Imagine a world where there is no access to clean drinking water. Sounds frightening, right?
Contaminated water is probably the culprit in most health-related issues, containing several diseases carrying bacteria, dirt and debris. This water can lead to several health problems, including nausea, headaches, or even death.
Now you might think you’re safe from all this thanks to your home’s plumbing system. Unfortunately, backflow is a severe problem in most residential and commercial drainage systems, contaminating your drinking water supply.
But what exactly is backflow, and how can it be prevented? Let’s take a look.
What Is Backflow?
A typical drainage system consists of two sets of pipes; one that brings clean water in and another that carries dirty water out, both flowing in one direction. When the water pressure of these pipes falls, the entire water flow becomes disrupted.
Since the required levels of water pressure don’t exist anymore, the speed of water flow becomes slower. It ultimately leads to wastewater flowing in the opposite direction and seeping through the pipe system to mix with the clean water. This is essentially what a backflow is.
What Causes Backflow?
Backflow can occur for various reasons, from pump failure to extremes such as damaged water supply lines and heavy water usage from public sources.
Though it seems like a negligible problem, a backflow can impact not just you but your surrounding area, neighbourhood, and country-wide water systems. So, ignoring a backflow when and if it happens is not the best idea.
Luckily, several backflow prevention devices and methods can reduce the chances of backflow to keep your home’s water system safe.
What Is Backflow Prevention?
The most commonly used backflow prevention device is a check valve unit installed in your pipes. These check valves prevent backflow by forcing water in the pipes to only flow in one direction.
Modern technology has also paved the way for automatic mechanical check valves that open and shut. Mechanical valves further reduce the possibility of backflow and ensure that your plumbing systems function correctly.
These backflow devices are commonly found in commercial settings, but residential areas can significantly benefit from them. This applies more if you own a sprinkler system connected to the main water supply.
Cross-connections are the biggest culprits for cross-contamination and backflow. If the water pressure within the pipes drops due to a burst pipe or the use of a fire hydrant, it can result in cross-contamination through the sprinkler head. This can, in turn, lead to fertilisers and pesticides mixing with clean water.
However, like most things, backflow preventers develop wear and tear, often leading to complications that require professional help.
Benefits Of A Backflow Preventer
The most obvious benefit of installing a simple backflow prevention device is to ensure your drinking water is clean and uncontaminated. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about harmful substances or other gunks seeping into your clean water.
Many states have made it mandatory to install a backflow device. Additionally, newer houses, especially ones with a sprinkler system, have a separate backflow device already installed.
Apart from ensuring that you and your loved ones access healthy, clean drinking water, a backflow preventer device protects the pipes from damage. Due to backflow, several foreign materials pass through the pipes, ultimately damaging them.
Damaged or burst pipes can result in contaminated water and expensive repair jobs that drain a hole in your pocket. Hence, installing a backflow preventer is a necessity.
What Is Backflow Testing?
You might be unaware if your home’s water system has a backflow problem. This is mainly because backflow issues happen deep inside the pipes and only show signs when the situation worsens.
So, to avoid backflow from hampering the health and well-being of you and your family, conduct a backflow test. This backflow testing process is usually done by licensed plumbers who use a backflow testing device to ensure your plumbing system is safe and adequately maintained.
Typically, when backflow testing takes place, the professionals look at the pipes that connect to your property from the main water system. The public water supply consists of valves that can be damaged due to weather conditions, which can cause backflow. A backflow is conducted using gate and relief valves on the backflow testing device.
When the backflow testing is done, it allows you to identify the problem beforehand and take necessary remedial measures. This way, you can be sure that the drinking water you consume is safe and clean.
Since backflow is becoming more common, annual backflow testing is required to keep your drainage system safe. Several cities send notices to remind you of backflow testing, but we recommend you immediately respond and make necessary arrangements beforehand for the backflow testing process. If you are in South East Queensland, speak to our team about backflow preventer testing today!
Breathe A Sigh of Relief: Get Your Backflow Test Today
Your home should be your safe space where you can relax, wind down and spend quality time with your family. When issues like backflow happen, it can seriously risk your and your family’s health.
The last thing you’d want is for your loved ones to drink contaminated water and get sick. To ensure this doesn’t happen, backflow testing can help because, with just a few hours of testing, you can be safe for years.
Contact a certified plumbing company to get backflow testing done immediately. And if you have any questions, give our professional team in Noosa a call!
Before you go, for more plumbing advice, check out our top tips for homeowners on plumbing safety.