Plumbing backflow is the unintended and undesirable flow of non-potable water into the home's water supply. This water is water that should flow away from the home's incoming pipes—and flow into the water line instead. Plumbing backflow results in potentially hazardous substances in drinking and washing water, such as fertilizers and pesticides. Bacteria can even make its way into the water supply from such an occurrence.
What Causes Harmful Plumbing Backflow
Backflow occurs when water flows in the opposite direction intended, through a water line. This can happen because of a variety of reasons. Explanations for backflow include a drop in water pressure, the use of fire hydrants in your area by firefighters, a broken main line near the home or pumps that are not connected correctly to the plumbing backflow prevention system. Undesirable backflow water then makes its way into the home's water supply and contaminates it, sometimes without anyone even knowing.
Installing a Plumbing Backflow System
Also known as RPZ (reduced pressure zone) valves or backflow prevention assemblies, backflow system devices generally consist of a valve installed in the home's external water tap that opens and expels incoming potentially contaminated water, rather than allowing it to make its way into your home's drinking supply. Such devices, which may include an atmospheric vacuum breaker, barometric loop or double check valve assembly, are required in many cities for sprinkler systems and should be installed by a licensed plumbing professional, such as a technician from The Pink Plumber.
Testing Your Backflow System
Plumbing backflow systems must be tested on an annual basis in order to ensure that they're working properly. As a matter of fact, many cities and municipalities require systems be tested annually. Many times, the city will notify you when it is time to do the testing. Failure to test a backflow system as instructed could subject homeowners to having their water system shut down until the testing has been completed.
A certified and approved company should ensure that plumbing backflow systems are running properly. Your city's utility company should have a list of certified testers.
Ensuring that the home's water supply stays clean, fresh and healthy is our primary goal. For answers to any of your questions about backflow systems, contact The Pink Plumber today.