Signs You Need a Backwater Valve in Calgary, AB


You may assume you are maintaining your plumbing system well in a cold climate like Calgary's by insulating pipes in unheated areas and scheduling routine drain cleaning services. While keeping up with maintenance tasks and minor repairs is certainly important, are you missing something else? Are there any additional preventative measures that you can take to stay on top of things? One of the extra ways that you can protect yourself, your home, and your plumbing is to install a backwater valve in Calgary.

It's essential to have healthy water flow in your home, but some things are outside of your control, including sewage backups, water line breaks, or weather-related flooding. Many Calgarians experience flooding every year, particularly in basements that are unprotected from water backups. To deal with that flooding, some residents have opted for extra devices that increase their protection, such as backwater valves.

As your local Calgary plumber, we perform every requested service expertly and efficiently. The installation of a backwater valve oftentimes gets overlooked because not many Calgary homeowners fully know the purpose of its use. Our dedicated team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary will answer all the questions that you may have about the benefits of backwater valve installation and how you could benefit from having a backwater valve in Calgary.

What Is a Backwater Valve?

Backwater valves—also known as backwater prevention valves, backflow valves, or sewer backup valves—are small plumbing devices that help prevent flooding disasters via a one-way valve. The essential parts are the protective flap and cleanout. To prevent flooding, the flap closes when wastewater is attempting to come up your sewer and into your home.

Backflow prevention devices are gaining more popularity, especially here in the province of Alberta, and some home insurance companies tend to give discounts to people in Calgary that have taken these preventative measures to minimize flooding risks. If your home was built after 2000, you might have one installed under your basement floor, attached to the sewer line as per the Canadian plumbing code.

While it's not mandatory in every city, we recommend that you check with your municipality and professional plumbers to determine if you need one or if you could benefit from having one. Your plumber has the knowledge and experience to give you tips on flood mitigation solutions that include sump pump or backwater valve installation in Calgary.

How Do Backwater Valves Work?

Backwater prevention devices have a backflow mechanism that adheres to the law of gravity. Think of a large flap at the bottom of your sewer line that reacts when it senses high water levels. This can either be caused by backups in Calgary's city sewer lines or by rainwater. As the level rises, the flap closes off your pipe, stopping the city sewer from backing up and flooding your property from the basement up.

In the event of a sewer line clogging, the backwater valve will close, but it won't help prevent damage if you keep using water. That water will still back up into your basement.


  1. During this event, you won’t be able to access your water supply or flush away any wastewater.
  2. It's important to note that during extreme scenarios, it may not be able to entirely stop your basement from flooding. However, it is effective in most common situations that result in a backup.

Are There Different Types I Can Choose From?

There are a few different types of backwater valves. Calgary homeowners should determine which model suits their needs best based on the location of their home in relation to flood zones and public mains that could back up as a result of heavy rains.

Check Valve

This is the common and basic valve with a flap or a ball that blocks water from entering your home during a sewer backup or heavy rainfall. It requires a bit of maintenance and monitoring. If you already have one, your local plumber is happy to do a routine checkup to make sure there are no obstructions.

Gate Valve

A gate valve is a more reliable option with a flapper that you can open or close manually. It's more expensive and more common in industrial and commercial properties.

Combination Valve

A combination valve has a chamber and a gate that is filled with air and will automatically close if it detects a backup.

Top Reasons to Install a Backwater Valve in Calgary

Calgary property owners that are unsure about their existing valves should hire a licensed plumber to inspect their basement drainage system. When snowmelt or the rainy season is around the corner, it's best to ensure that your basement floor drains, sump pump, and backwater valve are in working order to prevent any potential mishaps.

1. Calgarians love their basements.

You rarely find a property in Calgary that doesn't have a basement, den, or another kind of lower level. As a fairly dry city, we don't encounter as many moisture problems as other parts of the country. This makes habitable basement spaces convenient for subletting or having extra space on your Calgary property for creating hobby areas. It's important to take the necessary steps to protect those basements from water damage.

2. Heavy rain

June is Calgary's wettest month of the year, contributing the most to our average annual 20 inches of rain. It's not much unless there are unexpected flash floods, and we can't always predict fast enough what's happening in the mountains. A backwater valve could quickly save you from the danger of sudden high water levels.

3. You own an older home.

Unfortunately, older homes in Calgary are more susceptible to exterior damage and might be the least flood-proof of all, even if they receive regular maintenance and repair services to stay in their best shape. If you frequently require foundation specialists to inspect cracks on your siding, basement walls, and your home's overall structural integrity, you may not be well-protected from heavy rainfall and flooding. Many older homes have areas where the plumbing system is visible. Your plumber is happy to inspect the area for you and make recommendations for plumbing repairs and solutions like backwater valve installation that will help keep you and your home safe.

4. You’re in a flood-prone neighborhood

Do you live near the Bow River or Elbow River? Those are areas where your flood risk is increased. One of the most important things you can do for your home if you live in a flood zone is to install the most protection you can against flooding, and that includes having a backwater valve in Calgary.

5. You live at the bottom of a hill.

When people choose their homes, they don’t always think about the nearby sewage systems that are underground and out of sight. Calgary has many hilly areas, and homes in those areas are sometimes at a higher risk of flooding. That’s because gravity increases the chances of sewer backflow, which means that without a backwater valve, your home could fall victim to a huge smelly mess. Flooding via sewer backflow is not uncommon.

6. You’ve paid for flood damage before

If your home was previously affected by a flood, you certainly want to have backflow prevention systems installed to ensure you won't have to deal with flood damage again. In this case, we recommend that you keep up with your maintenance appointments, too, ensuring that your plumber inspects your backflow system periodically.

What Are the Benefits of Installing a Backwater Valve in Calgary?

Many homes in Calgary need preventative measures for their plumbing, especially in areas where unexpected weather conditions can take a toll on properties. Without a backwater valve, you can never be prepared enough. Calgary property owners can always benefit from taking all the necessary precautions. Perhaps learning more about a backwater valve's benefits will encourage you to think about installing one or giving your existing one the proper maintenance and inspection it needs from a qualified plumber.

Flood Control

It's designed to prevent flooding in your home, whether a sewer backup or a heavy downpour where rainwater finds its way into your basement. Flood control is one of the best traits of a backwater valve. Calgary receives a significant amount of rain every spring, where flood warnings are common. A backwater valve will minimize the risk of your basement flooding.

Unaffected by the City’s Sewer Lateral

Although we trust the city to take care of the municipal sewer pipes, you never know when they will encounter sewage backup problems on their end. Having backwater prevention that serves as an automatic stopper and protects your home from sludge and other unpleasant waste will keep you safe and keep damage costs low.

Do You Need a Backwater Valve in Calgary?

It's worth contacting your local plumbers about it and seeing if they provide consultation and installation services to further educate homeowners about the benefits of having a backwater valve in Calgary. Your expert plumbers will explain to you why they believe it's mandatory for safety reasons. Not all Calgarians may know about a backflow preventer's benefits yet, but we will do our best to raise awareness and prepare you for the upcoming wet season. We don't like external forces taking a toll on your property and assets and will do everything in our power to help you keep you and your property safe.

Your home insurance provider may also offer rebates for property owners that have taken the preventative measure of backwater valve installation. That said, rebates, incentives, and other programs tend to change, so it's a good idea to always double-check. Feel free to give us a call and ask us any questions that you may have. Chances are, we are up to date!

Interested in Calgary Backwater Valve Installation? Contact Your Local Plumbing Experts Today!

Whether you need winter plumbing tips or want Calgary backwater valve installation to prevent potential future damage, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary is your team of dependable local plumbers who can get the job done! We offer a wide range of maintenance and repair services, from Calgary drain cleaning to sewer repair. You can count on our guaranteed workmanship and customer care to get every job done fast and efficiently.

While it might not be all about emergencies, we always make sure to stay available for emergency situations in Calgary and never add overtime charges for sudden situations.

For everything from regular plumbing maintenance to repairs, call to chat with our friendly customer service reps. Get the benefit of experienced local plumbers who provide outstanding customer care!