Foot valves are essential equipment that ensures your water supply stays clean and free of dirt and debris. They’re a versatile check valve that comes in all shapes, sizes, and material makeup. That’s why it’s crucial to understand which type of foot valve is best for your purposes. Luckily, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of things to consider before investing in a foot valve so that you can make the best selection possible!  

Foot Valves

You should understand what a foot valve is to have a productive discussion of things to be mindful of before buying one. So let’s explore that briefly. Like the ball, piston, and stop, a foot valve is another type of check valve that helps ensure your irrigation systems are clean and free of backflow.

They are typically installed at a pump or the bottom of a pipeline. Thus, you can normally find them attached to:

  • Ponds and pools
  • Irrigation systems
  • Large water fixtures
  • Industrial waterlines  

Typically, foot valves have an open end with a screen or shield covering it, subsequently keeping debris from getting into the line(s) it’s attached to. Plus, a foot valve’s opening is designed to be larger than the line itself, which minimizes heat loss.

Why They’re Important

Foot valves are—in essence—like every other check valve. Their primary function is to ensure that lines and water supplies stay clean and free of harmful debris. But foot valves are unique because they have an extra fail safe that many other check valves do not: their protective screens.

These ensure that the already tightly sealed check valve catches any extra debris or dirt to ensure optimum function. Foot valves are also necessary because they allow their pumps to stay primed. They do this by enabling liquid to flow while also keeping it from flowing back out.

As mentioned, the screen that covers the valve keeps any extra debris out and provides superior suction. Thus, it’s imperative to examine and clean them. When you do, these super powerful valves can protect any water systems you might use.

Things To Consider Before Buying

Now that you have a better understanding of foot valves and what makes them so special, we can start discussing some of the things you need to keep in mind before investing in one for yourself. Fortunately, we’ve listed some of the most pertinent things to consider below.

Why You Need the Foot Valve

The first thing you should consider is why you need a foot valve in the first place. After all, this type of valve is used in myriad ways. They’re just as useful for pool and well pumps as for industrial water and irrigation systems. So understanding the purpose your specific valve will serve can help you make the best selection when the time comes.

For instance, the foot valve you’d buy to keep a residential pool or fountain clean would look vastly different than the water pump foot valve you might use for a large-scale irrigation system on a farm. Thus, clearly defining your pump’s purpose will ensure that you’re looking at the suitable models, sizes, and valve structures to meet your unique needs.

What Type of Foot Valve Is Best for You?

After you define the specific purpose your foot valve will serve, it’s time to start looking at the different types of valves available to select a suitable model. Like most equipment, foot valves come in various shapes, sizes, and materials.

First, we’ll cover the two primary foot valve structures:

#1. Flapper Types

Generally speaking, this type of foot valve includes a hinged rubber flapper or a flat piece of material attached to one side (usually the top) of the device. Flappers use the weight of the water pushing up against the piece of material to keep the valve shut when the pump it’s attached to is turned off.

When the pump is on, however, a mixture of suction and reduced pressure on the valve’s inlet side blows the piece of material open, allowing water to flow through. Be mindful that these foot valve designs are older and not great for all applications. They typically work better for smaller systems like those you might find on residential properties.

#2. Spring Types

Spring type foot valves are much more versatile. And as a result, they’re also the more common design choice across various water pump applications. Rather than using a flap, spring types use a spring that closes a round or stopper when the pump is shut off.

When turned on, powerful suction on its inlet side forces the valve open by leveraging pressure against the device’s spring. This allows water to flow through while also keeping it from moving backward. Spring valves are the typical structure model for modern foot valves. This shouldn’t be a shock because spring foot valves can be installed and function in any position, unlike their flapper counterparts.

The Best Material for Your Foot Valve

The model structure is only part of the equation. You also need to select the best material for your purposes, and there are a few options to choose from, including:

  • PVC foot valves
  • Plastic foot valves
  • Cast iron foot valves
  • Stainless steel foot valves
  • Bronze foot valves

Of course, each of these materials is best suited for many types of water systems. For instance, bronze and stainless steel would likely be most appropriate for more extensive water systems, like those you might find on a farm or industrial water supply. Plastic and PVC valves might be more suitable for pools and other residential water sources.

Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Lastly, when selecting your ideal foot valve, it’s wise to look into what the regular maintenance and troubleshooting processes will look like. Foot valves are unique equipment that helps keep your water supplies clean and sanitary. Thus, each model you look at will require periodic upkeep and occasional troubleshooting when there’s an issue.

Because the materials and structures of foot valve types can vary, the kind of care required for each will also differ slightly. So look into the specific requirements for your model before you buy. That way, you’ll know how to care for it appropriately.

In short, there are many things to consider before buying a foot valve. But hopefully we’ve shed some light on what a few of those things are so that you can make the best selection when the time comes.

Things To Keep in Mind Before Buying Your Foot Valve