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Vacuum System Troubleshooting

vacuum valve chamber

Vacuum valves should typically run for 4 to 6 seconds when facilities (for example, toilets, laundry, showers, dishwashers) are being used in your home or business.   

It is not normal for a valve to run, cycle on and off, make a hissing sound, or for your toilet to be empty of water, when facilities are not being used. If there is an issue with your vacuum sewer, and you believe that the issue is within the City-owned portion of the system, Report the Problem to us.

If a valve is running for a long time, or is cycling on and off, it could mean:

  • A leaky toilet or tap is adding excess water to the system
  • Rainwater or groundwater is entering the system through cross connections, cracks or holes in your service connection pipe
  • Poor system venting
  • There is a sag (low point) in your service connection that is affecting wastewater from reaching the sump on your property
  • There is a blockage in the service connection that is causing a low vacuum level. This blockage could lead to a sewage backup in your home or business if it is not fixed
  • The vacuum sewer is broken
  • Severe cold weather is preventing the valve from closing properly

When the valve is running, listen for a consistent level of noise in your washroom, kitchen, laundry room or near external vents. An inconsistent noise could also mean that there is an issue with the vacuum valve.

Most issues can be avoided by being aware of and following through on your maintenance responsibilities.

It is important to fix any issues as soon as possible as a vacuum valve that is running for a long time, or is cycling on and off, can result in more wear and tear on your pump, higher electrical costs, and potential risk to your home or business if a sewage backup occurs.