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Does My House Have a Sump Pump and/or Backwater Valve?

Mar 26, 2024 10:30:00 AM

Ensuring your home is equipped with essential flood prevention devices like a sump pump and backwater valve can be crucial for protecting your property. In this guide, we'll explain what these devices are, how they work, and how to locate them in your home.

What is a Backwater Valve?

A backwater valve is a plumbing device designed to prevent contaminated water from flowing backward into your home's clean water supply. It typically resembles a cylindrical or rectangular valve installed on your main water line. During instances of backflow, such as a sewer backup or water main break, the valve automatically closes to prevent contaminated water from entering your home, safeguarding your drinking water from pollutants and pathogens.

If your home was built before 1989, your home may not have a backwater valve installed.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a mechanical device installed in a pit or basin in your basement or crawl space. It's designed to pump out excess water that accumulates around your home's foundation, especially during heavy rainfall or snowmelt. Typically, a sump pump consists of a pump mechanism, a float switch, and a discharge pipe. When water levels rise in the pit, the float switch activates the pump, which then removes the water and directs it away from your home's foundation, preventing basement flooding.

Not all homes have sump pumps. If your home does not have a sump pump, it may be advantageous to consider installing one as a flood mitigation tool.

How to prevent flooding in homes

How Backwater Valves and Sump Pumps Prevent Flooding

Both the backwater valve and sump pump play critical roles in preventing flooding in your home. The backwater valve protects your clean water supply by blocking the reverse flow of contaminated water, while the sump pump removes excess water from around your home's foundation, reducing the risk of basement flooding during periods of heavy precipitation or rising groundwater levels.

How to Locate a Backwater Valve

Locating a backwater valve can be essential for regular maintenance and troubleshooting. The backwater valve is typically installed on your main water line, often near the water meter or inside the basement or utility room. Look for a cylindrical or rectangular device with pipes connected to it.

Epcor has put together an excellent video on how to find a backwater valve in your home.

How to Locate a Sump Pump

A sump pump is usually found in a pit or basin dug into the basement or crawl space floor. It's often located near the lowest point of your home's foundation and can be identified by its pump mechanism, float switch, and discharge pipe.

How to Locate a sump pump if you have one

During a heavy rain or snow melt, you may hear a sump pump engage and start to make noise. It will likely be located in your utility room or near your home's water heater.


Investing in essential flood prevention devices like a backflow valve and sump pump not only protects your home from water damage but can also lead to better insurance coverage and potential discounts. Having a backflow valve and/or sump pump in place can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your home is equipped to handle excess water and safeguard your property against potential flooding disasters.

If you're looking for help with a home insurance quote, talk to the experts at Armour Insurance today. We're here to help.

Call us 1-855-475-0959

Jake McCoy

Written by Jake McCoy


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