Ever walked into your bathroom or toward your sink, and all you could see was water all over with no leaks or burst pipes found? If such a thing happens to you, you’re more likely to run into something called backflow. It is among the most annoying plumbing problems to deal with. So what exactly is backflow? How can you tell that there’s a backflow problem going on? Is there a way to prevent backflow from happening? This article gives you the answers to those questions.
The definition of backflow
This is the term for situations where the water flows in the opposite direction instead of what it intended.
Backflow is one of the plumbing issues that require an immediate fix. If left unchecked, you will risk having fresh and contaminated water mixed. Plus, various problems, such as worn-down fixtures, pipes, and many other parts of your plumbing, will follow later on.
Common causes of backflow
Factors leading up to backflow do vary. However, some happen more frequently than others. Three of the most common reasons behind backflow are as follow:
Backpressure: Gas and water can sometimes be forced to go the other way, which is up to your room. That happens as a result of backpressure, a situation where high pressure builds up inside your plumbing and reverses the flow direction. Water heaters without proper vents or outlets often contribute to backpressure.
Broken or damaged sewage pipes: The Sewage is in charge of leading wastewater from your home to the sewer system. Its pipes are exposed to dirty water constantly, so they’re destined to wear down. When it does happen, you will catch some foul stench from your drains due to dirty water flowing back into your plumbing.
Back-siphonage is also called reverse vacuum. When this happens, the pressure in your water supply is too low (sometimes negative). Maintenance of the city’s water supply can cause back-siphonage to occur, especially to toilets and sinks.
Damage to the local supply: This factor is beyond your control since the damaged supply is the authorities’ responsibility. However, you can talk to a professional plumber to prepare your home for such circumstances. If you’re having this problem in San Jose, give us a call.
How to keep your plumbing safe from backflow
To keep backflow at bay, there are a few methods you can do. With the advancement of technology, current fixtures can eliminate a part of the problem, but not entirely. Technically, you can utilize the following 2 solutions:
Using devices that interfere with the backflow: Most people call it a backflow prevention device. What it does is create a physical blockage against unwanted water flows. If the water pressure is way out of control, this device is a must-have in your plumbing system for its effectiveness. This method alone can be broken down into many types of devices, which will be discussed below.
Create air gaps: Unlike a mechanical backflow device, plumbers will create an empty vertical space inside the pipes to stop potable and contaminated water from being mixed. You will mostly find it in faucets or sinks. This method, however, still contains the risk of getting backflow again in the future due to the gap being weakened, leading to water flowing into the incorrect pipe.
Types of backflow prevention devices
Even backflow has various forms depending on severity and scale. Thus, backflow devices are also categorized into 4 different kinds.
Reduced Pressure Assembly: This backflow preventer acts as a reliever to the built-up high pressure in your plumbing, which ultimately prevents backflow from happening.
Pressure Vacuum Breaker: The device is mainly for preventing back-siphonage. It operates on dual shutoff valves and a spring-loaded check valve. However, this device isn’t for backpressure backflow.
Double check valve backflow prevention device: There are two spring-loaded check valves and shutoffs at each end of this device. This device is fitted to both back pressure and back siphonage.
Spill-resistant pressure Vacuum Breaker Assembly: This device comes with internally loaded check valves and an air inlet valve, which operate independently on the discharge side of the check valve. It can prevent non-potable water from getting back into the water supply.
Those are everything you need to know about backflow in plumbing. Backflow is a health hazard that can affect multiple individuals in your home. Knowing what causes backflow and how to prevent it can help you maintain a safe and healthy living environment for yourself and your family.
If you can’t DIY when it comes to backflow in San Jose, just give us a call. We will come to assist you.