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Client Request: What Does a Backflow Preventer Do?

In many ways, we take our modern plumbing system for granted. Clean water and proper drainage are luxuries that we’ve come to expect, in part because our plumbing systems are designed to prevent impurities from entering the water system. Most municipalities put their water through a rigorous water treatment process before it reaches the residential areas. However, this doesn’t mean that contaminants cannot possibly reach your water supply. Unfortunately, undesirable cross-connections may occur and, if so, this will allow groundwater, pesticides, or wastewater to enter your drinking water. This is why most residential and commercial plumbing systems are outfitted with a backflow preventer.

The water supply is kept under very high pressure so that water can easily flow from a tap in your home. But let’s say that there was a sudden drop in this pressure. Perhaps the water line burst all of a sudden, or maybe a nearby fire hydrant discharged large volumes of water, drawing from your water supply. This abrupt drop in pressure could force a reverse-flow in the water line, sucking in any nearby source of liquid. This means that pesticides in the ground or even sewage could potentially move into the water pipes.

Backflow preventers are required components of most plumbing systems in order to keep this sort of contamination from occurring. Many have a series of check valves and air gaps that help to stop backflow, while other more advanced backflow preventers are more complex. These models, called reduced pressure zone devices, work even if check valves malfunction due to a pressure-monitored chamber.

A backflow preventer is a necessary component in any plumbing layout, but it requires regular maintenance if you want to keep your water supply protected. You should have a plumber check your backflow preventer every once in a while, or you can ask your plumber to test your backflow preventer during an annual plumbing maintenance visit.

At SPS Mechanical Inc., we maintain and repair backflow preventers in Sicklerville, and we also provide backflow prevention device certification and testing. Even if your plumbing system appears to be fine, you should consider testing it to make sure your home or business continues to be protected. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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