Find out how this material choice can help municipalities prepare for extreme weather and other harsh conditions.
According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), tropical storms have become more frequent in North America since around 2000.
The frequency and intensity vary from one basin to another. In the North Atlantic basin, the long-term (1966-2009) average number of tropical storms was about 11 per year, of which about six developed into hurricanes. More recently (2000-2014), the average is more than 15 tropical storms per year, including about seven hurricanes. This increase in frequency is correlated with rising North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, which may be partly related to global warming. Hurricanes and climate change
Natural disasters remind us of the unpredictability we all face daily, but on a larger scale. Weather phenomena, in particular, can cause large amounts of damage with little warning and in extremely short periods of time. But their reach doesn’t end when the storm passes. Much property damage and even health and safety threats continue in the hours, days and weeks following natural disasters. This is true whether it is a hurricane, tornado, flood, or the recent winter weather event that hit Texas earlier this year.
The best way to minimize this damage is to prepare ahead of time. For most individuals and municipalities, it’s not a matter of if-but when-systems will be tested by a storm.
Everyone has a responsibility to prepare for these storms. For municipalities, power generators and other local governments, this means that infrastructure creation is up to date and designed to handle extreme conditions. A failure of storm water or sewage systems during a hurricane can make a bad problem worse.
The dangers of refoulement
Backflow is a condition in which fluid in a system backs up, flowing back to the source. Of course, backflow means the system isn’t working as expected. It’s never a word that operators want to hear.
But backflow is more dangerous in applications that involve harsh chemicals, sewage, or other hazardous fluids. Having these fluids move in a way the system was not designed for can cause all sorts of problems.
The importance of control valves
The check valve is a crucial part of the system to prevent backflow. Check valves help a system maintain unidirectional flow. They open based on the pressure of fluid flowing through the system, then close to prevent fluid from flowing back to the system inlet.
Check valves are often overlooked because some system designers believe that these non-mechanical, entirely passive devices are simple, and when the best check valve is installed in a particular application or system, their reliable operation can make them seem simple. These long-lasting devices, requiring very little or no maintenance, do their job quietly. Once installed, they can fade into the background and help keep a system running for years.
But an incorrectly selected check valve can be a major headache. Improper design for the application can cause the valve to stick open. A material that does not work well with the system fluid can lead to rust or corrosion, requiring frequent maintenance or replacement. And some selection errors can even lead to loud and dangerous water hammer, endangering other system components.
Advantages of Rubber Check Valve
The choice of materials of construction is an important part of the check valve selection process. Opting for a rubber or elastomeric material can offer major advantages for modern applications.
Using rubber check valves helps avoid a variety of common problems with check valves of the past. Metal check valves appear to be durable and long-lasting, and they often are. But depending on the fluid, metallic materials can also have many vulnerabilities.
Additionally, metal check valves often struggle to handle sludge containing large amounts of solids. Of course, solids handling capability is critical in wastewater applications.
In this situation, rubber check valves offer an excellent solution.
The advanced elastomers that make up Proco’s rubber check valves are specifically designed to perform in these applications. They allow users to design a system to prevent backflow without the maintenance headaches of other check valves.
Rubber check valves can withstand harsh, erosive fluids without rusting or deteriorating. For example, the elastomers used in the 700 Series ProFlex™ rubber check valves from Proco Products, Inc., are designed for these applications.
Special Circumstances for Rubber Check Valves
Operators can consult with a Proco Products, Inc. expert on how to choose the correct check valve for their system. These valves are designed to last a long time and require no maintenance, automation or manual assistance to operate. They are often installed in hard-to-reach places, underwater where only divers can access them, for example. In these situations, it is important to put the right valve in place from the start.
If the valve is to be installed in a submerged condition, it is essential to choose a check valve designed for this situation. Rubber is often an excellent choice for these conditions because it resists many types of wear. The valve can remain installed and operate continuously without the need for expensive and inconvenient maintenance or support.
In any system, maintenance is a major consideration for every component. When a user chooses an elastomeric check valve, maintenance may be omitted from the checklist. There is nothing to lubricate and no regular or preventative maintenance is required. The valves operate continuously without intervention.
Another condition that could indicate a rubber check valve would be a system handling very high or low temperature fluids. The specialized elastomers used in Proco check valves can handle fluids from -65 F to 400 F. This low maintenance component provides peace of mind when users are designing or operating a system for thermal application difficult.
When reliability is the goal, check valves are excellent tools for system designers and operators. Keeping fluid moving in the right direction, even when a water management system is outside of ideal conditions, can prevent some of the most dangerous effects of major storms. Rubber check valves, when selected and installed correctly, make an important contribution to system reliability, even when extreme weather conditions put systems to the test.
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