Backwater Valve Overview

Today’s homeowners are extending their living space by utilizing the basement area. Whether you use the lower level of your home as a game room, office, exercise area or workshop, you’ll want to be sure the area stays moisture free. While you may not have spent a lot of time wondering about backwater valves, installing one of these fixtures can be a key component to making sure your basement remains dry. This is definitely a labor-intensive job and may require some professional expertise, but this guide will help you understand why you need one.

Backwater Valve Defined

Also known as a back-flow prev-enter, a backwater valve prevents storm water or sewage from backing up in drains or plumbing fixtures. It is installed under your basement floor and attached to the main lateral drain line. Any time a reverse flow of waste water occurs, a gate flap closes to prevent it from backing up.

Typical Appearance

You may have seen a backwater valve in the plumbing supply section of your local specialty store. They are usually made of 4″ ABS plastic pipe with openings on both ends. These openings allow for the inlet and outlet of waste water. A closed-cell polyethylene gate with flotation devices on either side is resistant to sewage and won’t become water logged. The top is usually made of clear plastic so a visual inspection can be made periodically to check its operation.

Backwater Valve  Medina Modern Process Plumbing


Why You Need One

As the last line of defense for allowing sewage from entering your home, a backwater valve is vital for your safety and protection. Home drainage systems vary, so you’ll need to discuss any plans for changing your current configuration with a waterproofing expert. Installation of a backwater valve requires breaking through the basement floor and excavating to the sewer lateral. All your plumbing fixtures – sinks, bathtubs, showers and toilets – drain through this pipe to the sewer. The back-flow prev-enter is installed in a lateral cut-out area and fastened at both ends. Your weeping tile will need to be disconnected from the sanitary sewer and re-directed to a sump pump. The concrete floor is then replaced with the valve top remaining accessible.
If water ever starts to back up through the lateral, the valve is designed to close. Two flotation devices on the sides of the flap gate will seal the pipe opening and prevent sewer water from re-entering your home. Once the pressure returns to normal, the gate will return to its original open position and allow water to flow out again.

Backwater Valve How It Works Modern Process Plumbing

The clear top and clean out on the valve allow for regular inspections and maintenance. These mechanical devices are exposed to sewage and are subject to wear or clogging. The clean out plug on top of the valve should be removed and inspected. Take a flashlight to look inside the valve body. You’ll be inspecting for debris build-up inside the pipe, the gate area and underneath the gate. Clean out any debris build-up by flushing it with water. You should make sure the O-ring on the gate is sealing tightly and replace if needed. Next, make sure the gate moves freely to open and close. Check the condition of the floats to be sure they are not deteriorating. Secure the clean out plug tightly to prevent sewer gases from escaping into the basement area.
You may not be aware that your gutter downspouts may be connected to your sewer lateral. During heavy rainstorms, excess water can back up into your home. Disconnecting the downspouts and extending them away from the foundation will relieve this situation.
The risk of a basement flood and sewer back-up can be significantly reduced by installing a backwater valve.
Keeping your home and family protected from basement flooding and health hazards associated with it should be a top priority. Modern Process Plumbing can help prevent future problems with the installation of a backwater valve.
Call 330-242-6564 today or Request A Free Estimate.

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