needed, leakage will occur. Some valves allow minimal leakage to occur, while others have seals that allow nothing to pass through. You must figure out what amount of leakage you’re comfortable with before you purchase something.

The Importance of Maintenance

It’s crucial to take care of check valves to ensure they continue to work and put public safety first. When check valves malfunction, stormwater can end up festering in one spot and create floods. This stagnant position allows contaminants to make their way into the water supply, which can be dangerous. Indicators such as noise from vibrations, leakage or damage, and reverse flow prove that a check valve needs maintenance.

Size Matters

It’s important to get the right size check valve for whatever purposes you need. Getting the incorrect size will affect the pipes and other components. In addition, an undersized check valve will create noise and loss in water pressure. On the other hand, an oversized check valve will shorten the valve’s lifespan due to excessive wear and tear.

The Pros Outweigh the Cons

The final thing to know about your check valve is that it’s worth the investment. As previously stated, check valves ensure that liquids flow in one direction, eliminating contamination. Without these tools, we could have a serious public health crisis on our hands. They also limit downtime and prohibit a loss in productivity. They’re self-activating and fast-acting. Finally, they contribute to a smaller footprint and have few moving parts.

Some of the negatives include excessive noise, and they operate in a completely closed system. This enclosure means you can never tell whether the valve is open or closed. Furthermore, the closing action can cause wear and tear. It’s important to remember, though, that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Many industries have realized the value of check valves. These devices prevent backflow and keep their water supply clean. Agriculture is perhaps the field that uses these devices the most. Many farmers install one-way water check valves in sprinkler systems to ensure that crops receive clean water. The team at Rural Water Direct believes that it’s important to understand everything about your check valve to ensure it works properly.

For example, you can never underestimate the importance of maintenance. If you don’t take care of your check valve, it’ll get damaged and allow pollutants to enter the water supply. Finally, understanding terms like cracking pressure and flow rate are vital in helping you choose the right valve for your needs.

Hopefully, you can confidently shop for your next check valve after reading this article. Rural Water Direct is a reputable dealer that’ll always put your needs first by offering top-quality agricultural equipment. Check out our selection of check valves today.

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