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The Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate Program Explained

The Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate Program Explained

Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate Program!

If your Edmonton home is prone to flooding, you should install a backwater valve. It's the difference between a basement filled with sewage and a basement that stays clean and dry during heavy rainfall.

The Edmonton backwater valve rebate program reimburses homeowners who install a valve up to $800. A plumber can install the valve on the main sewer line or a branch line to prevent sewer backup and flooding.

The rebate program applies to homeowners who had a flood, and those who wish to prevent one. Residents must meet certain criteria for reimbursement.

If the idea of a basement flooded with sewage water disgusts you, keep reading. This article explains the importance of backwater valves. You'll also learn how to save money on installation if you live in the city of Edmonton.

What is a Backwater Valve?

It's a simple device that provides the most effective way to prevent sewer backflow. It keeps raw sewage from backing up into your home through the floor drain, toilets, shower, and bathtub.

A backwater valve goes in the drain pipe. It's a one-way valve with a flap. The flap lets water exit the home but closes to prevent the backflow into the home.

When water backs up it floods where the drain pipe connects to the home (usually the basement). Sewage backup causes expensive and gross basement floods. It can be a traumatic loss of personal property.

Sewer backflow is a problem when there's heavy rainfall. In Edmonton, this can happen during the spring, summer and even fall (who are we kidding, winter too). Extensive rainfall can cause the city sewer system to backup in residential drains in homes that don’t have a working backwater valve.

The plumbing code now requires new homes to be built with a backwater valve installed. But, older homes without the valve are at risk for flooding from sewer backups.

The good news is the City of Edmonton backwater rebate helps offset the cost of a valve installation. This makes it easier to protect your home from the expense and inconvenience of flooding.

Does Your Home Need One?

There are plenty of reasons to install a backwater valve. They're an important part of any home plumbing system. The valve works using gravity. Once it's installed, the valve works independently to keep your home dry.

If your home is flood prone, you may already know you need a backwater valve. If not, the best way to determine if your home needs a backwater valve is to evaluate your situation.

Important Reasons to Install a Backwater Valve

Look at current and potential flooding problems. Do you have heavy rains or flash floods? How old is the plumbing in your home? Is your home in a flood zone?

You Live in a Heavy Rainfall Area

In most Edmonton neighbourhoods, the sanitary sewers and the storm sewers are combined. Where this is the case, it means that heavy rains will drain into the sewers, and when there is too much for the city sewer to handle it can back up into the nearby homes. If you are in one of these areas and sometimes experience lots of rain or flash floods, a backwater valve is essential. EPCOR works hard on the sewage and drainage systems, but they can't control the weather.

Being in the Edmonton area, heavy rains and thunderstorms aren’t exactly optional, so it is definitely wise to protect your home with a backwater valve to prevent serious damage.

Your Sump Pumps to the Sewer

Each home drainage system has specific problems to overcome. Sump pumps are used when a home has groundwater that regularly tries to infiltrate the foundation. When the water table is above the foundation level of a house, water will attempt to enter the foundation through cracks or even through solid concrete. A sump is a hole dug under the level of the foundation that helps to collect this water so it can be pumped outside.

When your sump pump discharges outside on your yard, it won’t affect your sewer. However, some people have piped their sump pump to pump the groundwater into the sewer. This will be a problem if you have sewer issues because if your sewer backs up that water won’t be able to go down and will end up flooding your basement.

If your sump pump is connected to your sewer, you should definitely have a backwater valve installed to prevent flooding from your sump from happening. With this being said, we don’t recommend connecting your sump pump to your sewer for this reason.

Municipal Backups

Just like your homes sewer pipe, the municipal sewer can clog too. It doesn’t happen with the same frequency of residential sewer blockages, but it does happen and you may require a sewer camera inspection to resolve the problem. 

Imagine that this happens on your street. As people use water in their toilets, showers and sinks, it all drains down into the blocked municipal sewer pipe. Once that pipe is full that water and sewage will start backing up into the homes that do not have working backwater valves installed. This is never a good situation and again, can cause thousands in damage and cleanup costs.

You Don't Have a Backwater Valve

If you don't have one, the device and installation are relatively inexpensive thanks to the Edmonton backwater valve rebate program. The benefit is your basement that isn't likely to flood which means you'll prevent flood damage and the related cleanup expenses.

The fact is, floods are bad news for homeowners. A small flood is a mess that takes time and effort to clean up.

A major flood that includes sewage water is a nightmare. It damages your personal property. It can lead to mold and mildew, and it may damage your home's foundation. Plus, there's the yuck factor of sewage water.

It's a good idea to be proactive. Installing a backwater valve keeps your home safe from potential sewer backup flooding.

How Does a Backwater Valve Prevent Sewer Backup?

In the past, plumbers installed normally closed check valves on the sewer branch lines in the basement of the home.

Snaking a drain line through the check valve could damage the valve, and yet, you wouldn't know about the damage until there was a flooding problem.

Now, plumbers use a mainline backwater valve installed on the main sewer drain for the home that stays open until a flood. This eliminated normally closed check valves in the home.

The true innovation of the backwater valve is the fact that it stays open and can be safely snaked. This is vital so the sewer line can vent gases through your homes roof vents. The normally open position of the valve provides unrestricted flow of wastewater moving out and gases in.

If there's a sewer backup, then the valve closes. This restricts the backflow and prevents sewer backup from moving beyond the valve. The many check valves inside the home couldn't do that.

The Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate Program

Don't miss out on reimbursement for your backwater valve! Keep reading to learn how to get the Edmonton backwater valve program. Keep in mind there are some requirements.

Are You Eligible?

First, don't do anything until you get pre-approval from the City of Edmonton or Edmonton Power and Water Utility (EPCOR). If your valve isn't pre-approved, you won't be eligible for a subsidy.

If you received a pre-approval letter dated in 2017, your request is considered for the 2018 subsidy amount. Send the letter and details about your backwater valve installation to the city. They'll contact you about the subsidy.

If you install your backwater valve without a pre-approval letter from the City of Edmonton or EPCOR, you won't get the subsidy.

Program Criteria

Installing a backwater valve can help to protect your home from a sewer line backup.

The City of Edmonton Backwater Valve Subsidy provides financial help up to $800 for installation of an interior or exterior backwater valve.

The subsidy is available for homeowners who meet the following requirements.

  1. Own a home built before 1989.

  2. Have experienced previous basement floods from a sanitary sewer backup.

  3. Live in sections of Edmonton that had previous flooding.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the program, you must meet these requirements:

  1. No backwater valve currently exists in your home.

  2. No previous subsidy received for the application address.

  3. Be a separately serviced single-family dwelling or duplex.

  4. Get a pre-approval inspection by EPCOR Flood Protection

Three Steps to Apply for the Edmonton Subsidy

1. Get Pre-approval

The first step is to email floodprevention@epcor.com or call 780-944-7777 to arrange for a home inspection. Include your name, phone number, and the property address for the backwater valve installation.

You'll receive notification of the date and time of your home inspection.

A Flood Prevention Advisor must complete an interior home inspection before you install the backwater valve. The advisor notifies you of approval at the time of inspection. Once approved, you can proceed to Step 2.

2. Install the Backwater Valve

You have six months to install the backwater valve. The timing starts when you receive pre-approval from the Flood Prevention Advisor.

Don't try to install the valve yourself, a professional plumber must complete the installation.

The subsidy will only cover a Fullport Backwater Valve, FR-4 Fullport Retro Backwater Valve, or the Adapt-a-Valve. If you use a different valve, the subsidy won't cover the cost.

3. Submit Your Subsidy Application

You must install the valve and submit your subsidy application within six months of the approval inspection. If not, you won't qualify anymore.

Make sure your application includes proof of the professional installation. Send a copy of the invoice. The type of valve installed must appear on the invoice.

Include a copy of the City of Edmonton acceptable green sticker with the permit number with your application.

Note that unfortunately, subsidies are subject to the availability of funding for that year. There are no guarantees that your project will be funded.

Maintenance for Your Backwater Valve

You should plan on an annual inspection of your backwater valve. Have a licensed plumber test the valve for efficiency and clean it on a regular schedule.

Proper maintenance guarantees your valve continues to work without problems. You don't want to learn it's broken or stuck because your basement flooded.

Backwater valves are durable. Yet, some have internal springs, seals, and moving parts. They can wear over time. The flapper of the valve can get stuck open. Debris can cause problems. Periodic maintenance by a professional keeps your backflow valve in good working shape.

Hire a Licensed Plumber for Your Subsidy

Don't have anyone except a licensed professional plumber install your valve. Otherwise, you won't qualify for the Edmonton backflow valve subsidy. And, you may cause serious harm to your home and family.

Sure, a skilled person could install the valve, but there's a good chance it won't meet plumbing codes. If that happens you've wasted your money, lost out on the subsidy, and may cause health issues for your family.

Installation of some backflow devices needs specialized tools that aren't available commercially. These tools should be used by a licensed plumber. If you put in a backflow device with improper tools, it can malfunction. You may get the location wrong.

If a sewer backflow valve is installed wrong it could easily create sewer backup problems rather than prevent them. Plus, if there's an outlet before the sewer backwater valve, the sewer water can back up with great force. The force can be stronger than before the sewer valve was improperly installed.

Health issues with sewer backwater are serious. The water contains all kinds of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Human waste could enter your home on a large scale. If your home floods with sewer water you'll need a professional cleaning service to get rid of the filth. The clean up often costs more than a proper professional backwater valve installation.

The bottom line: get the valve installed by a professional plumber with a city plumbing permit. You'll get the benefit of the subsidy and protect your home from flooding.

Can a Backwater Valve Fail?

While a mainline backwater valve is durable and sturdy. The valve is designed to handle great pressure to stop sewage waste and water from entering your home through the main drain.

There are, however, rare situations when the valve can't stop a basement from flooding. For example, the valve can become damaged from overuse and no maintenance.

Another instance is when residents don't know the valve is engaged. They continue to use the plumbing to do laundry or run the dishwasher. Don't use appliances during a heavy storm that's already taxing the drainage systems. The result is water that can't drain. It has nowhere to go, which results in a drain backup.

You can install a backwater valve flood alarm to alert the home's residents when the valve is in use. The alarm tells people if the water they're using is draining.

We Can Help with Your Backwater Valve Rebate

Mr. Rooter has fully licensed, and insured plumbers ready to meet all the Edmonton backwater valve rebate program requirements.

Our professionals install and maintain backwater valves in Edmonton and the surrounding areas. We're ready to help you every step of the way. We document all our work so it's easy to submit your application for your subsidy.

Please contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton today to arrange a valve installation, or discuss any of your plumbing needs. We look forward to working with you.
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