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How to Prevent Backflow in Your Plumbing System

How to Prevent Backflow in Your Plumbing System

What Is Backflow?

Backflow is essentially what it sounds like: a reversal in the flow of used water. When gray water, sewage or gasses flow back into your home’s plumbing system, it renders your residential water undrinkable. The phenomenon is usually the result of a cross-connection between the plumbing in your home and the outward source to which the used water is flowing. Backflow occurs when used water - or some combination of water and other substances such as sewage, gray water or gasses - reverses its direction and flows back into your home’s plumbing system. Backflow is bad because it renders your water undrinkable. Once it occurs, determining how to prevent backflow in the future is usually a matter of examining all the possible cross-connections that may occur in your home’s water system.

A cross-connection is pretty much what it sounds like: a link between your potable (drinkable) water and another source that can contaminate it, such as a septic tank or sewer. While necessary, such connections must be controlled when you are determining how to prevent backflow. While backflow-prevention devices are out there, many cities and towns have ordinances that regulate their use. So, if you have a problem with backflow and live in Alpharetta, it only makes sense to contact a plumber familiar with the local regulations for your area.

How Can a Plumber Help?

A professional will examine your particular circumstances and make a determination for how to prevent backflow into your home’s plumbing system. The plumber will decide the best course of action based on the devices that your municipality’s regulations allow. Although there are dozens of backflow prevention products on the market, the two most common types account for the majority of devices used.

How Do You Prevent Backflow?

Often, the cross-connections that can lead to backflow are necessary to the proper functioning of your household plumbing: toilet to sewer, for example. Many simple-seeming devices are available to control cross-connections, but many cities in the Atlanta area, including Marietta, as Marietta Power & Water notes, have ordinances that regulate how and what backflow prevention devices may be used. A plumber familiar with approved devices in your area will best know how to prevent backflow issues you are experiencing.

In spite of a large number of devices on the market, the two most common make up the vast majority of the devices used to prevent backflow. A pressure vacuum breaker, or PVB, is the least expensive and is often installed above-ground. Although installing, repairing and maintaining a PVB are all relatively simple, it may release water on occasion. Depending on the device’s location, such water release could be a considerable disadvantage. For in-line installations or underground use, double check valves, or DCVs, are the most common backflow prevention devices. This is because DCVs are more flexible than PVBs when it comes to how they can be installed. But they are often more expensive than PVBs.

Regardless of the source of backflow, it is a serious issue that can be detrimental to both your health and your wallet. Call the professionals at Casteel. Our plumbers are well-versed in local regulations in the Atlanta area and have the experience to address your backflow problems.

Pressure Vacuum Breakers

The most common and least expensive preventer that can address backflow for your entire plumbing system is the PVB: pressure vacuum breaker. Relatively simple devices, PVBs are easy to install. Maintaining and repairing PVBs is also not complicated. One of their disadvantages is that they may release some water on occasion.

Double Check Valves

The most commonly installed backflow preventer for underground or in-line use - in irrigation systems, for example - is the double check valve or DCV. While more expensive than PVBs, a DCV is more flexible with respect to how it can be installed. These preventers are also sometimes called double check assemblies, but DCAs and DCVs are the same basic products.

Call Casteel in Atlanta Today

Backflow is a serious problem that can pose both health and financial risks. If you experience backflow, call Casteel for professional advice. Their plumbers can navigate local ordinances and product choices, and they know how to prevent backflow in your home.