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Backflow Valves: What it is and how it can prevent basement flooding

Anta Plumbing Toronto master plumbers combine years of experience with our city’s wet and cold winter climates that leave many homes flooded every year. For that reason, we always warn clients to winterize their homes before the first rains. Sometimes, homes are built on flood-prone sites that place them in jeopardy. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to prevent flooding, including installing a backwater valve.

Some of our top tips that can protect your sanitary system and your home include the following:

● Grade your lot in such a way that water is directed away from the foundations.
● Repair holes or cracks in your basement floors and walls.
● Disconnect the downspouts so that water is directed away from the house and onto the lawn instead.
● Consider collecting rainwater in a rain barrel.
● Keep your sewers in good working order with regular cleaning and preventing unsuitable materials and objects from entering your drains.

While it doesn’t stop flooding, insurance coverage can minimize losses in the event of water damage. Read your policy documents or discuss “broad water coverage” and “sewer backup coverage” which is not automatically included in your coverage.

What’s a Backwater Valve and How Does It Work?

If you don’t have a backflow valve, raw sewage can back up into your basement and into your sinks, tubs and toilets. This happens all the time in some homes with heavy rain. Difficult and costly to repair, the damage also poses critical health hazards. However, a backwater valve on your mainline can save the day.

Although the city works hard to keep the sewer main lines clean and operational, backups can still happen. If your lowest drain is 24″ or less above your nearest upstream manhole, you may be susceptible to sewage backups. A backflow valve can help prevent the risk.

A backflow valve is usually installed in a sewer lateral, inside an access box that makes it easy to maintain. It is important to inspect your valve every three months, or whenever you suspect it has closed. This is easy too, as you simply have to look into the clear plastic lid. If there is debris, you can remove the screw-off cap and clean it out.

Also known as backflow prevention devices or check valves, the backwater valve is installed at the point where the sanitary pipe exits your home. The valve normally allows wastewater to flow out of your property to the main municipal sanitary sewer near the street. When the sewer is backed up and the wastewater flows back toward the house, the valve will close, preventing it from re-entering the home, and thus preventing flooding.

Anta Plumbing has installed many Backwater Valves in and around the City of Toronto. It is essential to hire a professional City of Toronto licensed plumber to take care of this plumbing installation, which if done right, can save you thousands of dollars in damages. If is a small investment that can make a big difference in your peace of mind as a homeowner.

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