What are Backflow Prevention Devices and Why Are They So Important?

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AdvantagePlumbing

As its name implies, a backflow prevention device stands as a safeguard against possible backflow. This keeps a home’s or office’s potable water supply protected from contamination that would have made its way in due to backflow.

Backflow itself can happen when a pipe’s normal pressure is reduced and contaminated water works itself in the opposite direction than the water normally flows. This polluted water can come from sewage sources, water storage or directly from the ground. The kind of issues that might cause the pressure to drop in a water system include things like burst pipes, frozen pipes or just too much concurrent water use in the structure at a given time.

More than One Type of Backflow Preventer

There are quite a few different types of backflow prevention devices available. Although they all have the same goal of keeping backflow from happening, they use different technologies to get that job done. Likewise, some of these devices are not as reliable as others or are primarily used for niche reasons – for example, chemigation valves are used in farming to keep things like pesticides and fertilizers out of the water supply.

Here in Nashboro Village, Franklin, Mount Juliet and the other surrounding areas of Nashville, homes and offices will have either an Air Gap, Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA) or Vacuum Breaker backflow prevention device installed for its water system.

These three kinds of backflow preventers are very reliable for use where potable water is important. Systems that employ air gap backflow prevention work by making it impossible for wastewater to make its way to a faucets when working correctly by simply having a gap of air between the sink’s rim and the faucet itself. A DCVA is one of the more popular backflow prevention devices because it uses two independent check valves that work together to reduce pressure from each other and individually stand as redundant safety mechanisms in case one should fail. Vacuum breakers prevent backflow with a one-way plastic disc (usually) that lets the water system suck in air should water pressure drop and use the air as a barrier between potable water and waste.

Occasionally, a home may have a reduced pressure zone device (RPZ) already installed, but these are not considered adequate enough backflow protection against pollutants like human waste and should be replaced immediately if discovered.

The Importance of Backflow Preventers

While keeping pollutants out of a water supply does help to make the water itself look and taste clean, the real importance of backflow prevention devices is safety. By keeping contaminants out of the water supply, people can drink and use the water as needed without having to worry about accidently consuming waste and getting sick because of it.

Though not many people know much (if anything) about backflow prevention devices, it’s easy to see how they’re some of the most important parts of a home’s plumbing and water systems. If you’re concerned your backflow prevention device system or think it’s time to upgrade, give Advantage Plumbing a call at (615) 781-1239 or send us a message. To learn more about our services, visit www.advantageplumbing.org today!