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New check valve leaks on pumping system

Hello to the experts at "Ask This Old House". I am searching for a high quality check valve for use in a household well water system. We are drawing water at a depth of about 90 feet from a well that uses a submersible pump system and a pressure tank. The critical check valve between the submersible pump and the pressure tank leaks, allowing water to flow backward into the well. A number of new replacement valves, supplied by local hardware stores have been installed in the system and leak shortly thereafter. These valves use a swing-type gate, are made of brass and are of foreign origin. The faulty valves cause the system to re-pump unnecessarily and waste electrical energy. We are searching for an affordable 1.5" threaded check valve suitable for operation in a 70 psig (maximum) system. The hardware must be leak tight to reverse flow, compatible with drinking water and attainable in Northern California. Can you recommend a suitable product for this application? Many thanks from David.

Re: New check valve leaks on pumping system

Are you sure it is check valve?
Could it be the pipe itself?
I've seen crack pipe can contributed to loss of pressure.

Re: New check valve leaks on pumping system

You don't state the location of this check-valve. Is it immediately above the pump or is it somewhere else in the pipe such as close to the pressure tank?

If it is down at the pump and several new valve installs have failed to stop this problem, then I would also suspect a crack, hole or leak in the supply pipe above that check valve.

Or...if this a "common" cheapy swing-type check-valve and is installed on a horizontal portion of the pipe...it will not be able to function properly.

If these new valves work for a period of time and then fail (as you indicate) then the main problem may be as you suspect; cheapo junk.

However....the fact is that swing-type check-valves should not be used with submersible pumps. With a swing-type valve, when the pump stops, there is a sudden reversal of flow before the valve closes, causing a sudden change in the velocity of the water. Spring-load check valves should be used because they are designed to close quickly when the water flow stops and before it begins to move in the reverse direction. There is little or no velocity of flow when the spring-loaded valve closes and no hydraulic shock or water hammer is produced.

IF a check-valve is not located directly above the pump...then it should be within 25' of the pump AND... always below the drawdown level in the well.

The desire to replace your swing-type check-valve with a spring-loaded one is totally correct...whether or not it is the actual cause of the problem you're currently experiencing. I would suggest you go to a local plumbing supply house as they should have what you need there....and you can save shipping charges that way. Even a big box should have the correct valve for your needs. Or...contact a local well-driller as they too should have what you need.

If none of these suggestions is doable, here's a source for what you need. Scroll down to submersible check valves. To simplify choosing the right valve, call them and explain what you need and the specifics of your situation.


Here's another source. http://www.campbellmfg.com/catalog/g01.htm

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