Why are in-line check valves so expensive?
June 8, 2017
By: Bruce Ellis and Stephanie Jouppien
As Canada’s national DFT Check Valve channel partner, we speak with many different people across many different industries in need of an in-line check valve. Once we’ve priced out a valve that fits someone’s needs with custom sizing, trim and exotic metals, it’s common for a new user to baulk at the price tag. We’re used to hearing the question, “Why are check valves so expensive?”. That is why we feel the time has come to address one of the biggest factors in a customer’s buying decision: cost. Cost is a factor that tends to make a rookie salesperson uncomfortable, and I won’t lie, check valves aren’t all inexpensive. My intention is not to have you buy the most expensive valve on our shelf today. It is to have you look past the initial, upfront costs, and instead consider your needs combined with the lifespan you would like to get out of your valve.
In any given application, valves can cost four or five times as much as a competitive product, but here are 4 things that must be considered when weighing Cost vs. Benefits:
What is your media?
Are you dealing with a fluid that is highly acidic or caustic? If so, the trim in these applications may need to be of a higher-grade alloy than the standard offerings of 304 or 316 SS (stainless steel) for chemical resistance purposes. If required, most check valve manufacturers can offer you trim and casing choices ranging from alloy 20 to titanium. However, dependent on which alloy is needed, some prices will be inherently more expensive.
Does your pump have a high cycle rate?
This is where a simplistic valve design and custom sizing become important. With fewer moving parts than swing checks and double door designs, there is less chance of parts breaking off the valve and potentially damaging other components in the system. Proper check valve sizing is essential to ensuring they function correctly and do not prematurely wear out internal components. Building a design around your flow and pressure needs, is the key to having a worry-free valve in service.
Do you have water hammer problems?
The DFT valve design virtually eliminates this costly and damaging issue. Again, this can be handled by custom sizing your valve for the application, not the line size. Unlike a swing check, DFT silent check valves do not rely on gravity or fluid flow to close. Instead, the disc closes by the spring assist, just a short distance from where the disc must close to prevent backflow and water hammer on both sides of the valve.
What is the cost of downtime?
Ask any Production Manager this question and they cringe. Imagine stopping production in a plant of 200 employees that make $20/hour CAD for an entire 8 hour work day. That’s $32,000 CAD in lost revenue for just a single day. Or imagine stopping production in a Northern mine where underground and service miners typically start at $21.50 CAD and are onsite 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 2 weeks at a time. An inferior check valve installed for de-watering in this instance could fail and lead to high revenue loss from labour and downtime.
All things considered, is it really expensive to use a top-quality product? Especially one that could be in service 70+ years from now? The answer is a resounding NO. It makes sense to use a check valve that is made to or above industry standards. It is also good to note that all DFT in-line check valves are made in the USA and were designed to give years of trouble-free service.
Problem: A chemical facility in the USA, was experiencing extreme water hammer and pressure spikes with their cycling double door check installed in a cooling tower loop pump discharge application. This caused damage to the check valves and components around them. The 10” double door valves being used at the time, had to be replaced every 6 months due to cycling.
Solution: Three – 10”, 150/300# ALC Check Valves replaced the worn double door check valves eliminating the water hammer and the valves have performed well since installation.
Installed Since: 2012
Problem: A food processor in the Midwest was requesting assistance in their wash down stations that must be sanitized using very hot water at 74°C (165°F) or higher.
Solution: The DFT® model SCV® Check Valve was used to meet safety needs and criteria.
In Service Since: The 1950’s & 60’s.
Problem: A petrochemical plant was experiencing swing check valve failures. The plant was part of an OEM turbo-expander that originally installed swing check valves. These original valves had failed quickly due to low flow and excessive cycling/pounding.
Solution: The DFT® model GLC® Check Valves were custom-sized for this application to minimize excessive cycling and chattering problems that were seen with the previously installed swing-type check valves.
Installed Since: 1999