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How Often Is Backflow Testing Needed?

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Plumbing Techs in Timberwood Park, Texas, Share Important Info on Backflow Testing

Should Homeowners Consider Backflow Testing

Backflow is a term which most people will find unfamiliar. Most homeowners fall among this group, and that means they’ve never had a backflow problem – and they should count themselves lucky. 

While it’s not the most widely known plumbing issue, if and when backflow occurs, it can cause big problems and even pose a serious health risk to the home and family. This article will explain what backflow is, why homeowners definitely don’t want to experience it, and how to prevent it.

Basics of Backflow

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Backflow, just as the name suggests, is the flow of water in the wrong direction within a plumbing system. Specifically, the term refers to non-potable water reversing direction and contaminating the potable water supply. The drainage and supply subsystems in a home’s plumbing system are kept separate to prevent contamination, but points of intersection – known as ‘cross-connections’ – are unavoidable in some cases. Appliances like dishwashers, for instance, require a cross-connection, but they are designed to prevent backflow.

Backflow occurs when there is a sudden change in pressure within a plumbing system. If the pressure in the pipes experiences a sudden loss, due to a burst pipe, for instance, contaminants may be sucked into the potable water supply. This is known as ‘back-siphonage.’ If pipes undergo a swift and significant rise in pressure due to gas buildup in the sewer main, the toxic gas can force its way into the system and contaminate the water supply. This is called ‘backpressure.’

Backflow Prevention Tips

There are two main ways to prevent backflow. They are equally effective, but which is used in any given instance depends upon the nature of the plumbing system and the limitations of the physical space where the implement must be installed. 

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The most common of these is the air gap. An air gap is a vertical run of pipe between any fixture and wherever water can accumulate, the length of which depends on the building codes for each specific fixture. Where an air gap is not possible due to space constraints or special pressure requirements, a mechanical backflow preventer valve must be used. These are designed differently depending on their specific application.

The Importance of Backflow Testing

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Backflow can occur unexpectedly, for a number of reasons, and depending on the cause and the nature of the contaminants involved, the results can range from very unpleasant to potentially life-threatening. Whether it’s wastewater from a drainage line or harsh chemicals from a pressure washer, contamination of the water supply due to backflow is something homeowners never want to experience.

Having the plumbing system inspected and tested for backflow vulnerabilities is a must for any homeowner. Older homes in particular may not be up to current code and may be at risk for backflow issues. Even a brief interruption in the municipal water services can spell disaster if they’re not protected. A routine backflow test is painless and inexpensive, and can provide clean water for years to come.

About Primo Plumbing Inc.

Primo Plumbing Inc. has been proudly providing services like backflow testing in Timberwood Park, TX for decades. Their friendly and professional technicians are licensed, bonded, insured, and background checked. They offer same-day service and honest, competitive pricing.

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