Should You Get a Backflow Valve for Your Basement? Yes. Here’s Why.

Written by on 2017-12-08 11:31 AM . It has 0 Comments.

A finished basement

By now everyone has likely seen articles about why water is the number one claim issue in Canada today. We’ve written many articles already about water exclusions, how water is challenging the insurance industry, and how spring thaw affects homes. In this article we're looking in depth into a preventative measure most homeowners can take to save their homes and their finished basements: The Backflow Value.

What Are Backflow Valves?

This little device, suitable for most homes, is installed on your waste water line. It is equipped with a valve that allows water to exit the home then shuts to prevent waste water from re-entering your home through the same pipe. During times of excessive rain a city’s sewer line could be inundated with water, causing the storm drains and sewer lines to back up. This sends water back into a home.

It doesn’t take a heavy rain to back up the sewer lines of a home. Tree roots, collapsed sewer lines, and inappropriate items flushed down the toilet can all lead to sewer backups. If your basement is finished as a recreation room, extra bedrooms, or as a rental unit and it gets flooded you could find yourself in the middle of restorations for a long period of time.

How Long Does it Take to Restore a Flooded Basement?

A typical flooded basement claim can take a few months to complete because of the many different steps to restore the area, depending on if it was a finished living space, and what kind of contamination occurred. Here are few things that need to be done:

  • Removal of all furniture or stored items
  • Waste water contamination requires further cleanup activities
  • Mould remediation work to prevent mould build up
  • Drying out of basement
  • Clearing out of drywall and performing inspections 
  • Dry walling, mudding, sanding, painting
  • Replacing of furniture, appliances, furnace if necessary

Each of these actions, depending on the severity of the flood, could take a day or a month. Having a backflow valve, otherwise known as a backwater valve, can help reduce the likelihood and severity of a sewer backup claim.

What Kinds of Backwater Valves are Available?

Any backwater, or back-flow, valves that operate as a plug are not recommended, as per the Insurance Bureau of Canada. This is because they “…can allow sewer backup pressure to build beneath your basement floor. This can potentially cause structural damage to your home.”

How do I Get a BackFlow Valve Installed?

Hire a licenced plumber to do this job. He or she should also be aware of any municipal rebates and some insurance companies offer discounts off of home insurance if you have a backflow valve installed. Call your broker for more details.

Have any questions? Please write a comment below.

Thanks for reading.


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