Dirty water entering your tap water. Gross, right?
How does that happen?
You may not know it when you see it, but you may discover it through taste or smell: backflow. It occurs when clean water reverses direction, pulling (through suction) dirty water into the water supply. More specifically, backflow happens when three conditions are met: a direct or indirect cross-connection (between the drinking water system and the fixture where a potential water contaminating hazard exists), a hydraulic condition (backpressure or backsiphonage), and a hazard substance.
Sources of Backflow (Residential)
Here are a few of the spots in and around the home where backflow can occur:
- Dishwashers and garbage disposals
- Toilets and hand-held showers
- Hot water systems
- Faucets where hoses can be attached
- Swimming pools, fish ponds, fountains, lawn irrigation systems (weed killers, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.)
The scary thing about backflow? It can seep into your water supply gradually and go undetected—in worst-case scenarios, for years.
Prevention: Backflow Testing and Best Practices
With so many sources of potential contamination, how can you make sure nothing hazardous enters the water supply, either to your home or the community? In the Charlotte area, the municipal requirement answers that for you: a backflow prevention device is required on all inground irrigation systems. Once installed, testing (by a Charlotte-approved company) is required once a year. Never had a backflow inspection? Be sure to schedule backflow testing ASAP.
If you want to be even more proactive, you can install a backflow preventer anywhere a cross-connection exists.
Types of Backflow Preventers
Two of the most common backflow preventers are hose bibb vacuum breakers and pressure type vacuum breakers. Hose bibb vacuum breakers are inexpensive and are installed on a faucet to prevent garden hose backflow. Pressure type vacuum breakers prevent the backflow of weed killers, fertilizers, and pesticides, and they’re used on the pipes that supply water to inground irrigation systems.
Charlotte Plumbers with Experience
E.R. Plumbing is on the list of approved Charlotte backflow preventer testers. Need an installation, a test, or simply more info? Give us a call at 704-846-5371 or use our online contact form for service 24/7, 365 days a year.
Quick question & answer: What are the best kinds of backflow preventers?
Two of the best, most common backflow preventers are hose bibb vacuum breakers and pressure type vacuum breakers. Hose bibb vacuum breakers are inexpensive and installed on faucets to prevent garden hose backflow. Pressure type vacuum breakers prevent backflow of weed killers, fertilizers, and pesticides. They’re used on pipes that supply water to inground irrigation systems.