Backwater valves are important to ensure that in case of a plumbing blockage, the sewage water does not go back into the house. As soon as a blockage is detected, the backwater valve gets to work, shutting down the main line and stopping any dirty water from returning to the toilets. However, most of the time, these valves are prone to failure especially if the obstruction is very large. It is therefore recommended that backwater valve maintenance should be done on regular bases to make sure that there are minimal chances of failure of the valve.
Backwater valves maintenance is comparatively very easy, however, regular checks and balances is needed especially if the valve and plumbing system is not very old.
Backwater Valves Maintenance – Visual Inspection:
For successful backwater valves maintenance, the first thing to do is visual inspection of the entire valve area to see if there is any debris stuck there. For this purpose, you will need to remove the cleanout plug from the top of the valve. Then using a flashlight, inspect the area above and under the valve gate carefully. Most of the time, the malfunctioning of the valve is the result of things stuck around the gate hindering its free moment. Wear a pair of rubber gloves and clean the area thoroughly; in some cases, a fast jet of water can help you in cleaning the gate area of the valve. Once the gate is thoroughly cleaned, move the gate back and forth to see if it is moving without a problem; oil it a little if you observe any rust etc. around the screws.
Apart from this, have a look at the O-ring of the backwater valve. If the O-ring is not in a good condition, the best thing would be to replace it completely rather than trying to fix it. With the new O-ring installed, the valve will seal automatically and the backwater valve will start working again.
Backwater Valves – Damaged Gates:
It is essential that while working on backwater valve maintenance you should keep a look out for potential damages to the gate. Once again, use a flashlight to see if the gate has been scratched or damaged because of a sharp object. If so, remove the bolt cover and go through a process of deep cleaning of the valve. Oil the valve once you are done and replace the bolt cover back on; your backwater valves maintenance process is complete.
In some modern valves, the fitting is done with the help of closed polyethylene float cells; damaged or worn out cells can also result in a failure of the backwater valve. So make sure that you check the float cells every few weeks so that they can be replaced in due time.
Backwater valves maintenance is least costly and can be done by any one at the basic level. Regular maintenance can help you in saving large sum of money in the long run, therefore make sure that you keep a check on your plumbing system to ensure its efficient working.