Your Annual Backwater Valve Maintenance To-Dos

As we mentioned in our last post, backwater valves are one of the best defenses against flooding. However, like any other part of the home, they require regular maintenance to ensure they will work properly when needed. Here are some simple maintenance tips to follow at least once per year and after major storms to help save you from a potentially messy situation.

  1. Remove the cleanout cap and, with a flashlight, visually inspect the backwater valve. Ensure your entire system is free of cracks and any other visible damages.
  2. Wearing gloves, ensure that the gate can move freely up and down. You want your gate to be able to close easily in the case of a sewage back up. If you notice debris, grime or build up you’ll need to clean the system. Turn on all the taps in your house and add soap so you can have warm, soapy water flowing through your backwater valve. In addition to flushing out the system, clean the area with a long handled brush.
  3. Next, check the O ring for cracks or deterioration. You’ll likely find the O ring on the cleanout cap. This bit of rubber is needed to ensure everything stays water tight, so if you see any cracks replace it immediately.
  4. Check the condition of the floats that are located on either side of the gate. These floats are needed to lift the gate in the event of a backup, so replace them if there is any sign of damage or deterioration.


While backwater valve maintenance isn’t always the cleanest household chore, it is necessary to help keep your house safe. If you are interested in more information about backwater valves or how to perform regular maintenance, contact us at Vigor Heating. We’re here to help!