Professional Plumbing Tips

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Be Wary of Backflow Hazards at Home

Backflow is a potentially serious problem that can affect your home water supply’s usage, which can harm you and anyone else who may reside on your property. It is important to understand how to prevent it, recognize it, and to contact a professional plumber before small problems escalate.

close-up of water splashing

Backflow and Prevention

Backflow is simply the reversal of flow in a potable water system. Its causes can be complex and sometimes subtle, and you may not always be aware that backflow is occurring. Regardless, backflow can be a danger to human health, especially if the reversal of flow includes sewage or toxic materials.

Backflow can take several forms. For example, backflow can take shape of a siphon, where a contaminated fluid is drawn into the potable water system. Alternatively, backflow can also occur when a high-pressure source forces contaminants into the water supply.

To prevent backflow from happening, prevention devices should be installed at strategic locations within a water system. There are several backflow prevention devices that can be used:

  • Air gap – The simplest form of backflow prevention available, it works by introducing space to separate potable water from contaminants.
  • Check valve – This valve allows fluids to flow only in one direction. Since some contaminants can still slip through a single check valve, a double check valve provides much better protection.
  • Vacuum breaker – A vacuum breaker is a mechanical device that introduces an air gap if a backflow situation occurs as a last chance safety measure.

Backflow Regulations and Maintenance

Depending on local laws and plumbing codes, backflow prevention devices must be installed in residential plumbing systems. This is especially common when sprinkler systems are in use and whenever other circumstances could compromise the safety of a potable water system.

Backflow prevention devices require professional knowledge for installation and maintenance. A licensed plumber can help and easily check regularly for this issue. For more information about backflow and prevention devices for your water system or to schedule an appointment for routine plumbing maintenance to prevent backflow to save your water supply, contact us today.

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