Backflow devices don't get the same credit as septic tanks or water mains, but they are still an important part of a building's plumbing system. A backflow device prevents backflow. But what does this mean, and why is it so important? Let's take a closer look.
Backflow Device Definition
This device is installed in the pipes that bring water into the building from a primary system, usually a city water supply. The device has a simple but very important task. It makes sure that water in this system only flows one way, instead of flowing backward, away from the building and back toward the water source.
Yes, this can actually happen when there is no backflow device. That's because water pipes, especially those that are part of a larger neighborhood system, have very complicated pressure requirements. A sudden change in pressure can "suck" water back up the pipes. This can occur if damage occurs to other parts of the water system, like a main water line break somewhere else. It can also happen if demands on the water system suddenly change, like when a fire hydrant is suddenly accessed.
The results can be very damaging to the health of the water system (and all the people that use it). That's because backflow can carry back all sorts of unwanted substances from the building into the clean water of the system. That includes everything from soap and chlorine to human waste and pesticides – things you definitely don't want in your water! The backflow device uses basic valve technology to prevent all of that.
Where Backflow Devices are Used
Now it's pretty obvious that backflow devices are important. But where are they commonly used? Well, any building that's connected to a larger water system is a great place to put a backflow device. In fact, most new neighborhoods have plumbing that is built to include backflow devices anyway. Many cities, counties and even countries have laws that require backflow devices to preserve the safety of the water system.
If you aren't sure whether your area requires backflow devices or what the status of your home is, you can always look up information on your local government websites. But there's something else that you should look up too- many districts require regular backflow testing to make sure these devices are still functioning correctly. Check the rules in your area so you know when to arrange for a backflow test and if you need to send in any information!
All right, now you know what a backflow device is and why they are installed. But maybe you want to know if you need a backflow device in your area, or if it's not worth the expense. Maybe you're interested in upgrading backflow devices, or finding someone to make repairs or inspection. We can help! Contact Amanda Plumbing today to learn more about our services and schedule a visit.