When it comes to plumbing systems, there are a lot of things we take for granted- clean water being one of them. But this necessity isn’t a given. Contaminated water can enter your private water system, or even worse, the municipal system. Fortunately, there’s a stop-gate for that— literally.
Here’s how it works. Water should be a one-way flow, but when normal water pressure drops from things like a water line breaking, or a fire hydrant being used, causes the pressure to drop which reverses the supply water sucking contaminated water back into the system. This can happen from any source that is cross-connected such as toilets, dishwashers, washing machines and sprinkler systems. A backflow devise protects your home from this happening. If the water is flowing in one direction, the backflow devise remains open. If the water flow is reversed, the backflow device creates a physical barrier to stop the contaminated water from entering.
There are three main types of backflow devices:
• Reduced Pressure Principle Assembly. This device is best for major hazard applications. It’s the most complex and therefore more expensive, but it’s the most reliable and secure.
• Pressure Vacuum Breaker Assembly. This is the most common whole-system backflow device used most often for irrigation sprinkler systems.
- Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker Assembly: This inexpensive device is used for single fixture applications such as toilets, urinals, and some faucets.
• Double Check Valve Assembly: This device is used for underground or in-line installations, meaning, the devise runs parallel with the piping of your sprinkler system.
Fresh water isn’t something to reckon with, so there is also a second line of defense, the Dual Check Valve, which controls the backup at the cross-connection point.
For new construction, ALL PRO Plumbing can help you figure out the best solution for your needs. For existing systems, it’s important to have the devices tested periodically. Because of the moving parts including internal seals and springs, a lot of wear and tear can occur.
- Published in Tips of the Trade