Home plumbing probably doesn’t make the top ten things you think about on a daily basis and backflow probably doesn’t make the top thousand. However, it is a great idea to become educated on this topic as it can happen in any area and to any home.
You would probably completely flip out if you turned on a faucet and saw brownish, smelly water pouring from it--and with the best plumbing devices to prevent backflow, you’ll never have to!
We’re going to discuss what backflow is and how it’s prevented, as well the tools to stop this problem from occurring in your home! Keep reading for more information!
To Begin: What is Backflow?
Since backflow isn’t a topic that is commonly discussed, it is totally acceptable for you to be unsure of what it is. To define backflow simply, it is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water and liquids into your home.
This reversal of water flow can come from many sources including industrial waste, fluids, and chemicals, gases, or any other substance that is not meant to mix with potable water.
This problem occurs most often when there is a sudden drop in the air pressure of the pipes. This is seen when fire suppressant systems are used, when there is a break in the main water line, and any other time that the pressure in a tank is lower than the water pressure of the whole system.
Air Gaps as Backflow Preventers
Air gap backflow preventers are common and inexpensive backflow preventers. They are also a non-mechanical way of providing backflow prevention.
Air gaps can be made of readily available plumbing materials to meet the fixture’s needs, that allows for a literal gap of air between two pieces of plumbing to stop dirty water from backing up into the one or the other.
It might sound complicated, but think of a kitchen sink and its drain: when the water flows from the faucet, even if the sink backs up, the space between the sink’s flood line and the faucet will ensure that the potable water and wastewater never meet. Of course, this might be an oversimplification of things but it can help you imagine what an air gap does!
Pressure Vacuum Breakers as Backflow Preventers
A pressure vacuum breaker is a device that is typically part of your irrigation system. Like air gap backflow preventers, their main purpose is to keep contaminated water from coming into contact with potable water.
These preventers work a bit differently, though. A pressure vacuum breaker consists of two main parts: the valve and an air inlet or vented chamber.
It is typically installed at the highest point in the yard and near the water source. The valve is designed to keep the air inlet closed while allowing water to flow during normal conditions. If the air pressure becomes greater than the water pressure, the vented chamber opens and closes the check valve to prevent water backflow.
Choosing The Best Backflow Preventer For Your Home
There are quite a few other devices on the market that vary greatly in price and performance. The key to finding the best one for your home is to figure out what you can spend and to speak with a plumber.
These devices aren’t the kind of devices that are optional or simply a luxury--they are lifesaving and can help keep everyone in your family from becoming sick with a waterborne illness.
We understand that a blog might not tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about backflow prevention, but it is a great start. One of the easiest things you can do it call Performance Plumbing for a backflow consultation so we can see what, if any backflow preventer device you have and to help decide on a new one.
Although you might not ever need a device, it is important to have one in case you do. The last thing you want to do is to drink contaminated water unknowingly or give it to your child or pet! We encourage you to keep your home backflow free by calling Performance Plumbing for testing, certification, and all other plumbing needs!