Backwater valve guards against sewer backup

(NC)—All valves designed to block sewer backup are not created equal.

Even the sort of valve Ontario has specified for use on main sanitary sewer lines calls for periodic inspection and clearing. Eventually, floating devices and seals may have to be replaced..

The Mainline Fullport backwater valve has now been installed in more than 400,000 homes in Canada, and is the most economical choice for meeting modern construction requirements.

Developed in 1997 by Mainline Backflow Products Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, the valve can be installed in existing homes by breaking a hole in the basement floor, near the wall where the sewer line exits the home.

The latest model of the vent comes with a clear cover and is normally enclosed in an access box, with a lid.

A gate inside the value protects against sewer backup. The gate rests open until required, unlike other manufacturers' designs. This allows for sewer gases to pass up the home's central plumbing stack to a vent on the roof.

A rod or plumber's snake will pass through the plastic vent to clear the sewer line without harming components.

For installation, hire a plumber or drain contractor licensed by your city, and obtain a plumbing permit. Be prepared to wait days or even weeks for a municipal or utility inspector to check before the valve and access box are cemented into place.

It is vital to have your home inspected to locate your sewer lateral and other services before work commences. The inspector or plumber should check to be sure that water from the eaves trough around your roof, and from the weeping tile around the foundation, is not flowing into the same sewer as water from your sinks, toilets and laundry.

The price of installing a backwater valve could vary, depending on the home, from less than $1,000 to $3,500, says Tom McDonald, a supervisor with Toronto Water. The cost to install a valve at the time a home is built would only be about $300.

The cost for installation in an old home may be offset by a government grant in some cities. Neighbours who hire the same contractor might also be able to negotiate a group discount.

A less expensive, but also less effective, option would be to cover open floor drains with $15 to $25 backwater valves. But beware: If there were a serious backflow event, water could still flow up through a basement sink or toilet.

To help keep drain pipes free–flowing, avoid pouring fats, oils and grease into your drains. Avoid flushing toilets or doing the laundry during a heavy rainstorm.

Carol Ireland

Carol Ireland

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Millennium Inc., Brokerage*
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