Backwater Valve Installation and Use

living room that's flooded with text overlay that says backwater valve installation and use
The 411 on Backwater Valve Installation and Use

You probably remember the 2013 Toronto flood very well. Tens of thousands of people were without power for days and a public transport train got caught in the high water. It was bad news all over the place. But one small fixture - or the lack of it - in the different homes in the Toronto area greatly influenced just how bad the news was on an individual level. Backwater valves are of the utmost importance in flooding situations and normal rainy days alike. Do you know what they're about? Some people avoid backwater valve installation because they don't realize exactly how important these valves can be. The valves act as a deterrent against flood, preventing water from coming back into your home when it's compiling outside. Despite how devastating floods like the one in 2013 in Toronto are, there are ways to be better prepared. A backwater valve represents one big way. Still, many people aren't sure of the basics of We've got you covered from A to Z. Here's everything you need to know about backwater valve installation and use. But, before we started let's review what a backwater valve is.

What is a Backwater Valve?

A backwater valve is a small device that prevents sewage from backing up into your basement when the main sewer line is overloaded and backed up. The valve is designed to automatically close when sewage starts backing up from the main sewer line. Simply put, the backwater valve helps to keep sewage overflow stay out of your home. A backwater valve is also commonly referred to as a sewer backwater valve, mainline backflow preventer, and backflow prevention valve.

Why Have a Backwater Valve?

Of all the common residential services that a plumbing company offers, none is more important than backwater valve installation. A backwater valve is a key insurer of the safety of your home. Generally, the valve is placed in areas where water might build up near the bottom of your home outside. That often means a basement, but can also mean the first floor at the bottom of a hill. The idea behind the valve is simple: no water can come back into your home during a flood while the valve is in place. That might seem like a good idea but won't apply to your life. Even though events like the 2013 floods do happen, they seem more like something that happens once in a lifetime. Would backwater valve installation really be necessary? Yes, for a couple of reasons. On the one hand, those events haven't been so rare in recent years. You probably know that the spring of 2017 was flooded with floods in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario. It seems that more and more places in Canada are becoming vulnerable to major flood problems with every passing year. But, those events are still rare enough that you could treat that as one-off floods, not something you need to constantly prepare for. Coincidentally, backwater valve installation can play a role in your daily life, too. For most homes, a flood is not the craziest thing that could happen in any given year. In fact, backwater valves can help any home during a storm that diverts just slightly from the mean. If your home is not fully flood-proof, backwater valve installation can provide the added blanket of security you need to get through a storm. Even a few inches of water piling up in your basement can cause headaches for you, not to mention high repair costs. The choice is ultimately yours, but there are many good reasons to install a backwater valve. Depending on where you live, you may get a little push from the government.

Am I Legally Supposed to Have A Backwater Valve?

The laws around backwater valve installation vary from region to region, despite how important they are to every household. In many places in Canada and the States, it is legally mandated for you to install a valve in your home. That's not the case in Toronto, for example. In the great city of Toronto, for all its global importance, it is not legally mandated that you must go through backwater valve installation. Instead, you go through the simple process of applying for a permit. The application process is not burdensome but suggests that a backwater valve is not mandated by the government. In other parts of the great nation of Canada, the rules differ. In Ottawa, for example, the local governments are often willing to subsidize any payments for backwater valve installation. That can be a helpful handful of cash, given that floods are truly possible in this day and age. But, in other areas around the nation, backwater valves are often pushed to the back burner, at least from a legal perspective. Luckily, despite how different interpretations of backwater valve laws are around the country, in all likelihood we're available wherever you are. Our locations around the country are designed to provide useful service to people in different climates, from mountain settings to shore folks to urban dwellings. That means we're able to help out a business or a residential setting alike. Check out our locations to see if we're nearby or call Mr. Rooter Plumbing Toronto to speak directly with a backwater valve installation specialist. We can walk you through backwater valve installations, from start to finish. That's right, there won't be any mystery about it.

How the Backwater Valve Works

A quick review before diving into a bit of the nitty-gritty. The purpose of backwater valve installation is to prevent water from pouring back into your home during a flood scenario. But that doesn't mean it'll always be doing just that. In fact, most of the time, it just sits there, like a kind of insurance. You only need it when you really need it. Let's take a step back and look at your house's drainage from a bird's eye view. Usually, water that builds up around your home goes out through the main sewage drain. A lot of stuff goes in there, from wastewater to water from storms and everything in between. Usually, when functioning normally, that won't be a problem for your drain. But sometimes, all that liquid and waste can prove too much for your main drain route. That obviously is prone to happen during a flood, when there's more water in and around your house than usual. But, it's also possible for that to happen on a regular day. If it does, the valve will be ready to help. When the main drain becomes clogged, the buildup will threaten to push back into your pipes, if not ultimately spill into your home. The backwater valve will sense when your water levels are too high in the main drain. The valve has flaps which, when the sensors detect too much water, will flip. They'll prevent any kind of water from streaming back into your home. Instead, the water will be pushed back outside. Your future home with a backwater valve will stay dry when it might not have otherwise. But now let's get less hypothetical. Let's talk about what backwater valve installation will be like for you.

Where Should a Backwater Valve Go?

Again, a valve should go generally in areas where it can be placed in line with your plumbing pipes. Check out this video from the Canadian government. As it shows, backwater valve installation is not a simple job for any person to do. It's definitely a job for a licensed local Toronto plumber to do! But, having said that, it's still very clear what is happening. The plumbers in the video are in the basement, which is generally where the installation occurs. In reality, the installation also occurs a few feet below ground level. Starting from the basement level, the valve is lowered down into the sewage system of pipes that runs beneath your house. It's the best place to connect all the water flow that happens in a house, and it's also the spot where your pipes connect with the public pipe system. It's not too difficult to understand. However, the video also shows that the whole process requires high levels of technical skill. That's why we're here to help.

How Long Does Installation Take?

In general, for the process of backwater valve installation, as we do it, the timeline depends on each case. A few promises that do apply to your house, regardless of other factors. One, it will take more than one visit from us. If you remember from the video, we'll need to inspect your pipes before installing a valve (plus, you may need to get a permit). Two, it won't take forever. We recognize that homeowners don't enjoy having plumbing installations taking forever in their own homes. We provide service that's efficient and effective. Still, that time frame might not be perfect for you. There's something more you should know: it doesn't require shutting down your house to install the backwater valve. You can still do everything else you need to do in your daily routine. Once you let us in, you won't need to worry about us, and we'll let you know when we're done. We'll just be in the basement in the meantime You might have one more final question about installation with us.

How Much Does Backwater Valve Installation Cost?

Once again, this question demands a number of answers which changes from person to person. For small homes, sewer backflow valve installation costs can be a few hundred dollars. For larger projects that require the installation of a few valves, higher costs can exist. The final cost of a backwater valve installation will also depend on the presence of local government subsidies. We'll be sure to offer affordable rates that get the job done for you. You'll also need to think about the cost of regular visits from us every few years to make sure that the backwater valve is working properly as part of your Toronto home maintenance. A local Toronto Plumber can quickly check your valve through the backwater valve access box and determine if you require any sewer backflow valve maintenance. A quick checkup can help prevent sewer backflow valve problems such as sewer backflow valve failure. And, in all likelihood, you'll be saving much more money in the long run than you spend on installation costs.

The Long-Term Savings

There are a few ways that having a backwater valve can help reduce your living costs over time. The first one is more obvious. In the event of a disastrous flood that enters your basement, you'll be left with several big costs to deal with. One is the cost of emergency services. When disaster strikes, it could be inconvenient or untimely for any company to rush over and stop a gush of water into your basement. They'll come over, but it could be very expensive in the end. In the same setting, damage from the flood will also demand repairs. Depending on your basement, that could mean replacing furniture or rugs, if not redoing whole floors entirely. Making a big repair like that could be heart-wrenching that can't be equated with a monetary loss. So, backwater valves help you avoid hypothetical huge costs. But they also help you reduce costs now, in the present. Insurance plans are tricky, there's no doubt about it. But, across countries and time, one thing is true about any insurance provider: they like clients with less risk. It's more expensive to insure a young driver with car insurance than it is to do the same with a forty-five-year-old with a spotless record. The same applies here. If you have a backwater valve, your home is less likely to be affected by natural disasters. The risk is lower. That means an insurance provider will be more likely to give you an affordable plan. That's a real-life cost reduction in the present. And it's just another reason to get a backwater valve.

Get Started on Your Backwater Valve Installation Today

If you didn't know about backwater valves before, then it's a good thing you're well-informed now. Or, if you were on the fence about the importance of backwater valve installation, then it's better to be certain about the need. Going through backwater valve installation might bring about an annoying upfront cost in the present. But that shouldn't shield you from the truth. That cost right now will prevent the need for more costly repairs after flood damage. A home is an important place. Not tending to it or leaving it vulnerable to natural disasters only increases the risk that you might need to abandon it someday. That's why investments like backwater valve installation are so important. Installation is an important logistical move. But it also represents peace of mind. We can take you through the whole process, from start to finish. Our team is full of experts who know how to provide quality service at an affordable rate. Want to learn more about backwater valve installation or schedule it for your Toronto home? Reach out to our team today.