sewer plug

Will a sewer plug work the same as a Backwater Check Valves? And will it cause water pressure damage to the sewer drain under the basement floor if the drain system gets overloaded from a heavy rain fall.
Frank
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On Friday, August 19, 2016 at 12:19:35 PM UTC-4, franks wrote:

A "sewer plug" is typically used to cap a clean-out. They look like this:
http://preparednessadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/sewer23.jpg
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/64/6463e797-e64b-48ba-af75-2e5b92e1cdad_300.jpg
A "check valve" is used to allow fluids to flow in only one direction. They look like this:
http://cdn.balkanplumbing.com/wp-content/uploads/backwater-valve.jpg
http://www2.lsuagcenter.com/domains/lafirst/lahouse/flood/flapcheck.gif
They are 2 completely different animals designed for 2 completely different purposes.
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On Friday, August 19, 2016 at 12:39:27 PM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I think what he means is will plugging the floor drain in his basement that goes to the sewer stop sewage from backing up into the basement, like a backflow valve would. The answer is yes, but it will only stop if from coming out of that one drain, anywhere else, eg a drain for a washing machine, would still be vulnerable. And IDK how you put a sewer plug into a typical floor drain, the ones I've seen were not designed to accept a plug. You might be able to get rubber expansion type plug that would fit. I guess if you can do it and that;s the only vulnerability, it will work.
It's not going to cause any pressure damage, there are plenty of other places for the sewage to go.
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I have heard of basement floors heaving, from plugging the drains .. Rather than a plug - if you could seal a temporary standpipe - the water would just rise in the standpipe to a level slightly higher than the floor ... maybe ? John T.
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snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote in

That's what my brother did in the basement of his first house. Basement floor wasn't much more than 4 feet below grade, so he used about a 5-foot standpipe -- in any event, the top of the standpipe was higher than ground level. Next door neighbor insisted that water was going to come gushing out of the top of the standpipe and flood his basement anyway. My brother said nope, not possible, ain't gonna happen. Of course he was right, and the neighbor learned a little bit about science.
Naturally, this is dependent on making a watertight seal between the standpipe and the drain. And before you ask... that was 15 years ago. I don't remember how he did that.
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On Friday, August 19, 2016 at 1:50:14 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

Maybe from plugging drains designed to remove ground water, but not from a floor drain connected to the sewer. For example, if you filled in a sump pump pit with concrete, I can see that doing it. But no way for a floor drain that's connected to the sewer.
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On Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:51:10 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

The check valve I installed didn't look like either of these. It was plastic like the second one, but didn't have a side-opening so I couldn't see how the flapper was attached. I bring this up because I put one in to prevent backups to my laundry sink, and to warn the OP that, although our situations are different, it didn't work!^^^ Now that might have been because lint from the washing machine^^ got in the flapper hinge, but I hadn't had the valve installed more than 2 or 3 months, and I've taken a small step to keep lint out of the drain, a plastic tube about 6 inches high that goes in the opening and has small holes at the bottom, getting progressively bigger towards the top, and then of course if there is more than 6 inches in the sink it overflows the top of the tube. This does catch a lot of lint, and I can't judge how much lint gets through.
^^(and yes I didn't put it in backwards or the laundry water would have not drained or drained more slowly.)
^^My washing machine doesn't have a lint filter of its own, only a lint chopper, that it said would make the lint small enough to go down the drain, but that doesn't mean it's small enough to not mess up the check-valve

Yes, that's exactly what he means.

True**, but in most cases those other drains will be higher than the floor. I dont' have a floor drain myself*** and my lowest (other) drain is the laundry sink, I'm guessing 24" higher than the floor. And height is everything wrt water backing up into the basement.
**Assuming the drains are connected, which I think is the normal situation, but then there is the example that hubops gives further down.
***except the sump, for the sump pump, which water spilled on the floor could drain into, except for the plastic lip around the sump. I put holes in the lip so the water level on the floor wouldn't have to be higher than the lip, but I haven't enough water on the floor since then for water to even reach the sump, to see if I made the holes big enough.

As I hinted above, I don't, or didn't, understand this. Was the floor drain not connected to any other drain? I guess that's possible, likely?, if it's only connected to the storm sewers and it's the storm drains that are backing up. But the sinks (on any floor) are connected to the sanitary sewers, so they're totally separate.
In my case, they would be separate, but the stream, which is our storm "sewer" will rise high enough to overflow the sanitary sewer manholes, fill the manhole with water and back up the sink.
It seems unlikely that the OP has my situation, but he should make sure of that.

Temporary is another question. If this is caused by heavy rain, people can't predict when the rain will be that heavy, or they may be asleep or at work. And even when I'm home and awake and looking out my window, when it's dark out, I can't really tell how heavy it's raining or if, for example, my parking lot has started to flood. And in my case, it's not totally the rain at the moment but the rain over the previous day or several days, which raise the level of the stream with time. We don't know the source of the water causing the OP's backup, or if he can see it coming (when he's at home and not sleeping, etc.). (If they're out of town, they could put in the standpipe before every trip, but that won't help when they forget or they're not out of town.) I have to keep my laundry sink plugged^^^^ all the time except when I'm using the washing machine, because I can't be there to plug it up when it starts to rain. And during the last big rainstorm (which made the national news when Ellicott City flooded), all three of my vulnerable neighbors had flooded basements even though they all knew about plugging their sinks.
So it would really have to be permanent, either a pipe sticking up in the middle of the basement floor, easy to break when one knocks into it, or maybe a pipe that bends, goes along the floor to the edge of the room, and then straight up.
^^^^And by plugged, I mean a rubber plug with a one-by stuffed hard between it and a shelf above it, a shelf with 40 pounds of weight on it, plus it's firmly attached to the wall. When I just used the rubber plug and a brick, a heavy brick fwiw, the water just pushed the plug up anyhow. (In theory I can't use the washing machine when it might flood, but I've never actually bumped into that situation. If I did, I'd have to force the plug and the wood in place (at the same time) even when the sink was full of water, which I think would be possible.)

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On 8/19/2016 1:51 PM, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

A plug in the floor drain will stop backup water from entering the basement, if the pipes below the floor are completely sealed, like cast iron or plastic. Now, if the pipes are the old clay tile types, the seal is usually only something like cement or mortar. When there is back pressure, each joint will ooze and water will enter the gravel, mud, clay under the floor. Eventually, the floor might try to float, thus causing the previously mentioned heaving. In my previous house of almost 40 years, the pipe was cast iron and the floor drain was plugged. No problems. However, as the sewer system got more overloaded through the years and more illegal gutter/sump pump connections, there were other problems, the sink and the drain for the furnace/humidifier/AC. I put a check valve on both. Unfortunately check valves don't work well for slowly rising back pressure, so during a bad storm, the sink actually filled within 3" of the top. I connected a siphon from the sink to the sump pit to empty the sink and once the water level was down in the sink, there was lots of back pressure to keep the check valve tightly closed. I just put essentially a cork in the furnace drain line, which stopped it. Later, I contacted the town's public works director asking him why? He said there are many illegal hookups (gutters, etc) and others where the storm water just leaks into the sewer system, like the pick holes on the manhole covers. He said one would be no problem, but for 100s of covers it can add up. BTW, they were replacing the covers with leak proof designs. But I digress. The town offered to put in an anti back flow system. It consisted of a float operated check valve located in a manhole they installed in my front yard. When the water rises in the device, a mechanical parallelogram arm closes the valve. The backup water will continue to hold the valve tightly closed. There was also an ejector pump that would force sewage from my house into the (now backing up) sewer system ... I suppose into a neighbor's house without this kind of system. BTW, not trusting all of this, I kept the floor drain stopper in place and also had a 2" ball value in the sink drain, plus another 1" ball valve in the line coming from the furnace. The good news is that I never had to close either of these.
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wrote:

Good ppoint. I hadn't thought of that.

As you illustrate, the back pressure was rising slowly, but as the water in the sink got deeper, the anti-back pressure was rising too.
In my case, I think the maximum water height outside is 6 or 7 feet from the floor of the basement, but it can be less. The bottom of the sink is about 2 feet from the floor but the top of the sink is a little over 3 feet. If the water outside my house is more than 3 1/2 feet above my basement floor, that extra foot isn't enough to keep the water out, but it does negate a foot's worth of pressure, so that's another reason the check valve still doesn't close.

This is the condensate, right?

In my case, the septic sewer was built around 1977 and the first sink backup I had was about 1987, so I'm thinking there weren't many leaks by that time. In addition, I don't think anyone had hooked their gutters or sumppumps to the drain. It would be more difficult than running the drain to the curb. Well, the guy two doors away didnt' live as close to the street as 90% of the people here do, and he didn't like tthe sump pump water shooting out onto the sidewalk leading to the front door, so he did route it to the house drain. He was able to sell his house that way, and I think I pointed out to the new owner that when the sink was backing up, pumping the sump water into the same drain would just get more water on the floor. But he or she didn't do anything until they wanted to sell the house and that time the buyer had a house inspection, and it made the seller route the sump as it had been originally.
But the pick holes (never heard a name for them before) are definitely a major problem, and I would think the circumference of the manholes aren't perfect either.
I too called the county, and he was the one who suggested waterproof manhole covers -- I had never heard of such a thing -- but he also said they wouldntt' help. Since he was still willing to put 2 of them in, I saw no reason not to believe him. But I gave him two locations, the manhole only 30 feet from my yard and ... I couldn't figure out which would be more important, the next manhole downstream, or the one upstream, and I don't know what I said. And for that matter, I'm not sure he did it, buit I plainly couldnt' rely on it anyhow, so I pursued other remedies.

In my case, I'm pretty sure the water isn't higher than many of the manholes. After all, they were designed to be higher than the water. The one nearest me sticks up 8 feet from the ground. The stream only goes another 5 or 6 miles upstream and the valley the stream empties is no more than 1/2 mile across, maybe less, so surely the upstream half of the 5 miles doesn't overflow. (Though they built a new road about 3 miles upstream with a bridge over the stream, and the bridge is higher than one who didn't know about the flooding would expect.).

So how long does it usually stay closed?

Wow. Are you the only ouse which faced a wet basement? Do your neighbors know all that the town did for you? Don't they want it too? I'm not sure I want this but it would have to work for 4 houese all side-by side. One check valve would work if they rerouted 3 drains, but I think they would need 4 ejector pumps. Maybe he was afraid I would ask for all of that so he offered the waterproof manhole covers.

BTW,
Hmmm.

How does that work? The odds are 2 out of 3 that on a weekday you'll be at work or sleeping when it floods. How are you going to close the valves if you're not there? What about vacations?
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On 8/20/2016 9:01 PM, Micky wrote:

Yes, condensate from the high efficiency furnace and from the AC. There was also a drain from the humidifier (AprilAire). That was on the non sink line. There was another to the sink.

Don't really know, however, it should open when the backup stops. I've seen it stop backing up usually right after the rain stops.

The only house near me with a deep enough basement, was immediately next door. Of course he knew that the town did this for me. He just didn't complain to the right people, or anyone, for all I know. When talking the the public works director, he said there were about 30 or so houses that had problems and were remedied with this system. I guess the squeaky wheel gets oiled. Also, things now are different as the sewer system has been taken over by private company. I'm glad I jumped in when I did. But I really don't care at this point because I sold the house 7 years ago. BTW, I saw the invoice for the anti back flow system and it was around $5K.

Well, I did this before the anti backup system was installed ... just in case. This was an exceptional rain. A friend withing a mile from me, measured 23" over 36 hours. At a mile away, my results may have been lower or even higher.

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