A noisy sump or sewage pump can be frustrating for homeowners and residents. Often, the noise is caused by a check valve that slams closed. Check valves serve a vital purpose by preventing waste being lifted up and out of your basement from flowing back into the sump; however, the operating noise from some valves can be unbearable. You can minimize or eliminate the noise altogether by replacing an old check valve with a newer silent or quiet-type valve. In addition, using rubber couplings to attach the valve to the drain pipe serves to insulate the sound transmissions. Below is how you can do it:
What you will need
- New silent or quiet-type check valve
- Rubber pipe coupling (2 each) – measure the diameter of the check valve inlet and outlet, and that will determine what size coupling you need. In most cases, you will need two-inch couplings.
- Hack saw
- Five-gallon bucket
- Screwdriver or socket drive set
- Adjustable pipe wrench
- Medium grit sandpaper
- Shop towel or rag
1. Turn off the shut-off valve – if your sump pump or sewage pump contains a shut-off ball valve mounted in-line between the check valve and the exit point of the drain line, turn it to its closed position by rotating the handle one-fourth of a turn. You will know it is off when the valve handle lies at a 90 degree angle to the drain pipe. If your drain line doesn't use a shut-off ball valve, skip to the next step.
2. Turn off the sump or sewage pump – either unplug or switch off the sump or sewage pump. Warn other residents in the home of its deactivation and ask them not to use any plumbing in the basement.
3. Remove the old check valve – place an empty five-gallon bucket beneath the check valve, if possible, to collect any wastewater remaining in the line above the valve. Next, depending on how your check valve is attached to the drain line, you will remove it by either cutting the drain pipe two inches from both ends of the valve with a hacksaw or unscrewing it from the threaded fittings.
If the check valve is attached with threaded fittings, attempt to remove them by turning the threaded collars with your hand. Use an adjustable pipe wrench if the fittings refuse to move by hand; while turning the wrench, tightly hold the check valve to prevent torque from breaking the fitting, pipes or valve. Once the collars are loose, continue unscrewing them by hand and slide them out of the way.
Once you have either cut the PVC pipe or removed the threaded fittings, pull the check valve free from its position. Try to avoid making contact with wastewater and allow it drain into the bucket beneath. In addition, remove the PVC collars since you won't be needing them with the new check valve.
4. Prepare the pipe ends – after removing the check valve, you need to prepare the ends of the drain pipe leading to and from the check valve. Use a piece of medium grit sandpaper to remove any burs or edges from the pipe ends, if you cut them in step 2. Wipe the ends of the pipes with a towel or rag to remove any debris.
5. Attach the lower rubber coupling to the drain pipe – slide one rubber coupling down over the exposed drain pipe about half way; tighten the lower hose clamp with your screwdriver or appropriately-sized socket. Be sure it is tightened completely, but don't apply too much force to the clamp screw.
6. Insert the new check valve into the lower coupling – carefully examine the check valve to be sure which way to put the valve. Once you are sure of its direction, slide the lower coupling over the check valve inlet and tighten it firmly with the screwdriver or socket.
7. Attach the upper rubber coupling to the drain pipe – after the check valve is attached to the lower coupling, slide the upper coupling piece on the end of the outgoing drain pipe. Don't tighten it yet, so you will have flexibility to attach the check valve.
8. Insert the check valve into the upper coupling – carefully slide the check valve outlet into the upper coupling. Position the coupling on both the drain pipe and the check valve so it is evenly in-place.
9. Tighten the upper coupling hose clamps – with the screwdriver or socket, tighten both hose clamps on the upper coupling piece. Give your check valve a quick check for strength by gently pulling to one side and observing any wiggle. Retighten any loose clamps until the entire assembly is solidly together.
10. Restore power to the sump or sewage pump and test check valve operation – when testing to see if the new check valve is working, pay particularly close attention for any leaks that might arise. If you need more information on sewer repair, call companies like Drain-O-Rooter.