Installing backflow-prevention devices helps ensure your home’s water supply stays sanitary and safe for human consumption — even if the unforeseen happens. Backflow occurs when water pressure in the municipal system drops precipitously, reversing the normal flow. Typical events that might cause this include rupture of a city water line or a number of fire hydrants opened at once to fight a major fire. When municipal supply pressure suddenly plummets, suction generated inside main water lines may siphon water in your home backwards too.
Where Bad Water Meets Good Water
Many houses include common junctures in the system where unsafe or tainted water could potentially be pulled backward into sanitary water lines if the flow of water reverses. Known as “cross connections,” these points include:
- Outdoor sprinkler systems
- Pool-water supply lines
- Fire-sprinkler plumbing
- Decorative fountains, outdoor fish ponds, etc.
- Garden hoses containing residual water
- Handheld sprayers in the shower
Signs of Backflow in the Home
If backflow occurs, will you recognize it before someone drinks or bathes in unsafe water? Here are some of the common signs of tainted backflow:
- Discoloration such as brown or yellow
- Abnormal odor that may resemble sulfur or sewer smells
- Bad taste
- Unexplained slow or erratic water flow
- Visible sediment, rust, etc., in water
How Backflow Prevention Keeps You Safe
Devices that prevent backflow are essentially one-way valves that allow water to flow in a safe direction only. Should backflow conditions occur, the valve automatically shuts to prevent reverse flow that could pull unsafe water into your home water supply at one or more cross-connections.
The design and function of backflow-prevention valves varies according to the specific cross-connection where they will be installed. A qualified professional plumber can identify potential cross-connections in your home water system and then recommend the most effective backflow-prevention device to eliminate the potential hazard at that location.
For professional advice about backflow-prevention valves to safeguard your home’s water supply, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.