The How-To on Backflow Prevention Devices
As a homeowner, your goal should always be to protect your plumbing and your family. Which is why you more than likely have stoppers over your drains to prevent clogs and a water filtration device to ensure you have the best water in town.
But even with those methods in place, did you know there is still a plumbing issue that can wreak havoc on your plumbing?
Backflow is the lesser known plumbing emergency that can literally contaminate the water supply in your home. Luckily, like any other plumbing issue, it can be prevented with some best plumbing practices and the use of a backflow prevention device.
Why Worry About Backflow?
Backflow is a complex plumbing issue that can be explained simply as the reversal in the flow of water from your plumbing.
Instead of waste and greywater flowing away from your home, during a backflow emergency, that water flows back in, creating cross-contamination.
While it’s not the most common plumbing issue out there, it can happen quickly and with no warning. Some of the more common causes include:
- Broken water mains.
- Frozen pipes.
- Construction damage.
- Intense flooding.
- Improperly installed pipes.
- Fixtures with no air gaps.
Areas that are prone to flooding are especially vulnerable. As the water rises above the flood level, it could cause a drop in the water pressure for your water mains, which is often where the problem happens.
How Does an Air Gap Work?
Consider the p-trap in your toilet. That curve in the pipe is what creates the pressure that allows water to flow away from your toilet, and an air gap is a similar concept.
A pocket of air in many fixtures and plumbing lines, an air gap allows water to pass through normally when the pressure is high. However, if the pressure drops, it will prevent the water from flowing back in.
While this feature is often built into many fixtures, it can also be installed separately as needed.
The Perks of Pressure Vacuum Breakers
While air gaps are a common solution to backflow prevention, the better choice is a pressure vacuum breaker or PVB.
Spring operated, a PVB creates a check valve in your plumbing system and they’re often installed directly on the water main for optimal usage.
When water is flowing at the correct pressure levels, the spring inside the breaker is held open. If there is a loss in pressure, the PVB will immediately react, closing the spring and stopping water from flowing into your home.
Because these valves operate mechanically, they can easily be tested by a plumber. In some areas, annual testing and inspections are required and a certificate needs to be presented with every test.
Finding a Quality Solution For You
The best plumbing devices are always the ones that work for your home and your plumbing system.
Your best bet is always to work with your local plumbing company and for Dallas homeowners, that’s Reeves Family Plumbing.
We can help with all your backflow needs including the installation of a quality prevention device. Whether it’s a PVB or even double check assembly, we can keep your plumbing save and protected from backflow.
In addition, we can create attainable plumbing goals like clean drains and healthy pipes with regular service, so be sure to plan ahead with your provided plumbing expert.