Series 1521

Stainless Steel Filter Basket Brass Thread

1521 - Stainless Steel Filter Basket Brass Thread

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Foot Valve FAQ

A foot valve is a one way valve that is mounted on the end of a suction line to prevent water from flowing back to its source after it has been pumped out. This means that it is very much a check valve, which by definition is a valve that opens to allow flow in one direction and closes if the flow is reversed.

Foot valves are used widely wherever fluids are stored and pumped, including wells, tanks, reservoirs, cooling towers, drains and sewers.

They are spring-assisted and when the pump is switched on, the pressure in the line changes, the valve responds by opening and the water is sucked up the line in a continuous stream. Conversely, when the pump is switched off, the valve responds by closing. This prevents the water from flowing back to its source and leaving the pump in an un-primed state.

If the valve didn’t close for some reason, the next time the pump was switched on, it would run dry and probably burn out as a result.

The foot valve also has a strainer attached to its open end. This is to keep debris from entering the line and making its way to the pump. It also prevents debris from entering and becoming stuck in the foot valve, which could lead to it jamming in the open position.

There are various sizes of mesh available for foot valve strainers and the size you select will depend on your application and the size of debris present in the water.

As with all valves, there are good models and those of lesser quality and because a foot valve is constantly submerged and difficult to install and access, it’s important to buy a good quality one so that it provides you with years of trouble free service.
A foot valve is a device that prevents water flowing back down the line when a pump is switched off. It is known as a check valve, which is any valve that allows flow in one direction but not in reverse.

Foot valves are mounted on pumping hoses for obvious reasons. If a pump has been lifting water from one level to another, such as from an underground well or from a truck to a hi-rise cooling tower, the last thing you want when the pump is switched off is for all that water to make its way back to its source.

This would not only be a massive waste of energy, but if the pump was then re-started without any water in it (un-primed), it would run dry and probably burn out. So a foot valve serves a valuable purpose and considering how much a large water pump can cost to replace, it’s an insurance policy every operator should have.

Most foot valves also have a strainer on their intake end to screen out any debris that might be in the water. Such debris could damage the pump if it got into it and if it became lodged in the foot valve, it could jam the valve open.

A foot valve works in the following manner:

  • The pump is switched on and creates suction in the line, which pulls on the foot valve causing it to open.

  • The water is pulled through it in an upward direction in a continuous flow.

  • Once enough water has been pumped and the pump is switched off, the upward pull ceases, the valve closes and the entire weight of the water column pushes down on the valve.

  • Because it is a check valve and can only open in an upward not a downward direction, the weight of the water and the springs in the valve keep it tightly shut and completely sealed.

A foot valve is a type of check valve that only allows fluid to pass through it one way. It is used in conjunction with a pump and prevents backflow when the pump is switched off.

Such backflow would not only be counter-productive, but if the pump was restarted without water in it, it could easily burn out and have to be replaced.

Foot valves are used whenever and wherever pumping occurs including:

  • Extracting water from underground wells

  • Filling or draining backyard ponds and swimming pools

  • Filling hi-rise cooling towers with coolant

  • Pumping gas with a pneumatic pump

  • Pumping waste water or emptying septic tanks

  • Operating pneumatic brake lines on a commercial truck.

A foot valve is attached to the intake end of a suction hose at the bottom of the well, tank or pool. When the pump is started, a suction is created that sucks the water up through the line and the foot valve opens because of the upward pressure.

When the pump is turned off, the upward pressure ceases, the valve closes again and the water tries to return down the line to its source. But even with the weight of the water in the pipe pressing down on it, the foot valve is only capable of opening upwards not downwards, so it remains firmly shut and tightly sealed.

Foot valves are a necessary part of all pumping systems and while a good quality valve will cost you a little more, the cost of replacing damaged water pumps is far greater, making the foot valve a worthwhile investment.

PVC foot valves can be used in many applications, as they are lightweight and cost-effective. Or if your pumping job involves high temperatures or pressures, you would probably be better off with a brass or stainless steel foot valve.
Like all valves, a foot valve will eventually fail and will need to be replaced. Luckily though, your valve will give you plenty of warning that its lifespan is about to end. Symptoms of impending failure can include:

  • Vibrations in the line

  • Backflow due to leakage

  • Reluctance or failure to open or close

  • Sticking in one position

  • Noises in the line such as water hammer

If your foot valve is not very old and starts to exhibit any of these symptoms, it may be because it is failing prematurely due to factors such as:

  • Worn elastomers or seat seals

  • Debris or contaminants in the water

  • Excessively high operating temperatures

  • Improper installation

  • Lack of ongoing maintenance

To extend the lifespan of your foot valve and prevent it from failing prematurely, there are preventative maintenance measures you can employ. These include flushing the line periodically to keep it free of debris and contaminants, which can damage the valve and the pump and lubricating the valve upon installation and then at periodic intervals after that.

As well as a strainer, another preventative step you can take to ensure that your foot valve isn’t exposed to debris and contaminants is to make sure the end of the suction line is not resting on the bottom of your well, tank or reservoir. You can do this by placing the line in a concrete building block or by making a frame or cradle for it so that it doesn’t sit on the bottom.

The recipe for ensuring your foot valve doesn’t fail prematurely and provides trouble free service for as long as it is warranted for is to ensure it is:

  • Correctly specified when first purchased

  • Correctly installed according to the manufacturers’ instructions

  • Correctly maintained during its lifespan, and

  • Replaced in a timely manner as soon as any of the warning signs become apparent.