What are Backflow Valves & How do they Work?

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You may have heard of this small piece of equipment, but are unsure of how it works and if you even need one.  What you do know is that you want and need to have clean, uncontaminated water in your home. Let’s take a quick look together at how a backflow works and why it is so important to the health and safety of you and your family.

What is a Backflow Valve?

A backflow valve is a double-flow tube with either a screw or flip stopper on one end. This stopper is built to stop the unclean water from reaching your faucet.  Without this small plumbing device, and maybe the addition of some filters, contaminated water would spread throughout your home.

A backflow valve is most useful when a pipe bursts, freezes, or a high pressure solid or gas tries to move through the plumbing system.  These kinds of incidents cause the normal water pressure to be altered, which will allow for the contaminated water to move through your pipes.

Normally, because the pressure is optimized for your home plumbing system, the sewage or other waste and contaminants will move down through the earth, while the cleaner waters will go up into the home. However, when one of the before mentioned disasters occur, this is usually reversed.

Contamination Rules & Regulations

Sometimes regulations require a small air gap between the delivery point and local storage or use. This helps to control backflow due to high pressures.

Nearly every city and state has regulations for their individual water systems and annual testing and cleaning of systems, procedures and the water itself.  This is all done so that we can stay safe and healthy, at least as far as water is concerned.

By Heidi Rothert

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