Backflow prevention protects potable (drinkable) water sources from accidental contamination by water lines that do not carry water fit for drinking. Most homes and businesses have one or more backflow prevention devices installed in their plumbing systems to ensure the safety of local drinking water.
Backflow can occur when changes in pressure cause a reversal of normal water flow in a plumbing system. This may cause non-drinkable water to enter potable water lines via areas where these lines connect, called cross-connections, and result in contamination.
There are a wide variety of backflow prevention devices available. The best type of device for your home or business will depend upon local regulations and your plumbing system.
Simply installing a backflow prevention device is not sufficient to protect drinking water lines—your device must also undergo regular testing by a licensed plumber to ensure it is functioning properly.
If you notice a problem with your backflow prevention device, it is imperative to schedule plumbing repairs immediately.
Because backflow prevention devices are often located outdoors, talk to your plumber about preventive measures, such as a cage or insulating sleeve or cover, to prevent theft, tampering, or broken pipes due to freezing weather.