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Backwater Valve and your home

backwater valveWhen there’s a heavy rainfall in Toronto, there’s a great risk of basements getting overfilled and homeowners having to deal with a water backup issue. Worse, homeowners can also deal with dirty raw sewage parading into their basements, causing further unimaginable damage. Lucky there’s a way to prevent this and that is through installing a backwater valve.

What is a backwater valve?

A backwater valve allows for water to flow one way instead of two ways – which is what can happen when basements get overfilled with sewer water. By installing the valve, which also goes by backflow, this will prevent heavy water buildup towards your home should there be a heavy downpour in your region. When heavy rainfall occurs, city sewer lines often get overwhelmed, causing the backflow of water back into your home. By using the preventive backwater valve, you’ve ensured the safety of your home and its belongings.

Backwater valves come highly recommend when building new homes or can be retrofitted into current homes. Ask your local plumber on options for your home and what you can do to prevent water backflow into your home. In fact, under national plumbing code, it’s required now to install a backwater valve on all new homes built.

How to see if your backwater valve is effective

Now that we know how city sewer system overflows can be prevented through a backwater valve, let’s dive into making sure your house is not a victim.

In your backwater valve access box, there’s a clear cover and on the inside is a small flap that would ordinarily allow the water to exit your home. On each side of the flap, there’s a small flotation device. When water starts to flow back into your home, the floaters will cause the flap to lift up and down, preventing any water to get into your home. When the water stops flowing into your home, gravity allows it back up and water resumes flowing back out.

If the valve is installed after the home is built, a plumbing permit must be obtained. A licensed professional would get your municipality permit and would have to cut a hole into your home’s concrete floor. The hole is cut to the main sewer line and replaced with the new valve. With the aforementioned clear top, you can see when it’s working properly.

What should I do when something goes wrong?

First and foremost, call your local licensed plumber to properly assess the situation and give you your options. If done correctly, you won’t experience any issues. Sometimes, things can get stuck, preventing the valve from closing or they can get damaged.

Be aware that if it is beyond your comfort zone, call a plumber to do the proper recognizance and remove the item or fix the damaged valve. When a normal rainfall occurs after, you will see the flow of water as it once was and you should be in the clear. Refrain from running the shower or washing machine too much during the rainfall to allow proper water flowage out of your home.

As always, be sure your plumber has assessed your backwater valve properly to ensure you are getting the best preventative measures out of it.