How Do You Explain What Backflow Is!

In plumbing the term backflow is used when water flow in the reverse direction. This can lead to severe health risk as the backflow water could contaminate drinking water supplies as well as the foul smells can harm the residents of the home.

What Causes The Water To Backflow?

When there is an unbalance in water pressure between the main and the internal system of the home or business. When the water delivery main has lower water pressure to that of the internal plumbing system then back siphonage occurs. This is also called reverse water flow by some people.


There are two types of backflow:

  • Back pressure backflow: this is caused when the downstream pressure is far greater than the upstream pressure (from the public water system). Downstream water pressure is caused by pumps, boiler temperatures. Potable water pressure occurs when the amount of water used exceeds to the supply.
  • Back siphonage: This is caused by negative water pressure (a vacuum or partial vacuum) in public water system. This resembles drinking water through a straw. This normally occurs when water supply is topped when fire fighting or break in the main occurs.

How to stop backflow

Here are 5 ways you can stop backflow:

  1. Air gaps: By installing air gaps you can prevent water flowing back into the dispensing system. These air gaps are normally used in toilets and faucets, separating home supply lines from the sewage lines.
  2. Atmosphere vacuum breakers; Used by home owners who want to install a single backflow to prevent a threat from the public water system. This is cost effective and easily maintained.
  3. Pressure vacuum breakers: This is a more sophisticated version of Atmosphere vacuum breakers. Instead of using air pressure to separate the two systems it generates its own pressure. This is more effective and has wider usage. There is a downside. It needs annual testing which cost money.
  4. Check values: These values come as single and double values for less or more hazardous contamination respectively. These are underground installations. Though these check values are effective they don’t filter out hazardous chemicals. Hence they cant be used in industrial buildings.These also need annual testing.
  5. Reduced pressure principle assemblies: This is the most sophisticated prevention backflow systems available. This makes them available to both home owners and commercial, industrial properties that are exposed to significant water hazards. This system used the 2 check values procedure as well as a depressurized zone that prevents water flow back even if the value fails. This system requires annual testing.

To get effective backflow prevention systems installed on your residential or commercial properties you will need a licensed expert plumber . Call Plumbaround to quote on the job.

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