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Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Blog

What Is a Backflow Prevention Device?

“Backflow” is a term used to describe non-potable water or other contaminants that back up through your pipes and enter your home through the sink or other fixtures. Backflow is a significant problem because it can expose your home to all manner of sickness or disease. The good news is that our civic water system in Glenview, IL is normally very reliable, so such incidents rarely happen. But when they do, it can be disastrous. The solution is a backflow prevention device installed in your home by professional plumbers. What is a backflow prevention device? Read on for the answers.

Causes of Backflow

Backflow is created by an unfortunate combination of physics and plumbing. Pipes don’t have a reverse switch, which means that liquid can flow in either direction just as easily. The determining factor is pressure, which can force contaminated water back up through your pipes if it’s significantly higher in the civic system than it is in your home system. This can be caused by flooding, a build-up of gases, the use of fire hydrants and other devices in your area, or even clogs and debris causing a back-up in the system. It’s of particular concern in the winter, when ice and frozen materials can sometimes create problems.

Types of Backflow Prevention Devices

Civic laws state that all plumbing systems have to be equipped with a very simple backflow device: a bend in your pipe before it reaches the faucet or shower. That creates an air bubble which is usually sufficient to stop backflow. In the event it isn’t, you can have a more thorough backflow prevention device installed in your home plumbing system that automatically cuts off the flow of liquid backwards into your pipes. It’s an excellent way to handle all contingencies on this front.

Contact Reliance Plumbing for the installation of backflow prevention devices!

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