2013 Toronto flooding
1n 2013, record breaking rainfall hit the Greater Toronto area, causing floods that shut down the subway service and left tens of thousands without power. But despite how devastating the flood was, a single household installation could have significantly lessened its severity on an individual level – the backwater valve.
What’s a backwater valve?
This is a device that keeps sewage from backing up into the basement when your main sewer line is overloaded. The valve that automatically closes once sewage starts to back up to keep it out of your home. It’s also called a backflow prevention valve, sewer backwater valve or mainline backflow preventer.
Why have a backwater valve?
A backwater valve is a key deterrent of flooding and it’s generally placed in areas where there might be some water build-up such as the basement. No water will therefore be allowed to enter your home in the event of a flood. Judging from the recent flooding in the spring of 2017, floods in Canada apparently aren’t as rare as we would want.
Floods shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind. The valve can also come in handy to keep your house safe during any storm that diverts even slightly from the norm. If you haven’t flood-proofed your house, then a backwater is just what you need to tide you over a bad storm.
Consider that even a few inches of water piling in your house is a huge inconvenience that will cost you a lot in repairs. There really shouldn’t be a reason not to install a backwater valve. Besides, depending on where you live, your government might not give you a choice.
Am I legally supposed to have a backwater valve?
In some regions of Canada and USA, you are legally required to install a backwater valve in your home. However, that’s not the case in Toronto. Instead, you simply apply for a permit.
How the backwater valve works
When the main sewer line becomes clogged or overloaded, sewage tends to push back into your pipes causing a rise in the water levels. The backwater valve has sensors that detect the rise in water level, which then prompts flaps of the valve to flip into its closed position.
Where should a backwater valve go?
It’s generally installed in a basement since it can be placed in line with your plumbing pipes. A hole is made and the valve is lowered into the system of sewage lines that are underneath your home. It’s the ideal location since it’s the best place to connect all the water flow in your house. It’s also where your in-house plumbing connects to the public pipe system.
How long does installation take?
First off, you need to hire a licensed plumber for the job. There’s no specific time taken for the installation as it depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Prior to installation, the plumber will inspect the integrity of the sewer line to ensure there are no broken pipes. He or she will also need to determine where exactly to place the backwater valve. It needs to be ahead of all your plumbing fixtures in order to protect them from flooding.
The next step is digging up the floor of your basement which has to be carefully done to avoid unnecessary damage. Then comes the actual installation. All this will most certainly require more than a single visit. Keep in mind that you may also need to apply for a permit for the backwater valve.
How much does the backwater valve installation cost?
Cost starts from 1500$ and up depending on depth and type of the BWV.