Backflow Prevention: Why It Matters For Plumbing Systems

12 January 2024
 Categories: , Blog

As a homeowner or business owner, you may not think about your plumbing system until there's a problem. However, one issue that you should take seriously is backflow. Backflow occurs when wastewater or other harmful substances flow back into your drinking water supply, contaminating it and potentially causing serious health problems. That's why backflow prevention is crucial for any plumbing system. Let's explore what backflow is, why it's dangerous, and what you can do to prevent it from occurring.

What Is Backflow?

Backflow is the reversal of the normal flow of water in a plumbing system, which can cause contaminated water to flow back into your water supply. This can happen when the water pressure in your pipes changes, causing a backflow event. This can occur from events such as a burst pipe, a fire hydrant in use, or even flushing a toilet. When this happens, wastewater or other harmful substances can enter your drinking water supply.

Why Is Backflow Dangerous?

If backflow occurs, contaminated water can enter your drinking water supply, leading to serious health problems. The contamination can come from various sources, including pesticides, fertilizers, sewage, and chemicals. These substances can cause gastrointestinal illness, respiratory problems, and other health issues. Additionally, if your plumbing system is connected to a fire sprinkler system, backflow can cause a malfunction in the sprinkler system, which can be dangerous in case of a fire.

What Can You Do to Prevent Backflow?

The best way to prevent backflow is by installing a backflow prevention device. A backflow prevention device prevents water from flowing back into your drinking water supply. These devices regulate the water pressure in your pipes, ensuring that contaminated water cannot flow back into your drinking water supply. In addition to installing a backflow prevention device, it's also important to have a professional plumber regularly inspect your plumbing system to ensure there are no potential backflow hazards.

Types of Backflow Prevention Devices

There are two main types of backflow prevention devices: air gap devices and backflow preventer valves. An air gap is a physical space between the source of water and the destination of water, which provides a barrier against backflow. For example, the air gap between a sink and a faucet is a simple backflow prevention method. Backflow preventer valves automatically close when there is a change in water pressure, preventing contaminated water from flowing back into your water supply.

Contact a plumbing contractor to learn more.