Backflow is the unwanted reversal of water flow from a potential source of contamination to the clean or potable water supply. To avoid this from happening, backflow preventers are used.
However this may vary according to specific factors; including health hazard conditions, applications, and local administrative codes. Nonetheless, these are commonly used in the following applications:
Sewer and waste water
In flood-prone communities, flooding and water blockage may cause sewage from sanitary lines to backflow through drain pipes into homes. When this happens, it doesn’t only cause damage that is quite difficult to repair; it also creates a significant health hazard. In order to the community from a sewage backflow, the installation of a sewer backflow valve is recommended for every household.
This device is designed to temporarily block a sewer drain to avoid sewage backflow up into the home. Although these are available in a variety of designs that differ in complexity and features, the most popular is the backflow valve.
The backflow valve is designed to let the sewage flow in only one direction, which is from the floor drain to the community’s sanitary sewer. Once the sewer becomes flooded, a properly maintained and installed backflow valve will prevent any wastewater from backing up through the floor drain.
Sprinkler and Irrigation
In events that lawn irrigation systems backflow, there are possibilities that drinking water will become contaminated. To prevent this and to attain outdoor water efficiency, structures and buildings should follow community or city codes that aim to protect sprinkler and irrigation backflow preventers.
A licensed plumber can identify the specific backflow preventers that meet the needs of a property, as there are three primary types of backflow preventer devices that are used in sprinkler and irrigation systems. These are as follows:
Pressure Vacuum Breaker
When installing the pressure vacuum breaker, make sure that the bottom of the device is about 12-inches higher than the highest point of use or the head. This is best used when the lawn or yard is level.
Reduced Pressure Assembly
The reduced pressure assembly device is an expensive piece of equipment that is best used when there is varying elevations in the lawn or yard. Before this can be installed, it has to be tested by a licensed and certified tester. Also, it must be checked every year.
A double check is among the most effective devices against backflow. But, this can only be used to detach or isolate any low hazards. This comes with two spring loaded check valves that have built-in test cocks for testing.
Even inside the home, backflow preventers play a vital role. They make sure every household gets to enjoy clean and safe drinking water. But, can you tell where these devices are found and what functions they perform?
An air gap is the most common backflow preventer that serves the best protection. This is often found in interior fixtures like kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as in the showers, bathtubs, and washing machines.
Hose Bib Vacuum Breakers
Plenty of homeowners use the hose bib vacuum breakers so that they can perform outdoor household chores that require water. In the event of a water pressure loss or vacuum breaker removal, the contents of the container at the end of the hose may backflow into the water system.
Every homeowner must always inspect their plumbing system to know whether there are any of these backflow preventers installed. They must also know that backflow prevention is the responsibility of every consumer of the water system. With the installation of proper protection, such as these backflow preventer devices, safe and potable water can be obtained by everyone.
Author: Linda Herington
Linda is a building and structure enthusiast. She shares her passion about everything from design, structural planning, industrial revolution, and general history by providing content for Banjo. If you want to get any updates, you can follow her on Twitter @LindaHerington.
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