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Common Backflow Questions Answered

What Homeowners Need to Know About Backflow

Most plumbing problems make themselves known to homeowners fairly quickly. Whether it’s a leaky faucet or a broken pipe, warning signs can alert homeowners to the issue. But there’s one serious plumbing problem that can be nearly impossible to spot until it’s too late: backflow. That is why preventing it and regularly testing the prevention devices is essential. Backflow can result in contaminated water, which can be extremely dangerous. So read on to learn all homeowners need to know about backflow. 

What Exactly Is Backflow?

Backflow is a plumbing issue that can contaminate the potable water supply in residential or commercial buildings. As the reverse flow of sewage or agricultural runoff into the clean water supply, backflow poses significant health risks as it can lead to the contamination of drinking water with harmful substances like bacteria, chemicals, or other pollutants. Backflow is typically caused by changes in pressure within the plumbing system, namely back-pressure and back-siphonage.

Back-pressure refers to a scenario where the pressure in a non-potable system surpasses that of the potable system, forcing contaminants into the drinking water supply. This might happen due to the use of high-pressure cleaning equipment or heating systems. On the other hand, back-siphonage is caused by a reduction in the potable water pressure, leading to a vacuum that sucks contaminants into the drinking water. This can happen due to the rupture of a water main or excessive demand during fire-fighting efforts. Luckily, backflow can be prevented with the proper devices and techniques. 

How Can Backflow Be Prevented?

backflowPreventing backflow requires implementing protective measures and devices known as backflow preventers. These devices are designed to allow water to flow in only one direction while blocking any potential reverse flow. Installing backflow prevention devices is crucial and typically occurs at any point in a plumbing system where potable and non-potable water may interact. 

Apart from mechanical backflow prevention devices, good plumbing practices are essential for safeguarding against backflow events. Homes with certain plumbing fixtures or systems are more susceptible to backflow than others. Those homeowners who aren’t sure if they have or need a backflow prevention device should contact a professional plumbing company to assess the plumbing system. Having a professional install a backflow prevention device is the best way to safeguard against water contamination

How Often Do Backflow Prevention Devices Need to Be Tested?

backflowRegular backflow device testing is vital because of the high cost, dangers, and complexity of water contamination due to backflow. In fact, most areas have regulations that require backflow testing in both residential and commercial buildings. Most plumbing experts and regulatory bodies recommend that backflow preventers be tested at least annually. This frequency might increase depending on local regulations, the type of potential contaminants, and the complexity of the plumbing system.

During a backflow test, certified professionals assess the condition and operational integrity of the backflow preventer. They check for mechanical failure, debris, or wear and tear that could impair the device's performance. In the event of a fault or inefficiency, the device is either repaired or replaced, ensuring continuous protection against backflow and protecting the home and those living there. 

About Lodder Brothers Limited

Lodder Brothers Limited is a plumbing company with over 40 years of experience serving Guelph and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, comprehensive solutions, and a 2-year guarantee on plumbing repairs. Call them today for backflow testing and certification in Guelph, ON.

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