The Most Common Causes and Symptoms of Check Valve Failure
We wrote about the importance of preventative maintenance in keeping valves from deteriorating or leaking and releasing fugitive emissions. You might have learned about the signs and symptoms of valve failure, but remain unsure about how to prevent check valve failure. A routine maintenance schedule will help you prevent valves from failing and extend the lifespan of your equipment.
Keep valves clean
pipelines free from debris and contaminants is the easiest
way to prevent valve issues. Install filters or covers to stop
debris from getting into your system. If debris still gets into
your piping, flush before shutdown to minimize build-up and
Use the right check valve
While this might seem obvious, installing the correctly-sized check valve can extend the life of a downstream system. We wrote about orientation, flow condition and type of application being important, NOT the size of the pipeline. If your check valve is incorrectly sized, you can end up paying more due to reduced flow, and your system might even suffer from conditions such as water hammer.
Preventative maintenance can help maintain tight shutoff (TSO) and prevent valves from failing before they should. If flushing piping doesn't work, remove the valve and carefully check it for signs of wear and tear or corrosion or roughness on housing. If you don't find anything on the valve, you can then wash the check valve components. If you see any signs of wear, replace it immediately.
It's crucial to keep check valves (which consist of several moving parts) lubricated to extend the life of each valve and prevent any unnecessary system shutdowns. Make sure you're using the right lubricant for your valve to ensure overall performance and efficient operation - and apply this regularly.
Check and check again
Checking and inspecting your valves regularly will prevent premature valve failure, especially when valves are operating under high stress or high-temperature conditions. Check bolts, nuts, casing and other hardware carefully to make sure they are not leaking or coming loose.
Our advice? Check valves are expendable items. Keep at least
one new set handy and toss out the old ones when they start
wearing out. You will save yourself lots of time and frustration.