Your home’s water supply is a one-way system. However, drops in water pressure can cause backflow to add contaminated fluids into a drinking water system. Removal of large amounts of water from a system or simply broken water mains can cause this situation.
These results in a reversal in water flow and common unhealthy water sources include washing machines, toilet tanks, gutters or even garbage cans. Backflow situations can arise anytime and if you’re looking for a 24 hour plumber in Chicago, experienced professionals like those at Mike’s Chicago Plumbing Services can offer emergency services.
In the meantime, here are some ways to prevent this undesirable problem in your everyday home life.
Creating Air Gaps
In conditions where backpressure and back-siphonage are likely, air gaps can successfully prevent backflow. They can be fabricated from other plumbing components or bought as separate units. One must get air gaps in their plumbing, inspected on a regular basis.
Employing a Barometric Loop
In cases where there is no backpressure, your plumber can also use barometric loops to prevent backflow. It is a U-shaped system consisting of continuous supply piping which rises to about 35 feet and then returns to the original height. The principle on which it is based is that at sea level pressure, water columns won’t rise more than 33.9 feet.
Using Hose Bibb Vacuum Breakers
In residences, using hose bibb vacuum breakers to keep backflow away, is common. It protects single outlets, for instance, outdoor water faucets, slop sink hoses, and garden hoses, according to the team at Mike’s Chicago Plumbing Services. The compact assembly allows pressure in just one direction. In case of a drop in the water pressure, the spring will close and the water will be discharged by a valve.
Using Pressure Vacuum Breakers
These are typically installed in pipes supplying water to sprinkler systems in homes. This helps to check system pressure and prevent against backflow, should water pressure drop below air pressure. In this case, a check valve will close, preventing backflow.
Pressure vacuum breakers, however, do not protect when backpressure is involved. Have your PVBs tested every year to keep contaminants out of drinking water. Maintain your PVBs by winterizing them in the winters.
Double Check Valves
As the name suggests, double check valves consist of two single check valves. These are supplied with gate valves and test cocks. Double check valves can be used even under continuous pressure and can protect against both backpressure and back-siphonage.
Preventing Water Contamination
- Avoid leaving garden hoses lying out. This could create puddles for bacteria and contaminants to pool and work their way up the hose.
- Never submerge garden hoses while filling containers or buckets with water. Create an air gap to prevent a backflow from sending any contaminants in the container, back into your drinking water. The same goes while filling swimming pools.
- Do not connect internal plumbing and well water, since the latter contains bacteria and heavy metals. In case backflow occurs, contact an emergency plumber in Chicago for backflow prevention assembly installation.
- Avoid connecting hoses to faucets indoors to maintain air gaps and prevent backflow.