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Backflow Testing Tips From the Experts

Backflow is a dangerous situation many homeowners are unaware of. While not a frequent occurrence, backflow can lead to dangerous sewage making its way not only into the pipes but potentially into the drinking water. This can have serious health consequences if not caught quickly. 

To discuss what exactly backflow is and how it can be prevented, plumbing experts are here with more information.

What Exactly Is Backflow?

confused woman

The water in the home’s plumbing system is supposed to only run in one direction. When that doesn’t happen, a dangerous situation known as backflow can occur. A change in pressure in the pipes causes water to run backward, allowing sewage to enter the pipes and the home.

There are two reasons that that change in pressure can occur, known as backpressure and back-siphonage. They are essentially opposites of each other - backpressure is an increase in pressure, and back-siphonage is a decrease. 

In addition to contamination due to sewage, backflow can also increase dangerous metals, pesticides, organic compounds, chemicals, and other biological components like microorganisms. These can be just as dangerous as sewage, especially in larger quantities.

Health-related symptoms of a potential backflow problem include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, neurological effects like headaches and dizziness, abdominal pain, and a burning sensation in the mouth.

All this is to say; backflow must be prevented.

How Can Backflow Be Prevented?

woman holding a house

There are a few ways that backflow can be prevented in the home’s plumbing system. 

One of these ways involves using what’s known as an “air gap” in areas known to collect water. With an air gap in place, it doesn’t allow the water to pool in any area of the plumbing system. This also reduces the pressure on the system and the likelihood that the water will react to that pressure by running back through the plumbing system. This is most effective with back-siphonage. 

Backflow prevention devices have also proven useful. One of the most popular is a valve that can be specifically installed at set points through the plumbing system. These points are chosen for their likelihood of allowing contaminated water into the home. 

Why Backflow Testing Is Important

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Backflow can be extremely dangerous and should always be taken very seriously. While there are ways that backflow can be prevented, regular backflow testing is also recommended to make sure the home is as protected as possible. 

Backflow testing should be done at least once a year, even if there are no obvious problem signs. It normally takes no more than 30 minutes, but the result is that the drinking water in the home is not contaminated with any sewage.

In many areas of the county, backflow testing is not just recommended, but mandatory. Check local regulations or a qualified local plumbing company to see if that is applicable. 

About Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air

Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air is located in Fairhope, AL. Home of on-time, White Glove Service, they offer 24/7 plumbing solutions you can count on. In addition, all of their expert services are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee for homeowners' peace of mind.