What is Backflow and Backflow Prevention – and What Can it Mean to the Health of Your Family

It’s worrisome to consider that trace amounts of carcinogenic lawn chemicals, bacteria, and other contaminants could occasionally backflow into your drinking water supply for years, going unnoticed until those drinking the water exhibit serious health symptoms.  A simple valve can…
Not Properly Dealt With, it Can Make Your Drinking Water a Noxious Soup…

Backflow is usually caused when there is an abnormal water pressure differential. When the water pressure coming into your home suddenly drops, a siphon-effect is created which can result in contaminated water being drawn back into previously clean water supplies (for example, an underground water main or a private well).

Consequences of Backflow…
Backflow can have many undesirable effects. For example…
If your toilet flush valve isn’t equipped with an anti-siphon device, toilet odors, vapors, and worse could be drawn into your household plumbing – and the water you drink.
If you use your garden hose to flush out sewer lines or rain gutter downspouts, a drop in the incoming water pressure can cause contaminants from those sources to be drawn back into your water supply.
Similarly, when filling your swimming pool, a drop in water pressure can cause water from the pool to be drawn back into your water supply, bringing with it any contaminants that might exist in the pool water.
If you happen to be using an insecticide attachment on your garden hose when there’s a drop in water pressure, backflow can cause a potentially lethal chemical contamination of your drinking water supply.
Sources of Backflow…
Backflow can also occur where there are potential cross-connections in your water system. Potential cross-connections include…
  • In your kitchen – dishwashers, garbage disposals
  • In your bathroom – toilets, hand-held shower heads, steam bath generators, bath whirlpool devices
  • Faucets – hose bibbs, sill cocks, or any faucet that you can attach a hose to
  • Outdoors – swimming and wading pools, fish ponds, fountains, and lawn and garden sprinkler systems
  • Hoses are a special problem – wherever they can be attached to a threaded faucet, a potential backflow hazard exists.
Preventing Backflow…
To protect your water supply, you should consider installing backflow preventers anywhere a potential cross-connection exists. The cost of effective backflow prevention may at first seem prohibitive, but those costs are outweighed by the potential benefits.
It’s worrisome to consider that trace amounts of carcinogenic lawn chemicals, bacteria, and other contaminants could occasionally backflow into your drinking water supply for years, going unnoticed until those drinking the water exhibit serious health symptoms.
Professionally installed backflow preventers can help prevent such risk, better safeguarding the health of you and your family.
Types of Backflow Preventers…
While there are many different types of backflow preventers, the two most common types in use in the Ottawa-area are the “hose bibb vacuum breaker” and “dual check valve assembly.”
  • Hose Bib Vacuum Breaker – an inexpensive device available from most hardware and lumber outlets, typically installed on a faucet or sill cock to protect against backflow from garden, or other types of hoses.
  • Dual Check Valve Assemblies – are effective against backflow caused by back-pressure or back-siphonage. They protect the potable water system from substances that aren’t health hazards.
They consist of two, independent, in-line check-valve modules, and should always be installed in an accessible location for easy inspection and servicing. Municipal code(s) will detail installation requirements.
Most Municipalities have legislation requiring approved backflow preventers be part of any and all in-ground, automatic watering system installations… without exception.
You shouldn’t accept or believe anyone (whether a sprinkler contactor, salesperson, handyperson, etc.) who says you don’t really need a backflow preventer on your automatic sprinkler system. It’s simply not true. It’s just one of many ‘tricks of the trade’ used by less-than professional types so they can offer lower prices when bidding against professional sprinkler system contractors and installers.
GreenScape.ca will never install an automatic sprinkler system without an approved backflow preventer, sized to fit the specific, unique requirements of each system… because your health – and the health of your family friends, and neighbors – is simply too important to ever take such an irresponsible shortcut.
Discover all the great benefits you’ll experience with your own, GreenScape.ca Automatic Sprinkler System…
For the full story and a comprehensive guide of choosing your sprinkler contractor, call us for your Free, no obligation copy of our, “Homeowner’s Guide to Choosing a Sprinkler System – the 21 Questions You Should Always Ask…”

Just give GreenScape.ca a call at: 613.723.8528, or “Click” here to request your FREE copy