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How to Prevent Sewer Backups from Happening in the Future

A sewer back-up can be a terrible experience. It’s something you shoulnt have to deal with. So, here are some tips you can follow so your house is safe from backups that stem from major drain problems and heavy storms.

Here are ways that you can prevent the nasty sewer back-ups in the future:

Sewer Backups During A Storm

The cause of sewer back-ups aren’t always caused by broken or clogged drains. A heavy rainstorms can also cause this problem. Due to Toronto’s old infrastructures, heavy storms are one of the major problems basement floods. In many parts of the city a combined sewer system is still in use. They connect stormwater and household waste together. It’s attached to residential sewer lines, since the system deals with household waste. So, basement sewage back-ups become inevitable whenever the combined system gets overwhelmed.

The solution to prevent or stop this from happening is to install a backwater valve. This device is also called a backflow valve or backflow prevention device. The valve is placed in your sewer lateral to stop any back-up from getting to your home drains.

the city’s sewer system is connected to your private plumbing through the main sewer line. The line is meant to be a passage that allows for household waste to exit from drains and into the city sewer system. However, as easy as its able to exit your drain, nothing preventing the contents of the sewer system from finding its way back up into those same drains.

The backwater valve creates a barrier between your home drains and the city’s system. A cap is placed in the sewer lateral that blocks anything coming from the city’s end from pushing its way through, all the while making sure that household waste can quickly exit. The device turns the two-way passage into a one-way.

You can get a professional to help install a backwater valve into your sewer lateral. If you’re worried about the price of the installation, the City of Toronto you offers a basement flooding protection program to get a subsidy for the backwater valve and an alarm. The subsidy offers approximately 80% of the invoiced costs, which covers aspects like materials, permits, taxes and labour costs. You are able to receive a maximum of $1,250.

A sewer back-up and flooding program is also offered by The city of Markham. It allows homeowners to get rebates for installing flood prevention devices in their homes. For indoor installations, they offer a total of $1,750. And for outdoor installations, they are offering a total of $2,000.

It is also suggested by the city of Toronto to also install an alarm with the backwater valve. You shouldn’t send any waste down the drain when the valve is stopping sewage back-up from coming up the drains. The passageway will be full. You’re not going to want to install this device to prevent back-up from entering your basement, and then unintentionally cause the same problem with your own waste. The alarm alert you when the valve is doing its job so that you can act accordingly:

  • Don’t flush your toilets
  • Don’t send water down the sink
  • Don’t do your laundry
  • Don’t have a shower or bath
  • Don’t pour anything down the drain

Sewer Backups Caused By Clogs

Sewer backups can also be caused by clogs. This usually occurs in sinks, showers, or pool and can usually be fixed with a plunger, a drain snake or some hot water. However, a sewer drain clog is a much bigger problem. These are some of the signs of a sewer drain clog that will help you identify the issue before a plumber arrives:

  • Multiple drains around the house are clogged
  • The toilets gurgle
  • The water level in the toilet rises when the sink tap is on
  • The toilet or shower drain backs up when the washing machine is on
  • Back-up appears in shower, tub or floor drain
  • Strong sewage odour

If you notice any of these signs, you should call a plumber right away.

One other reason for sewage back-ups is tree root intrusion. This is a clog caused by tree roots growing inside of your main line. The size of the clog can be substantial, especially if it’s gone unaddressed for a long time.

The last reason that could cause sewage back-up coming through your drains is a crack, break or disjoint in the main line. Main lines are made out of clay and since the material is brittle they are very susceptible to this type of physical damage.