If you do not have a backwater valve in your home – read more about subsidy programs that will help finance the purchase and installation of a backwater valve.
(See municipality subsidies)
Maintenance of Backwater Valves
The maintenance of a backwater valve is crucial. It will protect your home from a sewer backup but will also ensure that your insurance policy remains valid.
Often, homeowners feel that having an insurance policy is sufficient protection. However, in the event of a sewer backup, the insurance assessor will check the condition of your backwater valve, and if it is found to be clogged up with debris and does not work properly due to a lack of cleaning and maintenance, this may in fact void your claim totally. In fact, most valves will come with recommended maintenance instructions from the manufacturer. So, ignoring that maintenance instruction places you at the same risk as not having a backwater valve at all.
How and Why Backwater Valves Can Fail
Failures of Backwater Valves are not due to manufacturer defects, they are usually a result of either improper maintenance or neglect by the homeowner. Here are a few examples:
- Debris build-up in the valve causing lift gate to stick
- Damage to valve itself caused during installation
- Improper Installation or Grading of the Valve
- Damaged by a plumber not knowing the valve is there
According to the manager of a municipal backwater valve subsidy program in one large Canadian city, the staffer was called to the home of a woman who reported that although she had a backwater valve in place, her home still experienced sewer backup during a heavy rainfall event. Upon inspection of the valve, the gate was found to be stuck in the open position as the result of years of pouring cooking fat down the kitchen sink. The coagulated grease built up in the valve, preventing the gate from properly opening and closing. The story illustrates the importance of conducting regular inspections and maintenance of backwater valves – and of not disposing fats, oil and grease, fecal matter, chemicals, kitty litter, disposable wipes, etc…down drains