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In any building, whether residential or commercial, it’s critical that a water supply system only allows water to flow one way. Water can move from an outlet back into the system if the outgoing pressure drops. When this happens, it’s called backflow. Backflow can allow contaminants to get into a building’s water supply if an unprotected outlet is submerged in contaminated water. Clearly, this can endanger the health of the occupants. Backflow testing by a professional plumber can help ensure clean, safe drinking water.

Residential Problem Areas

Most homes have some sort of backflow protection built into their water outlets. Sinks, for example, have spigots that sit above the water level so that even a clogged sink can’t introduce contaminants into the water line. An exception is hand-held spray or shower heads that can fall into contaminated water. However, these devices are required to have a vacuum breaker that prevents backflow. A professional plumber can help you identify other potential problem areas.

A big potential problem for homes exists right outside. Garden hoses that lack a vacuum-breaking feature can easily come into contact with contaminated water and backflow can occur. Irrigation systems can also be troublesome as sprinkler heads sit low to the ground and can often be submerged in water containing animal waste or fertilizer.

Problems in Larger Buildings

Multi-family homes and commercial buildings have many sources for backflow contamination. Fire sprinkler systems, large HVAC installations, and even beverage dispensers can all cause issues. These systems do generally have devices to protect against backflow. However, these devices can be improperly installed or simply fail. Backflow testing is an absolute must for large buildings.

Backflow is a concern for anyone who values safe drinking water. Having backflow testing performed by an expert provides peace of mind. To find out more, check out HRI Plumbing online or call 217-334-4545.