Can check valves be installed vertically?
Check valves directs/regulates the flow strictly in one direction only i.e. never in opposite direction even during pressure drop. The valve stops/check the flow in reverse direction.
Can check valves be installed vertically?It depends on the application and type of check valve, some you can, in fact most you can, but in some applications it is better not to.
In my practice, there are two principle kinds of check valves. The most traditional and common is the flap or disc type. This has a top-hinged disc, often called a “clapper” which, by gravity and by reverse flow, seats back on, well, a seat. Keeps flow moving in one direction only, as you know.
The other is a vertical-lift or “silent-lift” check. These are somewhat newer than the flap/disc type and consists of a tapered conical plug which is often but not always spring-loaded. The plug motion is vertical and these valves are available in horizontal body and vertical body types. The vertical body lift check valves are compact and work well on the discharges of clean water piping systems for example.
Typically the best configuration for a flap-type check valve is horizontally, that is a good default. The vertical pattern check valves definitely can be.
One place I can think of where a check valve should not be installed vertically is in a steam system where the flow is vertical, such as the outlet of a flash tank carrying recovered flash steam to a lower-pressure line.
The reason to keep such valves horizontal is that in the vertical, steam is present on the downstream side and will fill with condensate (water) over time. This can cause hammering and chattering when the steam pressure builds, and there is a ready mass of water to be launched against the next fitting or valve.
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