Should I Install A Backwater Valve Or A BackFlow Prevention Valve?

Backflow prevention valves and backwater valves are both used in homes so don’t get confused if your plumber is installing both. Here’s some helpful information on whether you need them in your Hamilton property.

What is a Backwater Valve?

This valve is installed on the sewage line where it connects to the city sewage line (mains). It stops sewage from coming back up your line and appearing in your basement floor drains, shower drains or toilets. It senses the change of flow direction and closes when a reverse flow is detected.

This can happen if the city sewage system gets overloaded by a major storm or a quick spring melt or if the city sewage line gets blocked. 

This name is sometimes given to a backwater valve which can cause confusion as it serves a different purpose.  A backflow preventer is installed on the clean water supply line. If dirty or non-potable finds its way into a clean line this causes potentially dangerous contamination of the city’s clean water supply. 

What is a Backflow Prevention Valve? 

So, in a nutshell, the difference between a backwater valve and a backflow prevention valve is:

Backwater valve: this stops sewer water from entering your system if the city’s lines are full.

Backflow prevention valve: this stops your dirty/contaminated water from finding its way into the clean water supply of your town or city. 

To Install Or Not To Install

Depending on which municipality you live in there are different legislative requirements relating to backwater valves and backflow prevention valves. Backwater valves are recommended but not legislated but check with your insurance company if you can obtain rebates if you install backwater valves. 

In the City of Toronto and in Halton Region, newly built homes and all commercial buildings must be fitted with backflow prevention valves. If you have a home that was built prior to this requirement it is advisable to plan towards it as the requirement will phase towards including all homes.

In some regions, e.g. Peel Region, it is currently required for businesses or institutions to have backflow prevention valves if their processes involve certain categories of chemicals. An example of such an industry would be an industrial laundromat (dyes and chlorine), hospitals etc.

Peels bylaw states the every building owner shall self-fund a backflow survey by a qualified person to assess which backflow device is required. Proof of the assessment must be submitted to the region within 14 days of the survey. For moderate hazards, surveys must be repeated every 5 years and severe hazards need repeating every 3 years.

If you need an assessment done in, need a backflow prevention valve installed or want an installation of a backwater valve in Hamilton call the Rooter Team for a free estimate today [insert contact page hyperlink]! The Rooter team is a highly trained team of licensed and experienced professional plumbers who are specialized in Backflow Prevention and Back Water Valves!

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