Tips For Choosing a Backflow Prevention Device
To the untrained person, backflow and backflow preventers can sound like Greek. Many people have never heard of either one of these, and if they have, there isn’t a great understanding of it.
However, it is important to gain an understanding before there is a problem with backflow or the tool that protects your home. We are going to talk a little about what backflow is and a few options for preventers. Our goal is to help you understand your plumbing just a bit better–keep reading for more information!
Before we tell you about backflow preventers, you need to understand what backflow actually is.
Backflow is simply the undesirable reversal of the flow of water which can lead to contaminated substances coming into contact with your potable water. This contamination happens when there is a drop in air pressure that goes below the pressure of the tank.
Some examples of how this happens include the usage of a fire suppression system and a break in the main water line. Backflow preventers help stop any contaminants from coming into contact with your water, keeping your family safe from bacteria, gases, and even sewage.
Backflow Preventers: Air Gaps
Although defining exactly what backflow is, it is relatively simple to understand. Similarly, an air gap serving as a backflow preventer is quite a bit simpler than it may sound.
It is literally a gap that is intentionally placed between a spigot or faucet and where the wastewater goes. Think of a kitchen sink–there is a faucet that runs water. Whatever water is not used flows into the drain. If the drain clogs and the sink fills up with water, it will simply spill over and not flow back into the faucet.
Although this may sound exaggerated, it’s not exactly an over-simplification. An air gap is just a gap between the potable and non-potable water sources which prevents contamination.
Pressure Vacuum Breakers–A Bit More Complicated
Pressure vacuum breakers are another type of backflow preventer that works with your irrigation system.
It is slightly more intricate than an air gap, but not by much. Basically, a pressure vacuum breaker consists of an air inlet and a valve.
This system has to be installed close to the water source and at the highest point in the yard in order to function properly.
The valve allows water through during normal conditions and when the air pressure is greater than the water pressure, the chamber opens and closes the valve. This process prevents any unwanted water from entering your potable water supply.
Finding The Best Device For Your Home
If you do not already have a backflow preventer or you aren’t sure if yours is working, it may be time to buy your first preventer or purchase a new one!
There are multiple backflow preventers on the market and most of them are situated at different price points. Some people may swear by one brand while others swear it completely off.
Although it is great to get opinions from neighbors and friends, it’s better to hear what a professional has to say. You can always go with the option that fits your budget, but the best backflow preventer is one that works (both for your wallet AND your home!)
The End Goal: No Backflow
The goal at the end of the day is to ensure your home never experiences backflow. Unfortunately, without a backflow preventer, the chances are high that you’ll have backflow at some point, and possibly never even know it.
Contaminated water usually doesn’t look any different from safe, potable water. If you are ready to keep your family safe with a backflow preventer, or if you need other plumbing services, call the Plumbing Doctor today!