You often see them next to a house or by the side of the road, but do you know what they are? Do you know what their purpose is?
What Is Backflow?
Backflow is when contaminated water that should be flowing out of a building instead flows in the reverse direction and enters clean water lines. It can happen to your dishwasher, reverse osmosis system, or other cross-connection between clean and dirty water lines.
How Does Backflow Happen?
- Changes in water pressure
- Burst water main
- Problems within the irrigation line
What Is A Backflow Preventer?
A backflow preventer is a plumbing safety device that is installed to prevent backflow from happening. There a several different types of preventers:
- Air Gaps: They protect your dishwasher by providing an actual gap between where the water comes out and the flood level of the dishwasher.
- Vacuum Breakers: These devices prevent backflow in faucets, hoses, and spigots. They seal off the water supply line if there is a sudden loss of pressure in the supply line.
- Check Valves: If pressure is higher on the outgoing side of the valve, it closes to prevent dirty water from being pulled back into the clean water line. If pressure is higher on the incoming side, water flows like normal.
Why Do You Need One?
Backflow is a serious problem because the polluted water can contain chemicals, human waste, pesticides, etc. Many cities require them by law to protect you, and many cities require annual testing to ensure that they are working properly.