Due to the climate in Mississauga and Etobicoke, where a high amount of annual rainfall and storms that can cause flash floods are common, backwater prevention and backwater valve installation are two things that we get asked about relatively frequently. These two terms do sound very similar and they’ve virtually become interchangeable, but the belief that they refer to the same thing is a common misconception. They are two separate pieces of plumbing technology that perform different roles and during this article we’re going to explain that difference.
What is a Backwater Valve Installation?
You may personally know someone that has been a victim of basement flooding or you may have been unfortunate enough to have experienced it in your own property. Basement flooding commonly occurs during storms as the public sewage system backs up and the sewage exits at the closest point, which is typically a residential sewage line. This is allowed to happen because there’s nothing stopping it and if you’ve been wondering whether there’s anything you can do, there is – invest in a backwater valve installation. This piece of technology will prevent basement flooding by sealing off your sewage line when backflow is detected.
How Does Backwater Prevention Differ?
You could be forgiven for thinking that backwater prevention was exactly the same as what we’ve just described, but it’s not. Rather than protecting your basement area from the unwanted backflow of sewage, backwater preventers are designed to protect your property’s water supply. You may not be aware, but should certain conditions arise it’s possible that the flow of your water supply line could reverse temporarily and your main water supply could become contaminated, sometimes without you even being aware that anything is wrong. Having backwater prevention technology installed ensures that this never happens, as it makes sure that the water flowing along this supply line can only flow in one direction; the right direction.
Why Does Backflow Occur?
Shouldn’t water systems always flow in the right direction though? The answer is obviously yes, but sometimes exceptional circumstances arise that can cause backflow. For backflow in your sewage line, these include:
- Storms and Flash Floods – When your local area receives an extremely high amount of rainfall in a very short period, backflow can occur. This is because public sewer systems simply can’t process the sheer amount of water flowing into them and so the water has to find somewhere else to escape to. This “somewhere else” is typically your home!
- Serious Blockage – If the public sewer system becomes seriously blocked, which can occur if it’s not properly maintained, it can cause the water to back up and flow in the direction of your home.
For backflow in your water supply line, these include:
- Back Pressure – This is when an abnormal amount of pressure builds in your property’s water system, causing it to exceed the pressure in the water main. Possible causes of this include the installation of a new appliance in the home that is particularly demanding or damage to the public water main.
- Back-Siphonage – If any of the water inlets in your home become fully submerged and the public water main loses pressure, this could cause a temporary reverse in flow and cause the liquid the inlet is submerged under to be sucked up and filtered into the public water main.