Clean Check, Inc.

Cost saving invention simplifies backwater valve installation and maintenance.

Necessity was the mother of invention when the founders of Clean Check, Inc. began working on a more economic solution to prevent sewer backup.

"Providing access to backwater valves was quite expensive and we decided there had to be a better way," said Mike Andrews, a wholesale distributor and one of the founding members of Clean Check, Inc.

After witnessing the amount of damage caused by sewer backups in North Idaho, a state plumbing inspector and a public works director began brainstorming with a wholesale distributor and an engineer to find a more cost effective solution.

The problem was literally a messy one. Sewage can flood into homes if a sewer system plugs or exceeds capacity or also in the case of groundwater flooding.

While valves to prevent sewer backflow were available, many municipalities did not mandate the installation of the valves, or, due to cost constraints, it was often difficult to enforce codes.

Before the invention of Clean Check's patented extendable backwater valve, installing other valves so they were accessible for maintenance could be expensive and inconvenient. Installation of previous backwater valves usually meant placing backwater valves inside a home, business or other structure, or outside, using a manhole, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Beginning in 1992, the founders of Clean Check, Inc. developed a method that would eliminate the need to build a manhole, or place the valve in a home, business or other structure.

The result was ABS and PVC extendable backwater valves, which can be installed outside without the use of an expensive and unsightly manhole. The valves fit both 3-inch and 4-inch pipe, and can be checked or serviced in minutes, without exposing a home to sewer gases as a valve installed in a house might.

"This is a product that is helpful to the industry and is a money saving invention for homeowners and tax payers," said Buzz Hays, general manager of Clean Check, Inc. in Hayden, Idaho.

Sales began first in Idaho, for the IAPMO approved valve, but now the Clean Check product is sold coast to coast from Alaska to New York.

"There was a need for this not only in Idaho, but nationwide. Homebuilders are using it, municipalities are using it in public works projects, and insurers are requesting it because of the reduction in liability it provides," Andrews said.

A Clean Check extendable backwater valve consists of a tee-shaped valve body, a flapper assembly and a riser guide. The valve body made of PVC or ABS, which is either 3 inches or 4 inches with a 6-inch riser, is installed in the sewer lateral.

A riser of 6-inch pipe, provided by the contractor and cut to length on-site, is extended from the sewer lateral to ground level. A 4-inch internal riser is then assembled at the jobsite by cutting a 4-inch pipe that is slightly shorter than the 6-inch external riser, and attaching the flapper assembly on one end of the 4-inch pipe and the riser guide on the other.

The entire assembly is then inserted into the 6-inch riser. Mated slots in the flapper assembly and body fit snugly together when inserted to prevent incorrect installation. A set-screw in the 4-inch riser guide is then tightened against the 6-inch external riser to keep the assembly firmly seated.

Clean Check extendable backwater valves may be installed at any depth without installing a costly manhole.

For maintenance, the 4-inch internal riser can be slipped out of the 6-inch external riser so the flapper can be examined or replaced.

"It is inexpensive, easy to install and maintenance takes minutes. It's everything a backwater valve should be," Andrews said.

Information about Clean Check, Inc. and distributors and distributorship of the extendable backwater valve may be obtained at, or by calling 866/28-VALVE (866/288-2583).