After a steady rain or heavy snowfall, you count on your sump pump to keep your basement or crawlspace from flooding. This is important in all homes, but especially if you spend a lot of time in your basement, or use it for any purpose! Nobody complains about having a sump pump unless it fails them; when that happens, a faulty sump pump check valve is often to blame.
To keep your sump system working its best, you need to make sure you have the best sump pump check valve installed. You’ll find a lot of different options available, but not all check valves are created equal. You may find it difficult to pick the best one. In this guide, I’ll walk you through a few different recommendations, so you can make an educated decision when buying and installing your check valve. I’ll even describe how installation works, and tell you what check valve I would install!
Selecting the Best Sump Pump Check Valve in January, 2020
1. Wayne Pumps 66005-
3 x 3 x 8.5 inches
2. Zoeller 30-0181 PVC Plastic Check Valve
9.8 x 17.5 x 6.8 inches
3. Campbell B00JFF205Y
3.3 x 3.3 x 9.5 inches
4. Zoeller 30-0151
11 x 12 x 8.2 inches
5. AY McDonald 4424-100 2069C
Why do I need a sump pump check valve?
To work as best as it can, your sump pump needs a check valve. Without it, your basement pump might not work as intended. Instead, it can reintroduce water it has already pumped back into the sump pit! If your sump system doesn’t have one in the discharge line, the pump will have to work harder and might fail! Even if your pump doesn’t fail, the excess work will at least create a need for more maintenance. In short, when you have the best sump pump check valve in your system, you increase the life of your sump pump, and ensure it works as well as possible!
Recommended sump pump check valves - In Depth Reviewed
1. WAYNE 1-1/2 in. Check Valve With PVC Clamps -- (Editor’s Choice)
The Wayne 1-1/2 inch Check Valve works with almost all types of sump pumps, although you might need additional adapters if you have different sized connections. The valve itself has a 1-1/2 inch threaded male end with a 1-1/4 inch shoulder end. It also comes with a 1-1/2 inch shoulder end adapter if you need it with your pump system. It’s made of PVC and is pretty easy to install. This uses the water in your pump to open and shut the valves. The Wayne Check Valve also does a pretty good job at reducing noise, so you’ll hear less water hammer noises while running your sump pump.
2. Zoeller 30-0181 PVC Plastic Check Valve
The Zoeller 30-0181 PVC Plastic Check Valve is another excellent choice, provided that you need to install it on a 1-1/2 inch pipe. This valve uses slip x slip unions, that tighten via clamps. Even so, glue or cement is recommended in installation. To eliminate any right angle edges the flapper curves over a radius, allowing for smooth water flow in the right direction, and increases the longevity of the flapper hinge. You can install the Zoeller check valve vertically or horizontally, so it can adapt to your sump system, and you won’t need to worry about excess noise as it is also designed to reduce water hammer.
3. Campbell B00JFF205Y
If you have a lot of trouble with water hammer or other check valve related noise issues when you run your sump pump, the Campbell check valve can resolve that problem — quiet is right in the name! Brady manufactures this check valve specifically to combat sump system associated noise and water hammer. This valve uses a spring loaded internal flapper mechanism to open and shut the valve, as opposed to using a gravity based system. The flapper will properly, and quietly, seat itself whenever necessary. This makes it quieter than most other valves. Additionally, this valve is composed of transparent plastic, so you can see any interruptions to normal operation. This makes troubleshooting your basement pump system much easier.
4. Zoeller 30-0151
Another check valve from Zoeller, the 30-0151 is made of cast iron. Before you start worrying too much about rust, Zoeller uses a corrosion resistant epoxy powder coating to prevent that problem. This check valve has a two inch flow design that allows for fast water flow, and an extra wide flapper hinge to reduce stress and increase the flapper’s longevity. The stainless steel clamps and screws work much more effectively than those on the previous Zoeller check valve, and you shouldn’t have to worry about needing to tighten them. It can be installed vertically or horizontally, on PVC, copper or steel piping, and the unions are flexible neoprene.
5. AY McDonald
AY McDonald’s Clear Silent Check Valve gets rid of almost all water hammer. Additionally, it creates almost no valve noise of its own, leaving you with silent sump system operation. This valve accomplishes this using a two-check design, with spring operated flappers. The valve’s top check takes all the shock from the falling water, allowing the bottom check to softly seat itself upon the sealing surface. This makes for an exceptionally quiet operation. Additionally, AY McDonald pressure tests every valve, so you know that you’ll get great performance with no risk of leaks. Composed of high density plastic, the check valve won’t corrode, and the hoses are made of SBR, which has much less risk of experiencing dry rot. The stainless steel hose clamps allow you to install on any kind of pipe, with no leakage problems.
6. Sump Pump "Silent" Check Valve
The Sump Pump “Silent” Check Valve also operates with a spring loaded flapper. Like you already know, this really helps to reduce or eliminate noise while you run your sump system. No more annoying water hammer nuisance! The clear body allows you to see water movement so you know that the valve is working properly. The stainless steel clamps make installation easy with Buna-N rubber couplings that resist dry rot. It even comes with a two year warranty, so if you do happen to have any problems with the check valve you can get a replacement. You can install this both horizontally and vertically, but I’ve found that it doesn’t work as well when installed horizontally.
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How to Choose the Best Sump Pump Check Valve
You have a lot of options to consider when selecting a sump pump check valve. With so many options available, it’s hard to know which one will work best for you and your sump system. I know many people who simply buy the first one they find or the least expensive. Don’t rush to choose! Weigh the benefits of a few different options. I recommend considering the following.
Frequency of use
How often will you need to use your sump pump? If you live in a flood plain, you may end up using it a lot more than if you live in a locale where you only have to worry about a spring thaw and the occasional rainstorm.
- If you will use your sump system only occasionally, any of the reviewed check valves will work for you, and you can focus on other concerns.
- If you require more regular use, consider the materials and lifespan of the check valve and balance that with other factors.
- If your sump pump will get used frequently and you depend on it to prevent basement flooding, make the longevity, lifespan and reliability of your sump pump a top priority.
Does your basement pump create a lot of noise? Does your current or previous check valve create water hammer that drives you nuts? If you value quiet, you’ll definitely want a sump pump check valve that eliminates noise and reduces water hammer. Especially if you spend a lot of time in space near the pump, I recommend considering the level of noise reduction.
When it comes to size, you have to think about a few different things in relation to both your sump pump and any check valve you consider purchasing.- Does the check valve accommodate the size of the pipes your sump system uses?
- Will the check valve handle the amount of water flowing through the sump pump?
- Does the sump system have enough room to fit the check valve?
- Sump pump compatibility
Though most sump pump check valves will work with most sump systems — as long as the size matches — you’ll find exceptions. Make sure that any check valve you consider purchasing will be fully compatible with your current sump system.
While you may want to buy the least expensive option, that might not actually provide the best return on investment in the long run. When thinking about your budget and the potential check valve, keep a few things in mind.
- If you use your sump system regularly, you will likely have to replace a cheap check valve more often than if you invest in one better suited to your needs.
- Higher quality materials often cost more, but often last longer or work more effectively.
- I prefer to buy once and install once, instead of repeating the process more regularly.
In the long run, that will likely cost you more time and money.
How to set up a sump pump check valve
Every sump pump check valve will get installed a little differently, but the general process will remain largely the same. Once you’ve acquired the right check valve, you’ll need to remove your old one, locate the gap where one will belong, or cut a gap in the discharge pipe.
If you have to cut a gap, use a pipe cutter to remove a section of pipe near the pump. Take care not to cut away too much; you can always cut more, but it’s much harder to replace pipe if you remove too much. Smooth the edges of the cut pipe with a file.
Fit the ends of the discharge pipe into the corresponding ends of the check valve. Use couplings, if appropriate, to join the ends together. While not every check valve will require it, I recommend using PVC cement to seal the joints. Once dry, test the check valve by pumping water from your sump pit. You may hear the flapper in the valve opening, and you will see the movement of the water if your check valve is transparent.
Why a check valve is an important sump pump feature
A quality sump pump check valve keeps water moving in the right direction, and preventing backflow into your sump pit. This may seem like a minor nuisance, but backflow will make your sump pump do twice the amount of work, shortening its lifespan. Nobody wants to discover that their sump pump has burned out in the middle of a rain storm! Installing a sump pump check valve prevents this, reducing energy consumption and ensuring that your sump pump system will work when you need it to. Additionally, a good check valve will reduce vibration in the pipes and will eliminate noise.
Sump pump check valve buyer’s guide
How do I know if I need a sump pump?
Chances are, if you need a sump pump, you’ll know it! A flooded basement or crawlspace won’t leave many doubts. Most likely, if you bought a house that requires one, you’ll probably already have one installed. If you keep getting water in your basement or crawlspace, contact a plumber or a basement waterproofing specialist to find out if you need one.
Do I really need a sump pump check valve?
In short, yes! The check valve lengthens the lifespan of your sump pump and ensures proper operation. Without one, you will very likely experience backflow problems, which means that your sump pump will have to discharge the same water twice! This wears your sump pump out faster, wastes power and can slow the water removal process. That means that without a check valve, your basement or crawlspace will have a higher risk of flooding. I haven’t found any good reason not to install one, and in many areas, building codes require them!
How does the check valve work?
Though different check valves will operate a little differently, the general idea remains the same. An internal mechanism or flapper allows the water to flow in one direction, opening the valve. When the flow slows down and the water pressure drops, the flapper will hinge shut so that water cannot flow back in the direction it initially came from. When water moves forward again, the flapper opens, discharging the water. Using a check valve, water can only move one direction.
Should I install my check valve vertically or horizontally?
You can install most valves horizontally or vertically with no noticeable decrease in their effectiveness. Often the orientation in which you install your check valve will depend on how your sump system is laid out. If the pump or plumbing requires the check valve in a certain orientation, install it that way. However, before doing so, double check to ensure that your check valve will work both horizontally and vertically! While most work both ways, there are exceptions.
How do I know if I need a new check valve?
If your sump pump seems to take longer than usual to drain the sump pit, it could be because your check valve is failing and not preventing backflow. Likewise, excessive water hammer or other noise can also indicate that you need to replace your sump pump check valve. Any visible leaks, cracks or corrosion all signal that you should consider replacing your sump pump check valve.
Is it better to have a plastic or metal check valve?
I think both plastic and metal check valves have positive and negative qualities. Plastic doesn’t corrode in any way, but can wear out more quickly than comparable metal valves. Often plastic check valves are clear so you can easily see when they work properly, allowing for easy troubleshooting if you experience any problems.
Both have their pros and cons, and which will work best depends largely on your needs.
What causes water hammer and how does a check valve prevent it?
Water hammer refers to the noise made when water is forced to stop abruptly. It actually sends a shock back through the water in the pipe and over time can damage your sump pump! Many check valves incorporate features to prevent this from happening, although many can actually cause the problem if their flapper closes too suddenly. Many spring loaded flappers prevent water hammer because the flapper will begin closing as water pressure drops, meaning that it has less gap to close, and is less likely to abruptly shut.
Why does my check valve leak?
If you have a leaky sump pump check valve, you should consider replacing it with a new valve. If the leak comes from the connection with the pipe, however, it may simply be a leaking union. You should tighten any clamps, and consider sealing the connections with PVC cement. If this fails to alleviate the problem, the fault is likely to be the check valve itself, which will need replacing.
What is the arrow on my sump pump check valve?
As you look at your new sump pump check valve you may see an arrow pointing one direction. This indicates the direction that water will travel through the valve. As you install it in your sump system, make sure to orient the check valve in such a way that the arrow points in the direction that water will discharge. Otherwise the check valve will not work properly and may damage itself or your pump system.
Why are there so many different options?
Ultimately it comes down to different needs. Some individuals need a cost effective solution for infrequent use, while others require a long lasting check valve to deal with frequent flooding. Some people want a silent solution, while others want to see that it’s working. Whatever your preference, you’ll find a sump pump check valve that works for you!
Out of all the sump pump check valves I recommended in this review, one really stands out among the competition. While all six work great and each has their own positive traits, I found the Zoeller 30-0181 PVC Plastic Check Valve to be the best overall sump pump check valve out of the bunch!
When it comes to reducing noise and eliminating water hammer, the dual check design performs better than the other valves. While I recognize the possibility that plastic may wear out before metal valves, like the AY McDonald 4424-100 2069C 1 1/2 Clear Silent Check Valve, the fact that plastic is completely immune to corrosion more than makes up for it, Further, the SBR connections will likely outlast any others, and the stainless steel clamps make sure that this stays where it needs to!
The spring operated flappers will keep your sump system pumping water in the right direction for a long time, and the clear plastic construction lets you see the Zoeller and Ay McDonald working properly. Since each check valve gets pressure tested, you can rest easy knowing that this check valve won’t have any leaks.
You can trust the Zoeller and Ay McDonald check valve in your sump pump. I know that when the time comes to replace my sump pump check valve, this is the one I’ll install.