With climate change on the rise, flash floods throughout the year, particularly in the rainy autumn months, are becoming an increasing problem across the world. Toronto is no exception: with our proximity to Lake Ontario and general low-lying geography, this city can be particularly prone to high water levels. In fact, way back in the 19th century, Toronto had earned the nickname of “Muddy York” (compared to our slightly drier friends to the south). With that in mind, it may come as little surprise that the city is now offering a $1,250 rebate on the installation of any new backwater valve. So the financial incentive is definitely there. However, you might still be wondering what exactly the purpose of a backwater valve is, and how it can help you and your family’s home stay safe and dry year-round.

What is a backwater valve?

Simply put, a backwater valve is a valve that prevents water from ever flowing backwards. It is attached to the sewer line leading out of your house and they make sure that everything you want to stay out does exactly that. In the event of sudden heavy rainfall, the municipal sewage system can sometimes be overwhelmed, causing flows to change direction. Without a backwater valve in place, that wastewater can turn right around and end up back in your drains–or worse, your home. This is achieved by adding an additional flap on the sewage line, which lies flat when water is flowing out, but is pushed up and blocks re-entry if the current ever reverses. Your risk of flooding is increased if you have a basement, or if your ground floor is less than a foot from street level.

How to install a backwater valve

If you are planning on building a new home, you are definitely in luck! Backwater valves can be fitted to any new construction for incredibly low costs. However, if you are living in an older building, you can still have one installed. This is where the city’s rebate comes into play. If you decide that you want to install a backwater valve, your first step is to speak to a member of the municipal government, to be fully informed of any regulations that might affect your specific living area. For instance, if the installation will require you to disconnect from the drain, you might need a sump pump. Your next step is to contact an experienced, professional plumber. We can talk you through the process and address any concerns you might have.

Installing a backwater valve is an excellent choice for any homeowner living near the lake, or with a basement or low-lying first floor. Rest assured that Mother Nature may do her worst, and you and your family will stay clean and dry. For more information about backwater valve installation, or any other plumbing service we offer, contact Priority Plumbing today.