Backflow in Your Water Supply: Avoiding Risk and Damage

Backflow in Your Water Supply: Avoiding Risk and Damage

Backflow is a dangerous issue that can lead to serious problems. It occurs where there is a cross-connection between a potable water system, also referred to as drinking water, and a source of contamination. It most commonly occurs in commercial plumbing and can cause sickness and health problems for people who unwittingly use the contaminated water. If you suspect a backflow problem or face a sewer and drain issue in Hamilton, do not delay in contacting professional plumbers.

What is backflow?

Backflow occurs when there is back pressure or siphonage that causes water to run in reverse of the normal direction of flow. Back pressure happens when the non-potable water supply operates at a higher pressure than the potable supply. Back siphonage happens when a vacuum or negative pressure is created in a public water system. Common causes include nearby firefighting, water main breaks, or temperature increase in boilers. In minor cases, contamination can cause water discolouration or odour and in extreme cases, it can be responsible for death. For this reason, calling an Oakville plumber in a timely manner is critical when you face a backflow issue in your home.

What are common cross-connections?

There are many cross-connections in water systems. Some examples are water softeners or conditioning units that are attached to a sanitary water sewer, hose usage to unclog toilets or sewers, lawn irrigation systems without backflow preventers, toilets without anti-siphon float valves installed, or chemical sprayers attached to a hose without any backflow preventer installed.

How can you prevent backflow?

The guaranteed way to eliminate backflow is by removing the cross-connection to the plumbing system. This is not always possible, in which case it is necessary to take steps towards backflow prevention. This is done by installing a backflow preventer, also known as a BFP. These mechanisms introduce an air gap which removes the cross-connection or creates a barrier for backflow to occur. Mechanical backflow preventers may also be used to create a physical barrier, which may be more suitable in certain situations.

Why is periodic testing important?

Backflow preventers have a lot of parts, including springs, internal seats and other moving parts which are susceptible to wear, damage or deterioration over time. While they are installed to prevent backflow, they do not entirely eliminate the risk of it occurring since these devices may be bypassed. Air gaps must be visually checked to ensure they are still in the correct position and other tests must be administered to ensure that physical barriers are operating as intended. For this reason, periodic testing will confirm that the BFP units are doing their job.

If you experience backflow problems, Pitton Plumbing can help. Our experienced team provides fast and dependable plumbing services in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville and surrounding areas. Call our plumbers today at 1-800-499-4184 or contact us online.