Installing a backwater valve will prevent sewer drains from backing up and overflowing with sewer water – eliminating sewer backflow as a source of basement flooding.
Sewer backflow is a problem in the City of Toronto; we experience very heavy rainfall during the summer months which can cause the municipal sewer system to backup through the sewer drains of homes and property. The result is a flooded basement; luckily the City provides flood prevention rebates of up to $3,200 to aid in the cost of installing devices including a backwater valve.
The most effective method to prevent the backflow of sewer water is a simple device called a backwater valve. Installation of a backwater valve prevents water from traveling back into your home as it is a one-way valve. It is bylaw now that modern homes are built with backwater valves installed, but the majority of older homes are still at risk of basement flooding via sewer backflow, which can be a very costly and traumatic experience.
In particularly bad weather it is not uncommon for water damage to be in excess of $25,000+ – protecting your home is always a good idea when compared with the potential cost, loss of personal property, and inconvenience of basement flooding.
Depending on how flood prone your home is you may know already whether or not you require a backwater valve. When required, a backwater valve will be the difference between a flooded basement filled with sewage and a clean and dry basement.
One simple way to tell whether you require a backwater valve is to consider your location to the nearby sewer system that services your home and surrounding properties. Imagine there is a street on a gradual hill, there are three homes on this street and the sanitary sewer drain is located at the top of the hill. If the homes further down the hill are below the top of the sanitary sewer than there is a good chance that the sewer will backflow into those homes.
Under these circumstances a backwater valve will need to be installed to ensure that these basements do not flood. Additionally, there are circumstances where there does not appear to be any specific cause for concern, but when it rains the sewer system backs up and into people’s homes. In these situations installation of a backwater valve will also be helpful.
If you are experiencing basement flooding but are unsure of the specific cause, we provide additional basement waterproofing services.
Developed by a plumbing contractor in the City of Edmonton, the mainline backwater valve was an innovation in sewer backup protection. Typically, plumbers would need to install check valves on all of the sewer branch lines in the home. This meant that the kitchen drain, the bathroom drain, the laundry drains all needed to have their own backflow protection. The biggest problem that was noted with each line having its own check valve was that these valves were all over the place, behind walls, under floors, out of sight and hard to access. Not only was that an annoyance to maintain these valves but when these sewer drains were cleaned a check valve could easily be damaged by the drain snake. Further, it would be very hard to tell if the check valve had been damaged, it would only be obvious when made evident by a flooding problem.
Enter the mainline backwater valve; this valve installs directly on the main sewer drain of the property and virtually eliminates the need for multiple check valves scattered throughout the house.
The real innovation of the mainline backwater valve is that it remains open while in its natural position. This is very important as the sewer line must be able to vent gases, the normally open position of the backwater valve allows for unrestricted flow of waste water out and sewer gases in. However, in the event of sewer backflow the valve closes, restriction the access of this backflow and preventing flooding problems. With earlier closed valves this was just feasible.
The inception of the backwater valve is quite interesting, and is a piece of Canadian plumbing history.
People are often curious what the difference is between these two devices. They sound similar enough that the confusion is not unfounded. Let’s just clear this up, a backwater valve is a device that’s installed on your sewer drain so as to prevent the backup of sewage water back into the drain pipe, which would otherwise flood your basement or wherever the drain pipe connects.
A backflow preventer on the other hand is to prevent the backflow of clean water back into a water source. Typically a water supply line is under heavy pressure and there is little chance of the water backing up, but under high-demand or problems such as a burst main this pressure will drop allowing for the potential backflow of contaminants into the water supply. To stop this backflow preventer devices are installed in high risk areas to keep the water supply fresh and clean.
To recap; backwater valves prevent the backflow of sewer water into your drains, and backflow preventers prevent the backflow of potentially contaminated water into the water supply lines.
Here are Absolute Draining & Plumbing, we specialize in the installation of backwater valves.
Yes. As fully licensed, and insured Toronto plumbers we are qualified to help you claim your City of Toronto flood prevention rebate. We have installed many backwater valves in Toronto and fully document the process to help you expedite your flood prevention rebate claim.
For more information feel free to call us at 416-252-5557, or contact us online.
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