How the Hazards of Backflow Can Become a Real-Life Monster
First of all, what is backflow? The term ‘backflow’ describes any instance where the water in a plumbing system undergoes an unintended change in direction. Backflow is caused by a rapid change in pressure within the system, be it a pressure loss (known as back siphonage) or a pressure increase (known as backpressure). In either case, the result is the contamination of the clean-water supply with non-potable water.
Contamination can occur from various sources and may not be limited to a single home’s plumbing system. In some cases, the entire municipal water supply can be affected. The consequences of backflow contamination can range from downright disgusting to potentially deadly.
Backflow Is Messy Business
A pressure change which creates backflow can occur for a number of reasons. A leaky pipe in a home’s water supply system, a break in the neighborhood water main, the opening of a nearby fire hydrant, flooded sewers - these can all cause contaminants to come in contact with a home’s potable water supply.
Among the most obvious (and most common) forms of backflow contamination is that of wastewater. This used water (sometimes called grey water) flows through a home’s drainage pipes down to the sewer main. When backflow causes it to creep up through drains or - even worse - mix in with the clean water supply, it can turn a bathroom or kitchen into a real horror scene. Such a gruesome, smelly mess can be extremely difficult to get rid of.
Backflow Poses a Health Risk
Aside from being unpleasant and messy, backflow contamination involving wastewater or sewage can be very hazardous to homeowners and their families’ health for obvious reasons. Other backflow contamination sources can be just as dangerous and are harder to detect before they cause serious problems.
Chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers can make their way into irrigation lines (if a sprinkler head becomes submerged by pooling water, for instance) and pollute a home’s potable water in the event of a backflow incident. Homeowners may develop a serious illness from consuming or bathing in water that’s been contaminated in this way - before they’re even aware they have a backflow problem.
Why Every Homeowner Needs Backflow Testing
While every home’s plumbing is designed to prevent cross-contamination between the supply pipes and drainage pipes, specialized measures must be implemented to prevent backflow. These backflow prevention devices are required fixtures in nearly every modern home, as dictated by housing codes. However, in some cases, these devices may be outdated, malfunctioning, or in some older homes, nonexistent.
Every homeowner can easily make sure their backflow preventers are up-to-code and functioning properly by scheduling a backflow testing and certification visit with their preferred plumber. Even a once-annual inspection can help maintain a safe home and an up-to-date backflow certificate. It’s the surest way to avoid costly city penalties - not to mention a ghoulish backflow disaster.
About Lascko Services
Lascko Services has provided exceptional service to Muskegon, MI, since 1999. They offer guaranteed up-front pricing, 24/7 emergency service, and financing plans. They are a family-owned and operated business. Contact them today for dependable Muskegon backflow testing and certification.