In any home plumbing system, backflow prevention devices ensure that contaminated water doesn't mix with potable water in the home. Significant health problems can ensue when the water supply is contaminated. Standard plumbing systems are designed to maintain a specific water pressure to ensure that water can flow from showers, faucets and so forth. However, if the pressure fails, for example, a water main in the area bursts or the household places a high demand on water usage, the lower water pressure can allow contaminated water to flow back into the supply system. Warding off such a hazard involves employing backflow prevention devices. In most cases, this type of device is installed in a home's external water tap to prevent contamination.
Your plumber will know the best backflow prevention devices to use in your home, as the type of backflow preventer depends on the degree of risk, pipe size, location and testing. Here are some of the devices plumbers routinely use:
- An air gap. Long the standard for preventing backflow, an air gap is a non-mechanical way to deal with backpressure or backsiphonage conditions. Like the name suggests, a gap in the piping allows air to interrupt the backflow of water, also decreasing the water's pressure. In many cases, an air gap is used at the end of service lines.
- A barometric loop. This device creates an abrupt shift in pipe height. A tall loop rises above the other pipes, effectively preventing backsiphonage, but not necessarily backpressure.
- Atmospheric vacuum breaker. This simple, low-cost device offers protection against backsiphonage. As the water rises throughout the device, it creates a flow. Once the flow reaches a certain level, it creates a seal, preventing water from moving though it.
- Hose bibb vacuum breaker. Similar to the atmospheric vacuum breaker, the device uses a spring-loaded check valve and a hose, which work together to create a seal when water pressure increases.
- Double check with atmospheric vent. Effective for backpressure conditions, this device performs well under consistent pressure. It's typically installed near the supply line and in between the home's feed valves for water heaters, with a drain connection feeding to an air gap.
Work with your plumber to select one of these backflow prevention devices that will best protect your home from backpressure and backsiphonage. Keeping your home's water supply clean is one of our primary goals. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.
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