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How to Prevent Backflow in Your Plumbing System

How to Prevent Backflow in Your Plumbing System

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.

A professional will examine your particular circumstances and make a determination for how to prevent blackflow 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.

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.

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.