Friday, March 27th, 2015

Backflow Prevention: What is it? Why do I care?

One of today’s hottest plumbing topics is backflow prevention. It’s critical to maintaining a clean public water supply.

“Backflow” happens when our drinking water becomes co-mingled with waste water or polluted water.  According to Wikipedia, “In water supply systems, water is normally maintained at a significant pressure to enable water to flow from the tap, shower etc. When pressure fails or is reduced, (e.g., when a water main bursts, pipes freeze or there is unexpectedly high demand on the water system), then the reduced pressure in the pipe may allow contaminated water from the ground, storage or from other sources to be drawn up into the water supply system.”

In short “backflow” is an unwanted reversal of flow…nasty and unhealthy liquids/solids/gases that should be flowing away from our water are instead flowing into our water.

How is backflow prevented?
In plumbing, we call things what they are – backflow is stopped by installing a backflow prevention device.  You may have noticed these in some Cincinnati-area front yards (see image below, courtesy of Wikipedia).

A backflow preventer permits water to flow through in one direction but stops the water from flowing through in the reverse direction.  It’s a gating mechanism that stops water flow reversal and maintains a sanitary potable water supply.

Who needs a backflow preventer?
• Homes with automatic sprinkler/lawn irrigation systems that use the household water supply as the sprinkler water supply.
• Duplexes and apartments buildings with 2 or more meters on a single parcel of land.
• Homes/businesses with “alternate” sources of water (e.g., water is not supplied by a municipality).
• Homes/businesses with fire sprinkler systems.

Are backflow prevention devices expensive?
Generally, no.  The device cost is typically under $200 but it must be installed by a license plumber.

Water You Waiting For?  Allied Reddi-Rooter’s team of experienced and licensed plumbers are skilled at identifying backflow issues and installing prevention devices.  Contact Ray today and learn more about backflow or a free estimate. 513-396-5300.