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What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Plumbing Backflow Prevention

Every time you turn on the tap, you expect clean, potable water to come out, but that water supply requires that the water always flows in a single direction from the main line into your home. All water from the purification plant to the main line is rigorously tested to maintain healthy limits on harmful chemicals and pollutants. Once you use that water in your home or yard however, it can be polluted with anything from bacteria to motor oil. To avoid what is known as backflow, a Houston plumber can perform a backflow inspection and install a preventer to keep water from flowing from your home back into the water main.

What Exactly Is Backflow?

A plumbing backflow is never a good thing because once water is contaminated, it will remain so until purified either through natural processes, such as filtering through soil and bedrock, or through artificial processes, such as reverse osmosis. However, water cannot be purified in the confines of water mains, which means that any contaminants you introduce into the fresh water system can end up in your home.

For example, your irrigation system likely has some dirt and other contaminants in the PVC lines running throughout your yard. That does not really pose an issue by itself because you do not drink that water. An irrigation system without a backflow preventer, however, does pose a risk by potentially allowing some of those contaminants to infiltrate the tap water entering your home until a preventer is installed by a Houston residential plumber.

What Causes a Backflow?

Most of the time, water flows from the water main to your home, but a few issues can stop or even reverse this flow. When firefighters hook up to a hydrant, they can pull so much water out of the main and drop the water pressure enough that the water pressure in your home will temporarily exceed the water main’s pressure. When that happens, water can flow the wrong way. Other problems such as water main breaks and repairs can also drop the main line’s pressure.

How Do I Prevent Backflows?

Backflows are a serious enough concern that regulations exist to prevent them. For example, many municipalities require that irrigation systems be hooked up to backflow preventers, which, as the name implies, prevent water from flowing from your house back to the fresh water system. These are very common devices, and your Houston plumber can install them on anything from an individual faucet to the supply line running from the street to your home.

Not sure if you need a backflow preventer in your home? You can check out the extensive list of residential plumbing services at Santhoff Plumbing including Houston toilet repairs, or give us a call at 713-665-4997 to schedule a service appointment with one of our Houston plumber specialists.  

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