Even though it might not seem like a threat, there is always a danger present that could lead to a contaminated water supply. You might think it is not an issue for your building, but backflow can happen anytime there is an unprotected cross connection that allows water flow to reverse. The secret to keeping your water clean and completely safe from backflow is being pro-active about prevention. Instead of assuming that your drinking water supply is clean, you need to invest in the tools and maintenance of your plumbing system that will let you know for certain that you have a safe water supply. A backflow prevention assembly along with annual testing of the equipment will effectively help you avoid the dangers of backflow.
Why Backflow Matters
If you are not familiar with the term backflow then you might not understand why it is so important to keep it under control for your plumbing system. Backflow is a condition that can allow dangerous contaminants to enter your water supply which can then be consumed unintentionally through drinking water. Backflow can cause the spread of serious illnesses because of the toxic chemicals and bacteria present in certain types of water. When there are changes in pressure between different water lines, a reversal of water flow can occur and contaminated water then flows into the supply of potable water. Commercial, multifamily, residential and irrigation services are the most vulnerable to experiencing backflow and need to have a backflow prevention assembly installed.
The key to preventing the dangers of backflow is controlling the flow of water through the cross-connection where reversal of water flow can occur. If water is allowed to flow in the opposite direction than what is intended, then this is where contaminants can enter the wrong water supply. Backflow prevention involves closing off the possibility of water flowing the wrong way through a device that automatically shuts off water flow when there is an accidental change in pressure. A valve in a backflow prevention assembly lets water through when it is flowing the right way and closes up when water can potentially come in through a cross connection. This keeps contaminants out and allows the plumbing system to work correctly.
Installing and Testing Backflow Prevention Assemblies
In order to adequately prevent backflow in your building you will need to obtain and install approved backflow prevention assemblies. Approved assemblies have been tested and proven to be effective in a laboratory and through field evaluation. You can find a list of which assemblies have been tested and approved so that you can choose one to be installed. The type of assembly that you will need depends on the level of risk for contamination in your particular area. Backflow prevention services can help you evaluate the risk that you have and install the correct device for you. An initial test will help get the prevention system working but it is up to you to make sure that you get a test every year. There is always the possibility that something has gone wrong with the system and you will be completely unaware if you do not actively pursue the necessary testing and evaluation. Maintaining your system through repair when necessary will keep it working after it has worn down or starts to experience mechanical problems. Preventing backflow is only possible when you are informed about the dangers and are pro-active about keeping your water supply clean. The flow of water through a cross connection needs to be protected and properly controlled through a working backflow prevention assembly that receives annual testing.