Building traps are common in many buildings in Scarborough. The older buildings especially may still have these devices, which can actually lead to the very problem they were designed to prevent: sewage backflow. If you are a Scarborough resident with building traps, you will need to have them replaced with more effective devices. But what are building traps and what can be done to remove them from your plumbing?

‘Building trap’ is a blanket term for a variety of devices that help keep materials out of the City’s sewage supply. They exist to ensure the sewage system is not overburdened with large objects and, in many cases, dangerous gases that could cause severe damage if gathered in large quantities. They are called traps because that’s exactly what they do: these devices filter out and contain materials, whether it’s harmful gases or a dead rat.

What’s Wrong With A Building Trap?

The problem with building traps is that they can gather a large amount of material in a short amount of time and never really get cleaned, meaning they can often clog up systems and cause sewage backflow. In some instances, the traps are literally impossible to clean due to their old-fashioned and poor design, making sewage backflow problems are inevitability rather than a possibility. Our Scarborough plumbers have replaced quite a number of building traps but many more still exist.

In some places, traps are required by city bylaws, although these are changing and are no longer mandatory in Scarborough buildings. Most buildings today have forgone building traps in the flavour of better, more effective devices. These can include backwater valves, which close off sewage lines from flowing backward instead of filtering out the system.

Why Use A Backwater Valve?

Backwater valves are more effective and simpler than the old building traps, using simple mechanics to close pipes off from materials flowing the wrong direction. They are essentially a valve on a hinge. When water or sewage pushes against the valve, which happens when it flows the wrong direction, the backwater valve snaps shut and stops sewage before it leaks into your home. They are quite simple devices but they do require professional installation and regular inspection since they are surprisingly fragile devices.

Using a professional plumber is also the only way to take advantage of the Scarborough backwater valve rebate program. The rebates are in limited quantities, but they can reimburse you for up to 80% of the total cost of a backwater valve installation, including labor. Since backwater valves are mandatory in many homes according to plumbers, Scarborough residents should contact a certified plumber about their backwater vales to ensure they are compliant with the plumbing code.

Building traps are outdated and ineffective. Their poor and out-dated design means that they have often caused the problems that they were designed to stop. Scarborough residents should replace their building traps as soon as possible with a more effective device: the backwater valve. It’s the only device that can help prevent sewage backflow and protect your building from expensive flooding.