The installation of backflow prevention devices is a great way to prevent basement flooding because the valves engage to stop rising water in the sewers from flowing back into your home. To completely flood-proof your Toronto home, however, you need to install backwater valve alarms to complement the use of the devices. Here’s why:
How a Backflow Prevention Valve Works
Backflow valves work by closing off the plumbing outlets that carry water from your home so water from municipal drains can’t enter through them. When there’s a flood, the level of the water in the public drainage system can rise above the level of your outlets, and flow back into the house through sink drains, showers, toilets, and tubs. It’s an excellent way to prevent flooding, but it’s not enough on its own.
Resetting the Valve After Use
Once your backflow valve is activated, it requires resetting in order to open it up again. If you don’t do so you might not get flooded by water coming into your home, but you can certainly create a local flood by using water than can’t get out. If the valve is closed and you’re unaware of it, emptying a bathtub or having a long shower could cause an internal flood instead.
Sounding the Alarm
That’s when you need backwater valve alarms, so your flood prevention system can alert you to the fact that your valve has been activated and needs attention before you carry on with your normal water usage. This works by replacing the cap of each valve with a modified cap containing sensors, which are connected by wire to a battery-operated alarm box mounted in your home. Whenever the backwater valve is engaged, the alarm gives out a loud sound that alerts you to the fact.
Comprehensive Flood Prevention
If you live in a flood-affected part of Toronto, it’s probably worth your while to install a comprehensive flood prevention system. This usually consists of:
- Backflow prevention valves, wherever outlets are below ground level or in other places vulnerable to water entry
- A sump pump, to get rid of excess water trapped by the backflow valves so it doesn’t form pools around your foundations
- Backwater valve alarms, to let you know when the valves are engaged and need your attention
- An alternative dispersal point for getting rid of accumulated floodwaters ejected by the sump pump.
It sounds like a lot of work and expense, but if your home is particularly vulnerable to flooding, your lower insurance premium and less frequent deductibles may well balance the cost of installing a comprehensive flood prevention system. With Toronto’s basement flooding crisis expected to worsen over the next 20 years, these measures will surely help to lessen the inconvenience of regular flooding and foundation repair.