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The Importance of Check Valves in Your Sprinkler System 💧🔄

Check valves are a critical component of any irrigation system, playing a crucial role in keeping water contained within the piping. Their absence can lead to various issues, including water waste, system inefficiency, and even damage. In this post, we'll explore why check valves are essential and how they can help you maintain a more efficient and effective sprinkler system.

1. Water Containment: Check valves prevent water from flowing backward in the system, ensuring that once a zone or cycle is complete, the water remains in the piping. This is particularly important in sloped landscapes or areas with uneven terrain, where water can easily drain out of the system and cause wastage.

2. Preventing Low Head Drainage: Low head drainage occurs when water drains out of the lowest sprinkler head in a zone after the system shuts off. This can lead to significant water waste, especially in systems that cycle and soak multiple times. For example, a 5-zone system cycling and soaking 3 times per cycle could waste up to 200 gallons of water every time it runs.

Low-Head Drainage


3. Avoiding Water Hammer Effect: When air gets into the piping and is subsequently activated by the water flow, it can create a water hammer effect. This effect is exponentially magnified because air is compressible, unlike water. The pressure from the water trying to push through the air pockets can reach over 400 PSI, while water pressure typically remains around 50 PSI. This can lead to damage to the system over time.

water hammer

4. Longevity of Your System: Without check valves, the piping is often left filled with air, which can accelerate the aging process of your sprinkler system. The constant pressure changes and potential water hammer effect can cause stress on the pipes and fittings, leading to leaks, breaks, and overall system inefficiency.

Checking for Check Valves: To determine if your system has check valves, run your system and then locate the lowest head on each zone. Turn the system off and observe if water drains out of that head. If water continues to drain, your system may lack check valves.

In conclusion, check valves are a crucial component of any sprinkler system, helping to prevent water waste, system damage, and inefficiency. By ensuring that your system is equipped with check valves and properly maintained, you can enjoy a more efficient, effective, and long-lasting irrigation system.

Contact us today and learn more about our irrigation services.