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What is Backflow and How to Prevent It?

It is important to know that the water pressure in your home is controlled by a valve on the water supply line. Water flows out of the pipe and into your home when you open the valve. Proper care and maintenance are key to a healthy plumbing system.” 

The backflow problems occur when the pressure difference between the two pipes. This can happen if one of the pipes has been closed off or if there are blockages in one of them. The result is that water will flow backward from one pipe to another, which could cause serious problems such as flooding, sewage backup, and even structural damage.

What is backflow, and why does it happen?

Backflow is a plumbing system failure in which water from the house flows back into the water supply pipes. This can happen when there are problems with the pressure balance valve, which is a device that prevents water from flowing back into the house’s supply pipes. It usually affects sinks, drains, irrigation systems, and garden hoses. 

In other words, backflow should not even happen in anyone’s plumbing system. It can even be worse than usual clogging (although you have to fix this as well). Instead of flowing out of your toilet or drain, it causes bad odors and flooding. 

To avoid backflow, homeowners should be aware of their home’s plumbing system and ensure that any problems are immediately fixed. Backflow prevention valves are available to prevent it; you have to call a professional to help install them. 

Backflow issues also happen because of a broken backflow prevention device. When this happens, cross-contamination could occur and affect your water supply. Water pressure problems can also cause backflow issues. That is why you should ensure to keep the water pressure steady.

What type of backflow prevention devices to use? 

Plumbing codes usually require the use of backflow prevention devices to prevent backflow. It may not always be required in homes except if there is an irrigation system on the residential property or a fire suppression system in the building. Some popular types of backflow prevention devices are the following: 

Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA) 

This consists of 2 valves placed in different spots along the plumbing system and works to prevent back pressure and siphonage. 

Air gap 

It is a space between a plumbing fixture’s water outlet and the flood level. 

Reduced Pressure Zone Device (RPZ or RPV) 

This can be installed where uninterrupted meter service is a must. It has 2 spring-loaded check valves, 3 vertical test cocks, and 2 shutoff valves. 

Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB) 

It is often used in irrigation systems and keeps non-potable water from contaminating drinking water within the system. 

To check for signs of backflow issues, you can do the following: 

  • Shut off the water supply, check the backflow device and identify whether you have a DCVA or a reduced pressure device. 
  • After numbering each test cocks and turning off the number 2 shutoff value, and hooking up the test kit hoses, turn the water back on to test the backflow device. 
  • Prevent backflow issues by ensuring the connection for the garden hose has backflow prevention. Ensure an air gap when appliances such as water softeners are plumbed. Change filters frequently to prevent bacteria growth and water contamination.

Contact a professional plumbing service in Spring Hill, TN, to help you fix backflow problems. 

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