Are you tired of unpleasant sewer odors and the potential risk of wastewater backflow in your sink? You might be considering the installation of a check valve to resolve these issues.
Check valves are handy little devices that allow water to flow in only one direction, eliminating the risk of these nuisances. But, can you put a check valve in your sink drain, and more importantly, should you?
You can install a check valve in your sink drain. But, improper selection or installation of a check valve can lead to clogs and blockages, as debris may become trapped within the valve, preventing it from leaving the drain.
Also, a malfunctioning check valve may cause water to back into the sink, potentially damaging property.
To mitigate these risks, you should learn the proper installation techniques and how to select a suitable check valve. Let’s discuss these factors together to help you.
How Can You Put a Check Valve in a Sink Drain: Easy Steps
A check valve, a non-return or one-way valve, is designed to allow water to flow in one direction while blocking it in the opposite direction. Here’s how to install a check valve on your sink drain to enhance the functionality and efficiency of your kitchen or bathroom.
Step 01: Choose the Check Valve
Selecting the appropriate check valve for your sink drain is crucial to ensure its proper functioning and prevent potential damage. Before making a purchase, it is essential to understand the type of check valve that suits your sink’s drain system best.
First, measure the size of your drain pipe to determine the correct valve size. Check valves are available in various sizes, so choosing one that fits your drain pipe accurately is imperative.
A check valve that is too small may cause insufficient water flow, while a too-large valve may not fit properly, leading to leakage.
Next, consider the material of the check valve. Common materials used for check valves include brass, stainless steel, and PVC. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, brass and stainless steel are durable and corrosion-resistant but can be more expensive than PVC.
Lastly, verify if the check valve is approved for use in sink drains, as not all check valves may adhere to required plumbing codes and standards.
Step 02: Turn off the Water Supply
Before you begin the process of installing a check valve in your sink drain, it is crucial to turn off the water supply to the sink. In doing so, you’ll ensure that no water flows through the pipes and risk damaging the area during installation.
Locate the shut-off valve beneath your sink to shut off the water supply. This valve is typically found near the hot and cold water lines that connect to your sink’s faucet.
Turn the valve clockwise until it is completely closed. Once you’ve successfully shut off the water supply, open the sink’s faucet to drain any remaining water and release pressure from the lines.
Step 03: Remove the Drain Pipe
After turning off the water supply, you’ll need to remove the drain pipe to install the check valve. The drain pipe is connected to your sink’s drain and the main sewer line, usually held together by slip nuts.
Using a pipe wrench or a pair of pliers, carefully loosen the slip nuts that hold the drain pipe in place. Sometimes, slip nuts can be tight or difficult to loosen, so you may need to apply some force or use a lubricant to facilitate the process.
Once you’ve loosened the slip nuts, remove the drain pipe by gently pulling it away from the sink drain and main sewer line connections. Be cautious while doing this, as some water might be trapped in the pipe, which can cause spillage.
Before you proceed with installing the check valve, it is essential to take a moment to inspect the sink’s drain and drain pipe for any debris or clogs. Clear any obstructions, as these can affect the performance of the check valve once installed.
Step 04: Prepare the Check Valve for Installation
First, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions for your chosen check valve. Make sure you understand the specific features and requirements of the valve.
Next, gather the necessary tools for installation, including a pipe wrench, plumber’s tape (also known as Teflon tape), and a bucket to catch the water that may be released during the process. Before installation, ensure the check valve is clean and free of debris or blockages.
Step 05: Position the Check Valve in the Drainage System
Once you have prepared the check valve and gathered your tools, it’s time to position the valve in the drainage system. Identify the appropriate section of the drain pipe where the check valve should be placed, depending on your sink’s specific drain configuration.
The check valve should be installed in a location that allows for proper flow direction, as indicated by the arrow on the valve. Flow direction is crucial for the valve to function effectively, allowing water to pass through in a single direction and preventing it from flowing back into the sink.
Step 06: Connect the Check Valve to the Drain Pipe
Use the plumber’s tape on the threaded connections of the check valve, wrapping it in a clockwise direction. This ensures a tight seal and minimizes the risk of leaks.
After applying the tape, attach the check valve by hand, then secure it further using a pipe wrench. Be sure to tighten the connection appropriately without over-tightening, which can cause damage to the pipe or valve.
Step 07: Reassemble the Drainage System
Once the check valve is securely connected to the drain pipe, proceed to reassemble the sink’s drainage system. Reconnect the drain pipe to the main sewer line, then to the sink drain, using slip nuts by hand.
After in position, tighten the nuts using a pipe wrench but remember not to over-tighten them. Confirm that all components are correctly assembled and that there are no visible leaks.
Step 08: Test the Check Valve Functionality
After the drainage system has been reassembled, it’s time to test the functionality of the newly installed check valve. Turn the water supply back on by opening the shut-off valve under the sink.
Run water through the sink drain and observe for any leaks. If any issues arise, address them promptly to ensure the check valve is functioning properly. Then, observe the water flow and ensure the check valve prevents water from returning to the sink.
What Can Go Wrong With a Check Valve in the Sink Drain?
After a certain period of use, check valves may become damaged due to wear and tear or debris accumulation. This can lead to water backing up into the sink, so it’s essential to regularly inspect the valve for any signs of damage and replace it if necessary.
One of the primary concerns with a check valve is wear and tear. Like any other mechanical component, check valves have a limited lifespan. As the valve ages, the internal components may become worn, reducing effectiveness.
This could result in a slow or non-functioning check valve, which could cause a disruption to the drainage system and lead to water backup in the sink.
Another common issue with check valves is debris accumulation. A debris buildup, such as food particles, grease, and other waste, can obstruct the valve’s movement or clog the valve’s internal components.
This obstruction may prevent the check valve from fully opening or closing, causing water to flow in the opposite direction and eventually resulting in a backflow.
Corrosion is another potential problem that can affect the check valve’s performance. Exposure to water and other chemicals can contribute to the corrosion of the valve’s material, reducing its structural integrity and leading to leaks or failure.
This corrosion can be particularly problematic in areas with hard water or high mineral content, which can accelerate the process.
Inadequate installation or improper sizing can also lead to check valve issues. If a valve is not the correct size or design for the specific application or is installed incorrectly, it may not function properly. This can result in increased strain on the valve, leading to premature wear and tear or failure of the valve.
To ensure the continued optimal performance of a check valve in the sink drain, it is essential to perform regular inspections and maintenance. This includes checking for signs of damage or wear, removing accumulated debris, and replacing the valve if necessary.
Proper valve selection, sizing, and installation are also key factors in maintaining check valve functionality in any drainage system.
What Is The Alternative To Check Valve In A Sink Drain?
An alternative to the traditional check valve in sink drain systems is the air admittance valve (AAV), commonly known by its commercial name, Studor vent.
This special valve is important for the plumbing in our homes. It helps the sink and drain system work better by letting air flow in, but it also keeps bad-smelling and dangerous gases from coming out of the pipes.
Unlike the check valve, which relies on the force of water flow to open or close, the AAV is a mechanical device containing a sealing membrane that dynamically responds to changes in air pressure within the drain system.
When the pressure within the sink drain system decreases, the AAV opens, allowing air to enter and equalize the system. Conversely, when the pressure rises, the sealing mechanism of the AAV prevents any sewer gases from escaping, thus maintaining a comfortable and healthy living space.
Another alternative worth considering is the backwater valve, specifically designed to prevent the backflow of liquids. This specialized valve ensures that fluids flow only in one direction, effectively combating potential issues arising from old or poorly functioning check valves.
In some cases, replacing a check valve with a backwater valve may significantly improve a sink drain system’s overall efficiency and safety.
Is a Check Valve in Your Sink Drain a Savior or Saboteur?
While a check valve in your sink drain might sound like a great idea to prevent sewer gases and wastewater backflow, weighing the potential risks and drawbacks is crucial.
Improper installation or using a common check valve could lead to clogs, malfunctioning valves, and venting issues in your plumbing system, causing more trouble than it’s worth.
Before you put a check valve in your sink drain, consider the information discussed above, consult with a professional plumber, evaluate the specific needs of your plumbing system, and ensure proper installation.
Remember, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. So, think it through before you jump on the check valve bandwagon.