What is a dual check valve?
A dual check valve is a special type of check valve which is used to prevent reverse flow of fluid. This type of valve consists of two automatic, spring-loaded check valves that work together to prevent reverse fluid flow and thus prevent fluid contamination and damage to piping equipment like pumps. The dual check valve is suitable for use against back pressure and back siphonage. In water supply applications, dual check valve manufacturers aim to separate fresh water from non-health hazards. These valves have been used in applications such as fire protection, household water supply, medical, chemical and irrigation systems. The use of two automatic check valves instead of using one is very safe because one valve will work even when the other valve has been stuck open. Dual check valve manufacturer recommend checking and testing these valves regularly to ensure that they are functioning properly to help for example, save human lives from health hazards. A dual check valve is similar to another check valve known as a double check valve which has two independent check valves for preventing reverse fluid flow. However, a double check valve has shut-off valves and test cocks or ports while a dual check valve does not have such.
Figure: Dual check valve.
How does a dual check valve work?
A dual check valve works based on the principle of pressure difference. The pressure energy of the flowing energy is used to open the valve thus allowing forward fluid flow. As such, a dual check valve opens when the inlet pressure is more than the outlet pressure. When the outlet pressure becomes more than the inlet pressure the fluid attempts to flow backward which is the reverse direction of flow. Fluid reversing may cause contamination of other fluids. To prevent the reverse fluid flow, dual check valve manufacturers design this valve to be sensitive to pressure changes so that in the instance the fluid attempts to flow back the valve disc or ball closes. These valves are arranged in series to ensure that if one valve is stuck open the other valve will prevent backward fluid flow. Also, having the two valves functional enhances efficiency and thus ensures there is zero contamination of the fluid or mixing of fluid.
Figure: Working of a dual check valve.
Types of dual check valves
Wafer dual check valve
This is a dual plate check valve which is made of wafer type disk that is installed on the hinge and spring. This type of dual check valve works on the same principle of pressure difference. When the upstream pressure is more than the downstream pressure the valve disc opens to allow fluid flow. Immediately the suction pressure drops fluid attempts to reverse flow direction and thus the spring forces the disk to shut the valve. Both check valves have a disc that opens to around 90o when the valve is fully opened to allow fluid flow. This design of the dual check valve is good due to its high operating speed, small size, and lightweight.
Figure: Wafer dual check valve.
Sanitary dual check valve
This is a special dual check valve that is meant for use in applications that need sterile or clean processing. This type of valve is made of materials and design that enhance hygiene such as ease of cleaning and which are not harmful to human consumption. Dual check valve manufacturers design these valves for use in applications such as foods, dairy, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and medical applications. Good defining features of these dual check valves are easy cleaning, polished contact surfaces, and crevice-free. Most dual check valve manufacturers produce the valve such that the component of the valve that comes in contact with the fluid or medium is made of 316 or 304SS stainless steel. This material is resistant to corrosion and is also non-toxic which is a critical property when making sanitary valves.
Forged dual check valve
This is a dual check valve that is made through the forging method. This method of manufacturing valves involves using thermal energy to heat the material used to make the valve which makes it easier to shape. The hot material is then processed using mechanical devices to shape it to the required final product. Forged dual check valves are known to be very strong and tough for use in high pressure and high-temperature applications such as pharmaceuticals, water supply, and agriculture among others. However, forged dual check valves are expensive to produce compared to the casted types. Also, not all materials can be forged to make valves so there are limited forged dual check valves.
Casted dual check valve
This is a dual check valve that is made through the casting method. The casting method involves heating the material used to make the valve to high temperatures until it is in molten form. The molten material is then poured into a mold and given time to cool and solidify. The valve is then tested through non-destructive tests to ensure that it does not have defects that may cause leakage while the valve is in use. Through the casting method, it is possible to produce dual check valves of different and complex shapes, sizes, and patterns. Also, dual check valve manufacturers use this method because it is cheaper to make valves compared to making valves using the forging method. The casting process involves less labor relative to the forging method thus casted dual check valves are cheaper.
Plastic dual check valves
This is a dual check valve that is made of plastic material. Dual check valve manufacturers design these valves for use in low-temperature and low-pressure applications. These valves should not be used for temperatures above 60 oC. This is because the materials used to make these valves are very weak above this temperature and thus they can get damaged if used above such temperatures. Some of the materials used to make these valves include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC). These materials are excellent in corrosion resistance. Plastic dual check valves have long services because of the long life span of the plastic materials. It is easy to manufacture a plastic dual check valve as it needs less energy relative to metallic valves which makes its cost cheaper relative to metallic ones. However, they have weak thermal strength.
Figure: Plastic dual check valve.
Factors to consider when selecting a dual check valve
Type of media
Before purchasing a dual check valve it is important to know the properties of the media the valve will work on. Some of the dual check valves are meant for use in clean water applications while others are meant for use in slurry media. Other dual check valve manufacturers produce these valves for use in applications that are corrosive such as the transfer of acids. So the properties of the fluid must be well defined to help purchase the best valve which will last longer and which will not cause unnecessary costs through repair and maintenance.
Pressure and temperature levels
Pressure and temperature are very important factors to consider when purchasing a dual check valve. Dual check valve manufacturers design these valves for use in different temperatures and pressure levels. For example, valves made of plastic materials are meant for use in low-temperature applications and if used at a temperature above 60 oC they get damaged since they cannot withstand such levels of thermal energy. Also, plastic dual check valves cannot withstand high temperatures relative to metallic ones. In addition, metallic dual check valves are designed for specific temperatures and pressure. As such, it is very important to note the operating pressure and temperature where the dual check valve will be used.
Applications of dual check valves
- Dual check valves are used in the freshwater supply.
- They are used in wastewater treatment plants.
- Dual check valves are used in irrigation systems.
- These valves are used in the foods and beverages industries.
- They are used in medical industries.
- Dual check valves are used in chemical manufacturing industries.
- They are used in fire protection systems.
Advantages of dual check valves
- Dual check valves are small in size.
- They are light in weight relative to other valves.
- These valves do not allow reverse fluid flow.
- Dual check valves maintain pressure levels.
- These valves have a low-pressure loss.
- Dual check valves are durable provided they are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Dual check valves can be used in different industrial applications.
- Dual check valves are automatic so there is no need for actuators or valve operators which may raise the cost of operating the valve.
- Dual check valves are free from fluid leakage.
Disadvantages of dual check valves
- Dual check valves allow fluid flow in one direction only.
- These valves can cause a lot of damage if not well maintained.
- These valves are expensive relative to single check valves.
- Dual check valves cannot be inspected while in operation.
Troubleshooting dual check valves
- Loose connection between the pipe and dual check valve. Tighten the connection between the valve and the pipe.
- O-rings are worn out. Replace the O-rings.
Dual check valve leaking when fully closed
- O-rings are worn out. Replace the O-rings.
- There are solid particles in the valve. Remove the solid particles.
- The valve seat is damaged. Replace the valve seat or the dual check valve.
The dual check valve is not working
- The valve was not installed correctly. Uninstall the valve and install it following the dual check valve manufacturer’s instructions.
- There is low upstream pressure. Check the suction pressure is high enough to allow fluid flow through the dual check valve.
A dual check valve is a type of valve that is used to prevent reverse fluid flow. A dual check valve consists of two check valves that are arranged in series. These two check valves work together automatically to prevent backflow and siphonage. Having two check valves enhances efficiency in restricting reverse fluid flow. This type of valve is better relative to other types of check valves because in case one check valve is stuck open, the other valve will work to ensure no fluid reverses direction of flow. Dual check valve manufacturers also design these valves to prevent fluid contamination as well as damage to other piping elements such as pumps. There are various types of dual check valves which include casted dual check valves, forged dual check valves, wafer dual check valves, sanitary dual check valves, and plastic dual check valves. Some of the factors to consider when selecting a dual check valve are the type of media, pressure, and temperature rating. The applications of dual check valves include freshwater supply, wastewater treatment, medical applications, foods and beverages, and pharmaceutical and chemicals applications among others. Advantages of using a dual check valve are durable, versatile, and small in size, light in weight, ability to maintain pressure, low-pressure drop, no reverse fluid flow, zero leakage, and automatic operation.