It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare: coming home or going downstairs to find your basement flooded with smelly sewer water. Imagine your home not only getting flooded, but ending up reeking of waste water. Everything the water touched would be ruined from the double-whammy of water damage plus the smell.
Luckily, you can save yourself from the cost and hassle of cleanup by installing a sewer backflow preventer. Also known as a backwater valve, a sewer backflow preventer will keep that sewer water where it belongs: in the pipes and out of your home.
What Does a Backwater Valve Do?
There are many reasons why sewer water could back up into your home. A blockage in the city’s sewer lines could cause the water levels to rise into your home, or the pipes might not be able to handle the runoff after a big storm. As the pipes fill up with water with nowhere else to go, the laws of physics mean that your home will be a logical outlet unless you’ve got a way to stop it.
A sewer backflow preventer keeps sewer water out even when the pressure in the pipes build up. Backwater valves are designed to close when you need them to, preventing any water from getting into your home’s sewer lines, overwhelming the pipes, and flooding your home.
Types of Backwater Valves
There are several different types of backwater valves that will protect your home from sewer backflow, so be sure to discuss your options with your plumber to make sure you make the best choice for your situation.
Regardless of which type of sewer backflow preventer you get, all of these valves do the same job, which is to block off your home’s sewer lines and prevent the city’s sewage from backing up into them. This also means that once the sewer starts to flood and the sewer backflow preventer kicks in, you’ll need to conserve water inside your home. Every time you run the water or flush the toilet, your home’s sewer lines are going to fill up a little more, and until the threat of flooding has passed, that water has nowhere to go.
Here are a few of the backwater valves available, and what you need to know about each.
- Sewer Check Valve: A sewer check valve is a simple device with a swinging flap that is designed to close when the water pressure builds in the city’s sewage pipes, preventing them from backing up into your home’s pipes. The design is simple and the valve is fairly inexpensive, making it a top choice for a lot of builders and homeowners. However, it doesn’t provide a perfect seal and may let a little backflow through. You’ll have to be extra careful about using water while it’s closed, not only because your waste water will have nowhere to go but also because any of the city’s waste water that gets by the valve will add to what’s already in your pipes.
- Manual Sewer Gate Valve: If you want the security of having the city’s waste water entirely blocked from entering your home, you can get a manual sewer gate valve. When maintained properly, one of these valves will provide complete protection for your home, but you’ll need to manually close it as soon as you notice the pipes backing up, and open it once they’re clear again.
- Automatic Flood Gate Valve: The best option is a combination of the two, a valve that provides complete security but closes automatically when the pressure in the sewage lines builds. An automatically flood gate valve will completely block off your sewage lines, just like the manual gate valve, but it will happen automatically as the sewer lines back up, just as the sewer check valve does.
Protect Your Home with One Phone Call
To fully protect your home, it’s important that any sewer backflow preventer be installed professionally. Even more importantly, a conversation with your plumber can help you decide on best option for your home and your budget. To discuss your options or schedule with one of our technicians, call Maeser today.