Backwater Valve Installation

Backwater valves can prevent water backup if the main sewer lines start to overflow with water.
Living in Toronto has its ups and downs. One of the most common occurrences in Toronto is flooding. Without protection, basements are exposed to all kinds of flooding. All it takes is one heavy rainstorm to flood an unprotected basement. With a rainstorm, the city’s sewer lines can be overpressured, resulting in the sequence of water backup going to your home. Luckily, there is a device that is equipped to counter potential water backup and flooding. That device is a backwater valve.

What is a backwater valve?

A backwater valve is a device that is capable of preventing water backup (and flooding) to your property. How does it do this? The valve uses a flap to allow water to exit your home. This forces wastewater to strictly flow away from your property instead of going back to it. When the main sewer becomes overwhelmed, a backwater valve prevents water from flowing into your home. The flap kicks into action by encouraging water to leave your home while also venting gases. If water attempts to re-enter your home, There are also flotation devices on each side of the flap that causes it to open and close, freely allowing water to leave your home without backing up. Once the line is no longer under pressure, the gate of the valve opens up and allows water to flow as usual.

The backwater works with a variety of the appliances in your home including your sinks and toilets and it is top-tier when it comes to preventing water backup for your home. On top of this, it is easy to monitor a backwater valve as it has a clear cover to view its functionality. Through the clear cover, one can also manually adjust the valve if required. 

How is a backwater valve installed?

A backwater valve is directly installed on your sewer line to allow water and sewage to flow out of your home. In uncommon cases, the valve can be installed on the outside of the home with a suitably graded pipe to support the installation. Some valves come with the development of newer homes or they can be retrofitted into existing homes. However, initially building a backwater valve is notably cheaper than retrofitting it, as initial installation can cost $150-250 while retrofitting can cost up to $2000. 

All of the newly constructed homes require the install of backwater valves. However, some homes may not require a backwater valve if it is at least 24” above the closest street manhole. If your home is 24”+ above the closest sewer manhole, you will not experience basement flooding caused by sewer backups as all of your home’s plumbing fixtures are above street level.

Before installation you are recommended to:

  • Identify if you need any other local permit for installation from your municipal government
  • Ensure that your drain and downspouts do not connect to weeping tiles and the sanctuary sewer near your home
  • Contact Plumber Toronto Pro to inquire about our backwater valve installation
  • DO NOT attempt to conduct installation by yourself, unless you are licensed and thoroughly understand the procedure 
  • Disconnect any eavestroughs that may be connected to your sewer system and drain them away from your home
If you decide to install a backwater valve after the initial construction of your home, you will need a municipal plumbing permit. Once you obtain this permit, a plumbing professional from Plumber Toronto Pro will be able to provide you with installation services. The backwater valve will be installed on the sewer line of your basement to prevent water from backing up into your home. The plumber will dig into the main sewer line from the main floor drain. They will then cut out a piece of sewer line and insert the new valve into it. The valve will then be ready for use including viewing its functionality through its transparent cover.

Installing a backwater valve can be a lengthy process; we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible if your home does not have a backwater valve..

How often should I check on my backwater valve?

Your backwater valve experiences a significant amount of backup even after just one day of rain. Every 2-3 months you should check up on your valve, to ensure that it is working effectively. To maintain the condition of your backwater valve, we recommend that you consider the following steps:
  1. Remove the cleanout plug and visually inspect the top of the valve
  2. Use a flashlight to investigate the condition inside of the valve’s body
  3. Look for debris build-up in the valve’s body
  4. Cleanout the debris from the valve’s body, if debris is found
  5. Investigate the condition of the o-ring and replace it if it is worn out.
  6. Check if the gate of the valve is properly opening and closing.
  7. Reattach the cleanout plug once you have finished inspection
By completing these steps, you can maintain the condition and functionality of your backwater valve.

Toronto Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program

With climate change on the rise, rainfalls will be more common than ever. The City of Toronto has acknowledged this by making it easier for single-family, duplex or triplex residential home owners to install flood protection fixtures. Subsidies of up to $3400 per property can be provided by the city to install flood prevention devices including backwater valves.

The subsidies that include backwater valves are:

  • Installation of Backwater Valves: 80% of invoiced costs, up to $1250 provided for installation
  • Installation of Backwater Valves and Sump Pump: 80% of invoiced costs, up to $2800 provided for installation

What should I do if my backwater valve stops working?

If your backwater valve is successfully installed, then you do not have to worry about it malfunctioning. Our team at Plumber Toronto Pro will ensure that the installation is completed successfully. However, if you experience any difficulties or issues with the valve you should contact us as soon as possible.

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