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Do You Need a Check Valve on a Sump Pump?            

Do You Need a Check Valve on a Sump Pump

Sump pumps, pumps usually placed in the basement, are specifically designed to keep underground areas of your home as dry as possible and work well to prevent flooding.

More than 60% of homeowners in the United States struggling with moisture control issues in their basement it’s easy to see how important sump pumps really are. So how important is a check valve for your sump pump?

Do you need a check valve for your sump pump? The answer is yes. For sump pumps to work correctly they need to be fitted with check valve systems that guarantee the water they pump goes in one direction and one direction only – out of your home and not back into the basement.

Do I Need a Check Valve on My Sump Pump?

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Truth be told, it’s a good idea for your sump pump to have a check valve installed for a couple of different reasons.

The biggest reason, for course, is to guarantee that all of the water your sump pump pushes out of your basement stays out of the basement. Without a check valve guaranteeing that water flows in one direction and one direction alone, all the water your pump worked so hard to get rid of would simply come flooding back in.

You’d end up running your sump pump around-the-clock, 24/7, pumping the same water out and then back in again.

A check valve system also extends the longevity and efficiency of your sump pump system.

Without a check valve your pump motor would be working significantly harder than it has to when a check valve is installed properly. That burns out your pump motor faster, cripples its effectiveness and efficiencies, and often drives up energy costs as well.

Do you absolutely need a check valve on your sump pump?

We’d argue that you do!

To check the current price and availability of the Do Sump Pumps Come with a Check Valve?

Though you might be able to find a handful of sump pumps on the market today that do not include a check valve system (especially at the lower price points), the overwhelming majority of quality pumps – the kind of pumps worth investing in – are going to have check valves built right in.

Like we mentioned a moment ago, a sump pump without a check valve runs the risk of continuously pumping the same water in and out of a space over and over again.

There’s nothing in those pump systems to prevent water from back flowing into your basement (or even into the pump) the moment that the pump gets switched off the way that a check valve would.

But even though most quality sump pumps include a check valve it’s a good idea not to assume that any of the pumps you’re looking at are going to have this critical hardware built right in.

It’s still a good idea to double check and confirm, making sure that the pump you are going to spend money on features a check valve for sure.

How Far From Sump Pump Should Check Valve Be Installed?

Check valves are (generally) going to be installed relatively close to the pump itself, anywhere between 8 inches from the pump discharge to maybe 12 inches above floor level.

That’s a real sort of “sweet spot” for these check valves to be effective without causing any undue stress or extra pressure on your pump if the check valve actually has to kick in.

Some people like to have a check valve two or 3 feet off the top of the “sump pit”, allowing the pump to work a little less than it would have otherwise with a check valve closer to the ground.

At the end of the day, though, you’ll probably want to tinker with check valve positioning to dial it in perfectly for the pump you’re using, the pit your pumping, and other specifics regarding your pump set up.

Where Should You Put a Check Valve on a Sump Pump?

It’s generally a good idea to install a check valve on any sump pump system that does not already have one built in.

Sump pumps can run without check valves (and might even do a halfway decent job) but they aren’t going to work as efficiently or as effectively as they would have with a check valve installed.

The specifics of your sump pump installation will play a big part in where the check valve actually goes, but a lot of people like to keep it relatively close to the pump itself (usually 8 to 10 inches away) and at least a foot or more off of the ground.

How Do You Install a Check Valve on a Sump Pump?

Installing a check valve doesn’t have to be the most challenging project in the world.

For starters, be by deactivating your pump and ideally unplugging it directly from its power source.

This is not the kind of job you want to be doing with the worry of your pump kicking on halfway through. Measure the diameter of the existing drainpipe, getting just as accurate a measurement as you possibly can. We are talking to within 1/8 of an inch minimum.

Next you’ll need to get your hands on PVC pipe fittings to connect your check valve to the drainage pipe.

Most installations will require a couple of couplings and adapters, some PVC hardware (like pipe clamps), and PVC pipe glue for sure.

All that’s really left to do is connect your check valve to the actual drainage pipe and the new PVC installation, then connect the whole thing back to your sump pump.

Plug your pump in and let it get to work. Now you’re off to the races!

Final Thoughts

Having a check valve on your sump pump is hugely important, especially if you want your pump to run efficiently and aren’t interested in burning out this critical tool anytime soon.

Luckily, the overwhelming majority of quality sump pump systems are going to come with a check valve that you can hook up without a lot of headache and without a lot of hassle.

If the sump pump you’ve picked up doesn’t include this critical hardware, though, don’t worry. The project isn’t all that challenging (it’s usually not something you need to call a plumber in to knock out for you) and can be tackled with some household tools and an afternoon’s worth of time.

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