If you're used to turning on the tap in your kitchen and pouring a glass of water to drink, you may not think twice about its quality. After all, in the vast majority of cases, this water is perfectly safe to consume, and you have nothing to worry about. Yet, your home may also be equipped with a special device to keep this water as clean and uncontaminated as possible due to a risk known as "backflow." What do you need to know about this device, especially if it is not working as it should?
The Need For Backflow Prevention
A backflow preventer may be a legal requirement in your jurisdiction but is, in any case, a good idea. It is a simple device that will stop water from flowing in the wrong direction down a pipe if there is an issue with a pressure differential.
Understanding The Risks
Imagine a situation where you supply water to irrigate your front garden. These pipes will be in close proximity to the surface of the lawn and could be particularly vulnerable to contamination if the water was to flow in the opposite direction. In this case, the outbound water may pull fertiliser from around the head of the sprinkler, which would find its way back into the primary pipe before regulating the pressure. Then, that contaminated water might find its way back up to your tap when you look for another glass of water — with obvious consequences.
Dealing With Inconsistent Pressures
Everything will be fine should the pressure levels in the water system remain constant. This is not always the case, though. For example, the local fire service may need to open a hydrant nearby to deal with an outbreak. This can certainly reduce the pressure in the main supply, and when this happens, the water may flow backwards instead of forward.
The Risk Of Issues
When you have a working backflow preventer in place, you won't need to worry about these issues. Still, you need to keep an eye on these devices to ensure they do not fail and understand some of the key risks.
Potential Problem Areas
Due to their location, backflow preventers are vulnerable to leakage caused by dirt infiltration or thermal expansion. The preventer may spring a leak around the cover or close to the valve body. When this happens, the water pressure will drop, and you will need to take action as soon as possible to restore normal service.
Calling In The Experts
If you suspect issues with your backflow preventer, don't delay. Contact a service such as Martech Plumbing PTY LTD, and they will take the necessary action to maintain the safety of your water supply.