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Backwater Valves

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Backwater Valves in Kansas City, MO, and the Surrounding Areas

What is a Backwater Valve?

A backwater valve is a plumbing device put in place to prevent raw sewage from backing up into a Kansas City, Missouri home. Most properties by default prevent sewage backups due to their piping design or location in relation to grade. For homes with certain plumbing system limitations, or those structures located below the elevation of city sewer manholes, a backwater valve is a must. If the public sewer system gets backed up, these devices will prevent sewage from entering the dwelling through floor drains and fixtures. Above is a diagram of a backwater valve installed on the exterior of a home, which is an ideal installation location for servicing. These can also be installed on the interior of a home, such as a basement, where landscaping or structures prohibit. If you are looking for assistance with your backwater valve, contact your team of local professionals at Inception Plumbing today. We serve the following locations and nearby areas:

How Does A Backwater Valve Work?

These devices are very similar to a one-way street. Traffic can and should only flow in one direction much like your sewer. Sewage is only supposed to go one way and that way is OUT! A backwater valve has what is called a gate built into the device. As seen below, under normal conditions, the backwater valve’s gate opens and allows sewage to leave the home unchecked.

Sometimes backup occurs within a city wastewater system due to a blockage or excessive rainfall which is possible in the greater Kansas City area. If this occurs and sewage begins to flow back towards the dwelling, the valve is automatically activated to stop sewage from flooding the home, as shown below. Unfortunately, when the gate is closed, the residents of the home are unable to use toilets, sinks or other fixtures within the building, but once the blockage is cleared and the valve reopens all plumbing fixtures can be used again. The backwater valve has saved the home from damage and done its job.

Do I Need A Backwater Valve On My Home?

This question can be answered on two criteria. Is the home in a high-risk flood area? Or, does the home reside below the flood rim of any nearby city sewer manholes? If you have answered yes to one or both of those questions, you more than likely already have a backwater valve that is in need of maintenance by our plumber in Kansas City, MO.

Home 1
This home is highly susceptible to flooding in their basement, and with enough head pressure from upstream sewage, it could also flood the main floor as well. This home would require a backwater valve on its complete drain system.

Home 2
Examining the second home, you can see that it has the potential to flood as well, but only the basement is at risk. So the backwater valve is required only on that sewer branch.

Home 3
You can see that the last home has an ideal location. Even more beneficial, setting on a slab versus having a basement, this dwelling has zero risks of being flooded from a city sewage source and will not require a backwater valve.

I Have A Backwater Valve, But It’s Not Working Correctly. What Do I Do?

If you already have a backwater valve in place but are still getting sewage backups, you’ll more than likely need to have some maintenance done on your device. A telltale symptom would be wastewater coming out of your drains when not using any fixtures within the home. These sewer backups will typically happen in a basement area and sometimes accompanied by a rainstorm. Excessive rainwater can actually flood your city sewer, which can force sewage back into your home. Unfortunately, backwater valves are prone to failure since they rely solely on gravity to perform and with an endless supply of flowing waste, they can get bound up. It is therefore recommended that you should always have routine maintenance performed.

Visual Backwater Valve Inspection

There are many different types of backwater valves on the market but these all serve the same purpose and function for Kansas City homes. These valves, if installed correctly, will all have a means of accessibility. Some valves will be in a pit with a lid containing them, some with a window for viewing and some have a clean-out plug with a removable tube. To perform a successful backwater valve maintenance procedure, the first thing to do is a visual inspection of the entire valve area by removing any covers to see if there is debris stuck within. Then using a flashlight, inspect the area above and under the valve gate carefully for damage.

Debris Stuck in Backwater Valve

As seen above, most malfunctioning valves are a direct result of waste or debris getting stuck around the gate itself, freezing its movement. By wearing a pair of rubber gloves you can physically remove debris from the area. In some cases, a fast jet of water can help you in cleaning the stuck gate as well.

Broken Backwater Valve Gate

If it’s not debris causing the malfunction, your gate will need to be replaced because it’s either stuck or broken. The gate or flapper can typically be replaced and ordered through a local plumbing supply house. If this is the case, it is highly recommended that you call Inception to get you taken care of.

Your Leading Kansas City Backwater Valve Experts!

At Inception Plumbing, we want our customers to feel supported when they are experiencing a plumbing problem which is why we offer a variety of plumbing services Kansas City, MO, and surrounding areas to your backwater valve issues. Our team serves Kansas City and the surrounding areas with lasting repair and installation services you can count on at competitive rates. Give us a call today at (816) 203-3613 (816) 203-1374 or fill out the contact form to schedule your appointment.

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At Inception Plumbing, we are eager to work with you in order to solve your plumbing problems, assist you with plumbing maintenance, or install new plumbing features to your Kansas City, MO property. Schedule an appointment with our team by calling us at (816) 203-3613 (816) 203-1374 or via email at You may also use the online contact form to reach out to us.