“Backflow” is a term common to plumbers that describes the unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction as what is intended. For instance, in a home, it typically refers to the process of toilet flush water supply not being properly isolated from the toilet bowl. When the flushed, contaminated or “foul” water surfaces, it can cause serious health hazards. That’s why sewer backflow prevention is so crucial to a home or any public building.
Know the Causes of Backflow
Sewer backflow prevention starts with knowing the causes. The two main causes are:
- Back Pressure – When there is higher pressure in the system than in the supply.
- Back Siphonage – When the supply pressure is lowered below the pressure of the system.
Devices for Sewer Backflow Prevention
An owner of any public building or home should never wait until there is backflow to address the risk and practice proper sewer backflow prevention.
- Check Valves – Manually operated valves are typically not acceptable in public buildings and not recommended in private ones. Instead, automatic check valves are utilized to prevent back pressure. A single check valve can prevent minimal contamination (aesthetic water quality or temperature). A double check valve can prevent low levels of toxicity. Any more serious contamination requires an air gap.
- Air Gaps – Back siphonage and back pressure may both be avoided by a vertical air gap in the pipeline. Home examples of this are taps and shower heads being raised above the overflow water level.
- Sewer BPD – There are additional BPD’s (backflow prevention devices) you can install outside a building or home that allows foul water to escape from a cleanout rather than flow into a home.
When Sewer Backflow Prevention Doesn’t Work
If you’ve experienced sewer backflow, you know how it can damage and destroy the integrity of your home and all that you value within. Even with proper sewer backflow prevention, accidents happen. Be prepared when they do by reviewing your home insurance policy for protection in case of sewer back-up and water damage.
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