Why Your Home May Need a Backflow Preventer
Clean, safe water is something we often take for granted in our homes. While not common, plumbing issues can lead to contamination and increase health risks in your drinking water. One potential issue homeowners should be aware of is backflow.
What is backflow?
Think of your water supply pipe as a one-way street. The flow of water should only go in a single direction. If the water supply ever starts moving away from your home, it’s a sign of a plumbing issue and can lead to water contamination.
If you have an irrigation system or pool at your home, you may want to consider installing a backflow preventer. The device blocks water from flowing backward through your plumbing system if the water pressure changes directions. This can protect your drinking water from contamination.
Causes of backflow
Water supply pipes in our homes are precisely pressurized. The pressure allows the water to consistently flow out of a faucet when we turn it on. In rare circumstances, the water pressure can get thrown off. If there’s a large problem, such as a water main break or a fire hydrant open on your street, the water pressure inside your home can be reversed, which can draw water from your interior pipes back into the municipal water supply. Unfortunately, this can also pull contaminants from non-potable water sources (such as pools or irrigation systems). When this happens, backflow can expose your drinking water to sewage, fertilizers, soap and detergents, chlorine, and more.
How a backflow preventer works
A backflow preventer is a device that attaches to your water supply line. Essentially, it only allows water to flow in one direction – into your home. If something causes the water pressure to reverse, the flow of water will close a valve inside the backflow preventer. This blocks the water from traveling backward into the water supply. Once pressure is restored, the forward-flowing water will push the one-way valve back open so that the water supply can flow freely through the pipe.
Are backflow preventers required?
Some municipality codes call for backflow preventers in homes with irrigation systems or well systems. Even if you’re not required to have a backflow preventer, it can still be a good idea to have one to ensure the safety and quality of your water and give your household peace of mind.
Plumbing experts in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio
If you have questions about the risks of backflow or are interested in having a backflow preventer installed in your home, contact Ohio Buckeye Plumbing. Our team is ready to help with all your plumbing needs. Call us today at (440) 283-9377.