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Backflow Prevention

I keep hearing about plumbing “Backflow Prevention” and getting it checked out. I don’t have a backflow system at my house. What is all this talk about?

Well, let’s allay the fears of many homeowners.  Most homes do not need nor have any kind of Backflow apparatus that requires testing. There are a few situations where a homeowner may need a Backflow Preventer. If you need more information on home or business requirements contact Lance Maxwell Plumbers, the specialists in North Florida.

Here is a thumbnail description of a very complex subject that requires certification of technicians who are involved in inspections and repair of equipment. Not all plumbers are able to be involved in this specialty.

We are all familiar with a public water system providing consumer’s potable (i.e., drinking) water. This is the clean drinking water that is pumped to our homes for human consumption.  Any water that is not suitable for human consumption is identified as non-potable since it contains some form of contaminants or other substances.

Some instances have both potable and non-potable water on premises. This creates a situation referred to as Cross–connection.  Piping between a potable water system and any system containing non-potable water or other substances, can possibly allow cross contamination.

Backflow is the undesirable reversible flow of non-potable water or other substances through a cross connection into the piping of a public water system or consumers potable water system. The backflow of non-potable water into a public water system can pollute and contaminate the potable (drinking) water making it unsafe.

To prevent backflow, in those circumstances where a potential cross-connection may exist, a mechanism called a Backflow Preventer must be installed in the appropriate pipeline.  The backflow preventer will be activated when and if any pressure change in water pressure occurs thereby cutting off the possible cross flow and contamination of potable water. A possible pressure change could result due to a water main break, high use of fire hydrants or any high use of water.

Okay, who must have this Backflow Preventer installed?

The Backflow preventer should be installed at or to each of the following premises:

  • Locations with auxiliary or reclaimed water systems.
  • Industrial, medical, laboratory, marine or any facility where contaminants might be handled.
  • Tall buildings
  • Locations utilizing irrigation systems

Lance Maxwell Plumbing serves Tallahassee and the surrounding area, has a state certified technician on staff that is able to test, certify and repair backflow preventers.