How backwater valves can save your home from ruin

Posted on Posted in Design and Renovation, Household Tips

(NC) There are many unfortunate events that can affect homeowners, but sewer backup may be one of the worst. Occurring when the municipality’s main sewer system is over capacity, such as during a heavy rain storm, sewer backup means sewage can get pushed into a home through the main drain pipe. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you’d think.

To help prevent this problem, ask about the potential for sewer backup in the area when purchasing a house. Of course, while it’s preferable to live in an area where this isn’t an issue, sometimes it’s unavoidable.

“Severe weather damage claims paid by Canadian insurers increased more than 13 fold over the past 30 years,” says Glenn Cooper of Aviva Insurance. “Installing a backwater valve system is one of the best measures you can take to avoid excess water damage in your basement,” adds Cooper.

A backwater valve can be the difference between having a dry basement and being knee-deep in dirty water during a storm. Also commonly referred to as a backflow valve, it can be added to your plumbing to prevent sewer water from entering your home. They’re self-operating and allow water to flow from one direction only, which prevents back-ups when the municipality’s sewer systems are overloaded.

If you’re unsure if you need one, you can talk to your builder or plumber to weigh the pros and cons of installation. Having a backwater valve is especially important if you live in an area prone to sewer backup.

Although installation is straightforward and can likely be completed by many DIY-ers, it’s best to leave it to a professional. Knowing that the valve is installed and working correctly is worth the amount of money needed to pay a licensed contractor or plumber to install it. Check to see if your municipality has a subsidy program available for homeowners.

Find more information through your insurance broker or online at