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Your Water System: Preventing Backflow Issues

Posted on October 31, 2013

Water systems make our lives easier by delivering water on demand when and where we need it in our homes. But a water system is anything but convenient if you’re experiencing a backflow problem. Backflow can divert waste water, sewage and other pollutants back into the lines supplying your drinking water, a situation no homeowner wants to be in.  

What Is Backflow?

Backflow is a term for the reversal of the normal flow of potable water. The reversal of flow puts potentially contaminated water back into your drinking water. How does it happen?
Backflow usually has one of two causes: back pressure or back siphonage.

  • Back pressure is when the normal flow of your water changes direction inside the piping system that connects your house to the public water line. This is a direct result of downstream pressure overpowering the supply-source pressure level. Back pressure tends to happen when there is a reduction in supply pressure, and home use exceeds that pressure limit. Plumbing work, water-line flushing, damage to a public water main and local firefighting can cause back-pressure to occur.
  • Back siphonage refers to a reversal in normal water flow because of negative pressure in the public water supply. This partial vacuum created by negative pressure occurs when the delivery rate or speed of directed water reaches a high velocity, when water pressure is reduced because of high demand or when water line repair takes place at low service points along the water infrastructure.

Backflow Prevention

Atmospheric vacuum breakers are most commonly used for preventing backflow issues. AVBs work by letting air into pipes so that siphons and vacuums can’t form in the delivery lines. Made of brass and bent at a 90-degree angle AVBs are relatively inexpensive and durable with little need for maintenance, making them ideal for homes.

Contact the professionals at Comfort Systems for help in preventing backflow issues in your home. We serve homeowners throughout Wichita with an array of plumbing services. We’ve been in business since 1996, and we’d be happy to help you with all of your plumbing, heating and cooling needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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