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What is a Water Backflow Preventer and Why Do I Need One?

Water backflow prevention is an aspect of plumbing that can sometimes get forgotten, but it is crucial. Without a water backflow preventer, water can flow in either direction, which is a significant hazard for contamination. The Louisiana Department of Health requires all water systems to implement and maintain a water backflow prevention program to help protect the public water supply. While these public programs are great, you can preserve the drinking water in your own home with the help of GoodBee’s backflow services. Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your water clean and safe with water backflow prevention.

What is a Water Backflow Preventer?

A water backflow prevention device is a device that works to protect potable water from contamination or pollution due to backflow. In layman’s terms, it’s essentially a device that stops water from flowing backward in your pipes. This backflow could introduce contaminated liquids, gases, or suspended solids into your drinking water. To fully understand how this happens, there are a few terms to know.

Terminology

Backflow

The most important term to understand is backflow, which refers to the undesirable reversal of flow into the drinking water supply. There are some common points where the potable water supply connects with the non-potable water supply, such as in appliances like a dishwasher or clothes washing machine. These cross-connection points must be carefully designed to ensure that backflow cannot happen between these water supplies.

Back-siphonage

Back-siphonage occurs when higher pressure fluids, gases, or suspended solids move to an area of lower pressure fluids. This phenomenon is similar to using a drinking straw; suction reduces the pressure inside the straw, which causes the liquid to rise through the straw and into the drinker’s mouth. When a significant pressure drop occurs in a water delivery system, a similar suction is created, pulling unwanted materials into the system, also known as indirect cross-contamination.

Back-pressure

Back-pressure occurs when the customer’s pressure exceeds the supply-side water pressure, which is similar to blowing air back through a straw, causing bubbles to form in the glass. For example, if natural gas gets forced into a potable water tank, it can move to a kitchen faucet. Some back-pressure sources may be boilers, power washing equipment, or pumps in the water distribution system. The possibility of unwanted material entering the system is known as direct cross-contamination. 

Water Backflow Prevention Devices

A few different devices are available to help with water backflow prevention, and the best option depends on your specific plumbing needs. One of the simplest types of backflow preventers is an air gap, simply a physical separation between the end of a potable water supply pipeline and the open receiving vessel. Another common type of backflow preventer is the pressure vacuum breaker (PVB). This device usually consists of an inlet shutoff valve, spring-loaded check valves, test valves, and an outlet shutoff valve, but PVBs only protect against back-siphonage. Some other standard prevention devices are spill-resistant vacuum breakers, double-check valves, and reduced pressure principle backflow assemblies. Luckily, at GoodBee Plumbing, we have experience with all different types of water backflow prevention devices, so we have your needs covered. 

Why Do I Need a Water Backflow Preventer?

There are several reasons why having a water backflow preventer installed in your home is essential. These can range from simple safety reasons to legal necessity. Knowing these different reasons is extremely important to avoid both legal repercussions and bodily harm. Here are the most common reasons for installing a water backflow prevention device.

Safety

Water backflow prevention is necessary to keep your drinking water safe and free of any contamination. Installing and maintaining a water backflow prevention device is the best way to ensure that your home remains protected. In cities like New Orleans that experience frequent pressure changes, you may see even more of a need for backflow prevention services. 

While you may not hear about them very often, backflow events do occur from time to time. These events can lead to injury, illness, and even death due to the backflow of hazardous or toxic substances. Protecting your home and family from these events is relatively simple, especially with the help of GoodBee plumbing and drains. By installing a water backflow prevention device, you can rest assured that you are safe from the possibility of contamination due to a backflow event.

Legal Reasons

Having a backflow preventer is a legal requirement in most states, so installing one of these devices can help you avoid unnecessary legal issues related to your plumbing. For example, in Louisiana, the Department of Health requires all water systems to develop and implement a backflow prevention program to help protect the public water supply. As Covington’s premier plumbing option, we work hard to ensure that all homes and businesses follow these legal guidelines. 

Avoiding Repairs

Backflows have the potential to cause severe damage to your pipes due to foreign materials. By having a backflow preventer installed, you can avoid having to deal with these potentially costly repairs. Plus, by avoiding these repairs in the first place, you avoid the inconvenience of going without water for days while repairs are underway. In addition, water backflow preventers can help ensure you won’t need to deal with any additional repair issues.

Call Goodbee For All Water Backflow Prevention Needs

Here at GoodBee Plumbing and Drains, we offer everything you need to keep your water backflow prevention device up to date. From installation to routine testing, we will be with you every step of the way, ensuring your home’s drinking water is clean and safe from contamination. Our professional technicians know just how important it is to keep your home protected, and we are eager to help take care of the job, no matter how big or small it may be. Contact us today for more information on our services and to get started. 

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