There are some glamorous topics in the world, things like fashion, exercise and high-flying lifestyles of the rich and famous. There are also some pretty practical topics that are nowhere near as glamorous, but still as vital (some might argue, even more vital) than any fashion topic ever. I’m talking, of course, about backflow prevention and for anyone with even the slightest interest in commercial plumbing in Melbourne, you’re probably already rolling your eyes and mentally listing all of the various things that are important about backflow prevention. Well to you, I say congratulations – you’re obviously very ahead of the game when it comes to plumbing and for that, you should be applauded. For everyone else who is sadly thus far unaware of the importance of backflow prevention, I thought I would shine a light on the vital components of backflow prevention and why it’s important for you as a property owner, renter or any other kind of house or apartment dweller.
What is backflow?
Backflow happens when water from your property flows backwards – that is to say it tracks back into the mains supply. This can carry contaminants that can potentially damage people’s health.
When does it occur?
Backflow is pretty likely to happen when there’s a drop in pressure in the mains system (for example, during a main break) or when the water pressure that exists at the property is higher than that at the main (for example if a pump is operating on a site).
How do contaminants enter the drinking water system?
They can enter the system if there’s a cross connection which can be caused by faulty plumbing or by hoses which are submerged in buckets, tanks or pools. You’ll find that contaminants include chemicals, oils, bacteria, mud and/or debris.
So, when was the last time you had a good hard think about backflow prevention? Or when was the last time you thought about backflow prevention at all? If you’ve never given it a thought, it might be time to give it just a little bit of thought – as it could be something that’s troublesome at some point in your future.
It sounds a bit scary – all this talk about backflow and contamination, but thankfully there is a simple device that you can get that helps to prevent backflow contamination in its entirety because (and this is a bit scary), there are more than 10,000 cases of backflow contamination every year and some of them are catastrophic.
There are a couple of different backflow prevention devices, and they are as follows:
1) Air gap – this is a simple option and is also a very simple and easy way to provide backflow prevention. The gap is simply an open space between any device that connects a plumbing system (like a tap) and it’s placed on any area where water can collect or pool.
2) Specialised backflow prevention valve – this is a device that can be inserted at any location within your plumbing system where there’s a risk of water entering into the water supply pipes.
You should use a backflow prevention device as it keeps your water clean and works to keep pollutants from contaminating your water supply. In many parts of the world, backflow prevention devices are mandatory and have to be installed as part of your plumbing and building codes.
I hope that this short piece on the benefits of backflow prevention has proven to be useful for you and that you now, at the very least, have a good grasp of the basics of backflow prevention. After all, it’s going to be to your advantage if you understand it so that you can keep your family or customers safe and keep your water fresh and clean.