When insurance doesn’t cut it: Backflow Devices as Insurance

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When flooding is preventative

Several years ago, my apartment was entirely flooded. Although it wasn’t a sewage flood,  I wish I had never had to deal with the events that followed, ranging from discussing things with insurance companies to replacing literally everything I owned. Alternating between staying at friend’s homes and motel rooms for several weeks while I waited for an apartment at my complex to open up was less than desirable.  I was able to rescue some of my photo albums, but they were damaged enough to the point that I sealed them in vacuum-pack bags, and now reside in my current garage. During a flood, there’s not much you can do to “fix” things if you haven’t done some preventative work, and although in my case I couldn’t have prevented it, I would never wish the experience on anyone.

In the event of a sStorm Draintorm, sewage systems can only pass so much water. While light rain has little effect, places like Arizona that have monsoon weather have sewage pipes that are hard-pressed to be able to expel that much water. The immediate influx of water fills storm drains and sewage lines.  With the normally arid environment, the land absorbs little of the torrential rainfall–and can leave home and business owners with water damaged basements, or worse, backed up sewage and the damage that comes with it.

Depending on your insurance, flood damage is not always covered by it. Even when your insurance does cover damage, some things simply are replaceable, and a flooded basement is an unnecessary headache when there are preventable options.

When a backflow evice is better than insurance

Speaking of,  there’s a pretty easy way to prevent that if you’re aware of the possible flood damage, as mentioned in Plumbing Engineer: installing a backflow prevention device on any pipe exiting your building that has the potential to back-up. Although backflow prevention devices are typically installed to keep non-potable water from entering back into the public water system, having one installed on a drain leaving the building can prevent water and flood damage to your home or commercial building. (Not to mention saving you a headache or two…or three!) This doesn’t apply to all flooding, but it’s worth a shot if you’ve experienced a flooded basement in the past.

Although not entirely inexpensive, installing this device could be one of the most cost-effective measures you take in preventative maintenance of your home or business. Some plumbers recommend installing a simple flap device which costs around $500-$600. However, the most effective way to ensure there is no backflow is installing a full gate valve device, which will run you about $1,500  to install–and long-term may save you thousands.

Unlike backflow prevention devices that are nationally mandated such as on irrigation devices or lines, many home owners bypass this option. They simply don’t realize the benefit of backflow devices as insurance against flooding.  Coming from someone who has dealt with a flood though, if you’re in a situation where flooding of sewage isn’t unheard of, I’d strongly recommend looking into installing a backflow prevention device. Preventative maintenance is one of the most worthwhile ways to ensure peace of mind.

At C3, we encourage you to be proactive. Don’t wait to be reactive.

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