Dealing with major flooding? Find out how to manage the mayhem.

Q: We maintain apartment buildings by the river. When heavy rains come in the spring and fall, the river rises, causing basement floor drains to back up. Is there a device that can prevent a major mess?

A: Yes, you have two options. There are a number of water sensors on the market that will detect water on the floor and sound an alarm. But by the time you know you have a problem, it’s too late. The water is already on the floor. 

A better alternative is a device called a Flood-Guard. It operates like a check valve to seal off water backup caused by overloaded sewers.

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Water flows normally through the drain until the sewer begins to back up. Then a float rises to seal off the drain opening until the water recedes.

A screwdriver and a couple of minutes are all you need to install a Flood-Guard. Once in place, it can prevent property damage and a very messy cleanup job. It’s available for 2-, 3- and 4-inch drains.

For extreme, extended pressure, a standpipe model is recommended. The 4-inch standpipe model is threaded to receive 1 1/2-inch IPS pipe. On the 3-inch model, the pipe is slipped through the rubber gasket before the screws are fully tightened.

The Flood-Guard works well for floor drains, but it cannot be used to prevent a toilet from backing up and overflowing. And of course, if the water is coming in under the front door, it’s too late for the Flood-Guard. 

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