Backflow: What Is It And How Does It Affect Your Home?

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The water in your home is supposed to flow in a specific direction and end up in the sewer system. When backflow occurs, it causes water to reverse its course and the water is flowing in the wrong direction. This problem can lead to illness and even be fatal because it can cause contamination. It is vital to teat backflow and address any issues immediately so that your potable water can remain clean.

Testing For Backflow

A certified plumber can test your home for backflow issues. The plumber must turn off the downstream shutoff valve and test the pressure in your home's plumbing system. This is done using a test kit hoses. The plumber looks for areas where the pressure isn't normal. This test can determine if your drinking water is being contaminated by dirt water flowing back into the plumbing system. If problems are found, the plumber can offer backflow repair services. 

Preventing Backflow

The most reliable method of preventing backflow is to use an air gap. An air gap is an open vertical space between a plumbing system, such as a valve or faucet. The air gap is also useful in an area where contaminated water is likely to pool or collect.

Backflow prevention devices are also available. They are installed onto a pipe and allow water to flow in only one direction. It's like a one-way gate that allows water to enter the home but prevents the water from flowing back into your main water supply. You can check your home for a backflow prevention device by looking where water enters the home. This is usually in the basement near a water heater, in a mechanical room, or in a crawl space.

Backflow Problems

Backflow is dangerous because it can put your health and home at risk. It not only creates a big mess but also causes other issues like:

  • Pipe corrosion
  • Leaky pipes
  • Breaches

The biggest danger of backflow is its risk to your family's health. It can contaminate your water supply with toxins and human waste. This is a serious health risk for your family. You can watch for signs of backflow and take immediate action. Look for:

  • Discolored water
  • Smelly water (sulfur smell)
  • Rust or sediment in the water
  • Foul-tasting water
  • Slow water flow

You never know when a backflow issue may occur. Backflow testing can help you determine where pressure is high. A professional plumber can do periodic checks on your water system to determine everything is working correctly. The professional can check your automatic shutoff valve and other safety features to make sure your home is protected in case backflow does occur. For more information about having a backflow test done or chceking for backflow, contact a local plumber.