We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Backwater Valve?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A backwater valve is a plumbing component used to prevent sewage from backing up into a home or business. Many properties naturally prevent sewage backups due to their plumbing design or location. For homes with plumbing system limitations, or those located below the elevation of manholes on nearby streets, a backwater valve can offer tremendous benefits. If the public sewer system becomes backed up, these valves prevent sewage waste from entering the home through drains and plumbing fixtures. While backwater valves are optional in many locations, some building codes may require these valves for all new construction.

Under normal conditions, the backwater valve allows sewage and waste to leave the home unchecked. If a backup occurs and sewage begins to flow back towards the home, the valve is automatically activated to stop sewage from entering the home. When the valve is closed, occupants of the home are unable to use toilets, sinks or other fixtures within the building. Once the blockage clears and the valve reopens, plumbing fixtures can once again be used as needed.

Buyers can choose from three basic backwater valve designs, depending on budget and local codes. A check valve is the most economical, and consists of a simple ball or flap that closes automatically when sewage attempts to re-enter the home. These valves tend to require the most maintenance, and are the most prone to failure. Gate valves are more reliable, but are more expensive than basic check valves. They also require some manual intervention to close off and reopen the sewer lines after a blockage.

Combination backwater valves are the most expensive, but also the least likely to malfunction. They feature an air-filled chamber and gate that senses a backup and shuts off the line automatically. These valves also reopen the line once the blockage is cleared, and feature an alarm system to alert homeowners when the valve is opened or closed.

A properly-installed backwater valve offers obvious advantages to homeowners. These valves prevent the mess and expense of a sewage backup into the home, and help minimize the risk of unsanitary conditions. At the same time, buyers should be aware that these valves require professional installation, and often require a permit from the city or county government. It is also critical to choose the right valve based on the particular demands of each project or location. All backwater valves also require routine maintenance to ensure they will function as intended during a backup.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.