Backflows are a serious plumbing problem. They smell bad and have the potential to contaminate your potable water supply, bringing health risks into your home. The sudden pressure can also break pipes from the inside, cause leaks, and harm the environment.
The good news is, building codes were made to solve this problem. These require builders and plumbers in Gainesville, GA, to install prevention devices and measures when constructing houses. Because of that, new homeowners won’t have to worry about flushed water flowing back into their bathrooms.
But, the amendment for water regulation of the United States Safe Drinking Water Act (SDW) was only signed in 1996; as a result, older homes don’t have prevention devices. With that said, it’s still best to have practices to avoid backflow. Here are some things you can do.
Know how Backflows Work
Backflows are uncommon, that’s why some homeowners aren’t aware of them until they experience them. One thing you can do to protect yourself is to understand what they are and how they work. This way, you’ll have an idea of what you can do to avoid them.
In plumbing, water flow should only go in one direction. Pipes can either bring potable water inside your home or take waste out. The two can’t interact with each other to avoid contamination.
Backflows happen when a supply pipe becomes exposed to a contaminant or wastewater. These can occur if a fixture, like a toilet or sink, connects to:
- Irrigation systems
- Swimming pools
- Storage tanks
- Appliances (washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and water heaters)
- Spray outlets
The 2 types of backflows are back siphonage and back pressure. The former happens when the downstream pressure is stronger than the supply. Meanwhile, the latter is when there isn’t enough pressure in a vessel to relieve water.
Schedule annual inspections with your plumbers in Northern Georgia. They’re knowledgeable about residential plumbing systems and local pipelines. They can map the water flow and pinpoint areas where there could be unwanted reversals.
Plumbers are also equipped with hose cutters, hole saws, basin wrenches, and drain augers, which they use for checking leaks and performing repairs. If you don’t know whether you have a preventer pre-installed in your home, you can ask them to check it out.
Install Backflow Preventers
Install a backflow preventer so you can avoid contamination and pressure issues. Here are the tools made for residential use:
- Pressure-type vacuum breaker: This is installed in the supply pipe of residential systems. It senses the water pressure and activates a check valve if a reverse flow is expected.
- Check valve: This is installed in the pipelines. It’s the most basic backflow preventer device consisting of a spring and a disk that closes when the flow reverses.
- Hose bib: This is installed in water outlets. It contains a spring that allows water to flow in one direction. If the pressure reverses, it will close, and a discharge valve will open, preventing backflowing fluid from contaminating your supply line.
- Atmospheric vacuum breaker: This is a pipe that forms a 90-degree elbow. It’s found aboveground, creating air gaps that prevent backflow.
- Reduced pressure zone device: This assembly has a chamber for air gaps.
- Chemigation valve: This check valve is designed to protect the water supply from chemicals produced by irrigation plants.
You can also reach out to a plumbing contractor in Gainesville, GA, for recommendations on which preventer is most suited for your pipework. Call Gainesville Mechanical if you need installation, maintenance, or repairs.