Learn About Backwater Valves and Why They’re Important in Mississauga

Basement flood that could have been prevented with a backwater valve.
Flooding in the City of Mississauga is becoming increasingly problematic. In 2019, heavy rainfall in Peel caused serious flooding in homes and on roads, even submerging vehicles. Be it due to climate change or erratic weather patterns, residents living in the Peel area need to take action against flooding by preventative measures. One such measure is to install a backwater valve.

Newer homes may already have a backwater valve installed, in which case it’s integral to properly maintain the valve in the event of a flood. But if your home doesn’t have one, it’s a worthwhile investment.

To learn more about what a backwater valve is and how it protects your home from flooding and backed-up sewage, the experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga put together this guide. Continue reading to discover our professional insights.

What is a Backwater Valve?

A backwater valve (sometimes referred to as a backflow prevention device or sewer backup valve) is a mechanism you can install on your sewer line. It’s designed to prevent sewage from flowing back into your home by forcing waste to move in one direction. During a sudden, heavy rainfall, there’s a chance that Mississauga’s sewer lines can become overwhelmed. This causes sewage to flow back towards your home. When public sewer systems become backed up and you have a backwater valve installed in your home, sewage will not be able to flood your house.

How Does a Backwater Valve Work?

When operating correctly, your home’s sewage line is already designed to move waste out of your home and into the city’s main sewer system. It’s only when the city’s sewer system becomes overloaded that backflow may occur. When this happens, the sewage can’t move through the proper channels and is forced back into your home. A backwater valve prevents this by stopping sewage from moving back up your main drain line.
Inside the mechanism is a small flap, kind of like a very small doggy door. Generally, the flap is open to allow waste to exit your home. There is also a small flotation device on each side of the flap. If water or sewage starts to flow back towards your home, the floats rise and cause the flap to lift and close. Once closed, the flap stops sewage from flooding into your home. It also stops everything from leaving too. When backflow wastewater drains and moves where it’s meant to—into Mississauga’s sewer system—those floats drop, the flap opens, and sewage is able to flow out once more.

How Do I Know If I Have a Backwater Valve?

Newer homes should have been built with a backwater valve. However, if you’re unsure, look around your basement—they’re generally located on basement floors and have an easily removable cover. The cover will be either round or rectangular. If you have a sump pump, the backwater valve will be nearby.

Signs You Need to Install a Backwater Valve

Backwater valves can save your basement during a flood caused by heavy rainfall. No homeowner wants to deal with sewage seeping into your basement and destroying your precious belongings.
Maybe your home already has a backwater valve, in which case you don’t have to worry about installing a new one. But perhaps you live in an older residence and are unsure if you need to go through the hassle of obtaining permits and hiring a plumber. Are you considering installing a backflow prevention device? Does the following apply to you?

Your Home Receives a Lot of Rain

If you live in Mississauga, your home has likely been impacted by heavy rains and flash flooding. In this case, a backwater valve is essential. Although the City of Mississauga has invested in maintaining its sewage and drain systems, some situations are out of the city’s control.

It’s up to you to do what is necessary to keep your home as safe as possible in a flood. If you’re proactive and install backflow prevention, you’ll protect your basement from flood water pushing up through the sewer and drain pipes.

Your House Uses a Sump Pump

If your home is built upon a water table, you likely have a sump pump. Sometimes there are pockets of water in the earth around a basement. From time to time, that water can rise up and push against your home’s foundation. When that happens, sump pumps kick into gear and drain excess water out through a pipe.
Sump pumps are a way to prevent floods. However, they might not always be enough if you live in an area prone to flooding. Backwater valves add an extra level of protection in cases where sump pumps are overwhelmed or compromised.

How Do You Install a Backwater Valve?

They are easiest to install during construction. However, older homes that don’t have a backwater valve may still need one—especially if you live in Mississauga. Before installing a backflow protection in an existing home (as opposed to a new build) you’ll need a plumbing permit from the City of Mississauga.
Permit in hand, a licensed, qualified plumber—such as the pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga—will then have to cut a hole in the concrete floor of your basement. It will be cut near the floor drain, where our plumbers will then dig down into your main drain line, remove a section of pipe, and replace it with a new backwater valve. Backwater mechanisms have a lid that can be removed for cleaning, and they also generally have a clear top. Those features allow you to check that there’s no debris inhibiting the mechanism from working properly.

What is a Backwater Valve Rebate?

After seeing the increased occurrence of floods after heavy rainfall in Mississauga, Peel implemented a basement flooding rebates program called the Sanitary Backwater Valve Rebate Program. Eligible homeowners in Mississauga can get up to $700 back after installing a backwater valve to protect against flooding and backed-up sewage.

To be eligible for the rebate program, you need to:

  • Live in Mississauga
  • Have reported basement flooding resulting from the rainstorms in the Region of Peel
  • Have proof of an insurance claim related to the flooding

  • Ask for an “Experience Letter” from your insurance company
  • OR confirm your home is located in an area prone to flooding
  • Not have previously obtained a subsidy from Peel Region through a different basement flooding rebate program

If you have not been flooded or don’t have proof of the incident, you can contact the Peel Region to confirm your eligibility.

How Can I Keep My Backwater Valve in Good Working Order?

If you’re concerned that your backwater device is not working correctly, you aren’t comfortable maintaining it on your own, or you think it needs replacing, it’s best to call professional plumbers. In some cases, licensed plumbers are required for backflow prevention services. However, there are also a few simple steps you can take to make sure your backwater valve is in good condition.

Basic Maintenance Steps:

  1. Open the cap and check for debris every two or three months or before a rainstorm. Wear protective gloves and goggles.

  2. Flush it with a bucket of water or a garden hose. This will remove any debris.

  3. If flushing does not remove grease or debris, use a sponge to scrub the inside clean.

  4. Once the inside is clean, replace the cap and ensure it’s secure.

What Should I Do if Something Goes Wrong?

The best way to prevent an issue with your backwater valve is through regular maintenance and professional drain cleaning. As long as the flap is in the correct position, there are no issues with the floats, and there isn’t an excess blockage, it should work as it’s designed to during a flood.
Since backwater valves are easily accessible and typically have a clear top, you should be able to see if there is any debris getting in the way. If you’re not comfortable with DIY maintenance, then it’s best to call professional plumbers for routine maintenance.
Keep in mind that during heavy rainfall or a flood, your backwater valve will close. While this is what you want to happen to prevent sewage from spilling into your home, it also means that water and waste can’t flow out of the house either. Although plumbing systems are designed with storage space, for this reason, you should still be careful. Otherwise, you could accidentally cause a sewer system backup During a rainstorm or an extreme period of snow melt, avoid:

  • Running your dishwasher
  • Using your laundry machine
  • Taking long showers

Why Choose Backwater Service from Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga?

Our company has more than 50 years of industry experience, and each of our plumbers is highly trained and qualified. We know how important a smoothly operating plumbing system is for the safety and well-being of your family. You count on having your waste efficiently moved out of your home and into the City of Mississauga’s sewer system. When it rains, you should feel safe in your home—not worried that a flood will destroy your basement and precious belongings. When your basic need for safety is compromised, it can put a huge amount of stress on you and your loved ones.
If you need help installing or maintaining a backwater valve, the team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga has it covered. Whether you've applied for a rebate or you want to take proactive measures to protect your home from flooding, we can make the process hassle-free and efficient—without compromising our quality workmanship.
In addition to being industry leaders that provide reliable and quality plumbing solutions, our team prides itself on outstanding customer service. There are a number of ways Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga goes above and beyond for our clients:

  • Wearing company uniforms so you always know who’s arrived at your property
  • Using a company vehicle as a sign of professionalism and transparency
  • Wearing booties to protect your floors from damage, dirt, and debris
  • Using mats to protect your home while we work
  • Offering both emergency services and scheduled appointments
  • Arriving promptly to your scheduled appointment or as soon as possible in an emergency
  • Offering upfront pricing and never charging for overtime
  • Offering a guarantee on our parts and services
  • Maintaining a tidy workspace and cleaning the job site before we leave
  • Consistently delivering outstanding customer service from the moment you call us to the moment we leave your home

Call Your Local Backflow Experts Today!

Whether you’ve experienced flooding in the last couple of years or you want to avoid the stress of an emergency situation, the pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga are the team for the job. Our experienced, qualified, and skillful plumbers can efficiently install your backwater valve so that you never have to worry about sewage backing up into your home. If your backwater valve has seen better days, we can provide maintenance and repair services as well.

To book an appointment or learn more, we invite you to give our friendly and courteous staff a call.