The plumbing system in your home gives you enough to worry about. Clogged drains, leaky pipes, old water heaters costing you thousands in utilities.
Which is why many homeowners fail to think about the larger scale plumbing issues like backflow. This simple plumbing issue can actually be the most complex, and in many instances, it can directly impact your health and plumbing.
Without a backflow prevention device in place, you could find yourself with an emergency plumbing situation. That’s why the best plumbing practice is to be prepared and know what to look for – to better protect your home.
What Causes Backflow?
When you lose pressure in your plumbing system you run the risk of reversing the flow of water. Translation? Dirty water can flow back into your home instead of out.
This directly affects the quality of your drinking water, which is why back-flow is such a serious issue. In many cases backflow is caused by excess flooding.
Because there is a flood line in many areas, when the water rises above that line, it can create negative pressure in water mains. Similarly, a burst pipe or construction damage can also have this same effect.
This is why it’s always a good idea to locate your underground pipes before any excavation takes place. Another common cause for back siphonage is the use of a fire hydrant – as the pressure loss of water escaping can have a negative impact on your plumbing.
Air Gaps Can Help Prevent Backflow
Your kitchen fixtures are designed with air gaps that keep the faucet above the flood line. This natural air gap design ensures that water can never flow backward into your plumbing.
While some fixtures have these type of gaps built-in – like in toilet p-traps – others require the installation of a physical air gap device.
These small devices are relatively easy to obtain, but should always be installed by a qualified plumber. If installed incorrectly, they can actually lead to a backflow problem as well.
How do Pressure Vacuum Breakers Work?
A pressure vacuum breaker or PVB is the most common type of backflow prevention devices. These spring operated valves constantly have water flowing through them.
The standard water pressure of your water essentially keeps the spring loaded valve forced open. As soon as the water pressure drops – as in during a backflow emergency – the spring opens, plugging your pipes and preventing water from flowing through.
These devices are popular because they can be adjusted to accommodate variable pressure levels and can easily be tested as needed. Additionally, the spring itself can be removed and replaced, making it ideal for a long lasting solution to your backflow prevention efforts.
Working With a Plumber For Your Backflow Needs
Backflow is a serious issue and you’re going to want the best plumbing services to keep it at bay. At Plumbing Solutions, we’ve been in business long enough to learn a thing or two about backflow.
The first step you should take is to set an at home cleaning goal to ensure that your pipes are always in good health. Once you know your pipes are free-flowing, you can have a backflow prevention device installed in your home.
All the devices vary based on the pipes in your home and your needs, which is why using personalized solutions is always your best bet.