7 steps to keep your backwater valve in order

December 11, 2018 Brendan Ellingham

Your home is protected by a backwater valve, either because you had a great builder, or you’re a smart owner. Off to a great start, right?

Maybe not. What a lot of homeowners don’t know (especially first-timers) is that without proper maintenance, your backwater valve may be completely useless.

Yeah, not pretty. But if you follow these steps just once a year (twice a year for older and high use properties), you can ensure your valve is doing its job, and avoid the devastating aftermath of a basement sewer back-up.

What you’ll need:


Disposable rubber gloves

Long handle toilet brush

1.     With gloves on, remove the cap of your backwater valve. Carefully check the cap’s O-ring for signs of damage, and replace if necessary.

2.     Inspect the valve’s interior with the help of your flashlight. You can remove any large blockages (like wads of paper) by gloved hand.

3.     Your backwater valve flapper must be able to open and shut with ease, and be free of all impairments. Remove the flapper and carefully check the edges, top and bottom of your gate and remove any and all build-up. Replace the flapper carefully, ensuring that it swings freely once it is seated back into the hinge.

4.     Check the gate’s O-ring for signs of damage and replace if necessary.

5.     Use your toilet brush to scrub the interior of the valve. For bad build ups, apply bleach sparingly to your brush. Alternatively, flushing your valve with a ½ cup of baking soda, followed by a ½ cup of white vinegar and a kettle full of warm (not hot) water can free up tough debris and is more environmentally friendly (just be mindful of the chemical reaction in such an enclosed space).

6.     With the interior squeaky clean and your flapper opening and closing with ease, re-apply the cap tightly but be careful not to cross thread.

7.     Rest easy because your home is safe from one of the costliest disasters a basement can face.

See Canplas’ range of backwater valves, and how they can help protect your home

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