New York City’s combined sewer system overflows, on average, once per week. When stormwater runoff joins with sewage and overloads the sewer’s capacity, the excess wastewater can flow backward through drainpipes and into people’s homes. Plumbing backups are unsanitary and can cause serious health hazards, and they’re costly to clean up.
How the valve works
A backwater valve, also known as a “check valve,” connects to your home’s plumbing and features an internal mechanism called the “flapper.” In the event of sewer overflow, the flapper closes to help protect your home from filling with raw sewage.
When the overflow subsides, the change in pressure releases the flapper, allowing wastewater to flow from your home and into the sewer.
How it affects you
Estimated Money Saved
Installing a check valve will not affect what you pay for flood insurance. However, in the event of sewer overflow, having the valve in place can save you thousands in sewage cleanup and restoration costs.
Having a backwater valve reduces the likelihood of plumbing backups, so anything you store in your basement will stay safe, dry, and sewage-free.
What it takes
Installing a backwater valve can take 2–8 hours, depending on how accessible your home’s drainpipes are.
The plumber will also give you a few maintenance tips, such as how to flush the valve with water to make sure it doesn’t get blocked.