Backflow Preventer System Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

When you turn the shower on in your bathroom at home, you are instantly met with hot, clean water. Ah . . . the joys of civilization! At dinner time, you have the luxury of washing your hands, cleaning dishes, or filling pans with bright, pressurized water that stays within the sink. 

But . . . do you know where your water has been? What if your shower water has come from your used kitchen sink water or the drainpipe in your lawn? 

More often than not, we don’t think about how our water maintains its cleanliness before it comes through our taps, or even what devices are needed to keep our water fresh and user ready. 

Backflow preventer systems protect our useable or ‘potable’ water from contaminated water sources. These simple upgrades ensure water flows in one direction through the line, stopping it from going backward (backflowing.) The most common and reliable way to prevent dirty backflow water from making its way into a clean water supply is by creating an air gap or open-air space between plumbing systems. 

Too many homeowners realize the water they’re drinking or showering in is recycled, dirty water. Often, dirt in the tap water or shower reveals that they lack an outdoor gap. In these cases, domestic backflow services can strategically set up backflow preventer valve locations throughout a plumbing system to keep a water supply clean and your family healthy. 


Do I Need a Backflow Preventer on My Irrigation System?

First, if your irrigation system is connected to a drinkable water source, you are required by law to have a backflow preventer system installed. While there are many different types of backflow preventers on the market, local authorities dictate which device is and which is not mandated within their counties. Landscapes contaminants like fertilizers and animal waste are potentially toxic if ingested. This is why properly regulating the water that goes into showers, dishes, and drinking glasses are so important.   

Water not used for direct consumption but meant for irrigation does not require a backflow preventer device. However, always check with your local law enforcement, because individual districts may need a fire backflow preventer service, regardless of usage. 

How Do I Install a Backflow Preventer for a Sprinkler System?

Before you start any home renovation, you should always check with your local building code office to ensure that your plans meet all legal requirements for your jurisdiction. Confidence during a building inspector visit is always a good thing. 

Your water supplier will be able to tell you which backflow preventer system you may need based on local mandates. Often, backflow preventers used for sprinklers are referred to as “threaded and glued.” This threaded device is shaped like a T. When dropped into the pipe, it can connect to the pressure valve adapter. Because it requires extra line length, an extra joint may be added. As you piece together your sprinkling system, always ensure that each part of pipe or plastic fits securely so that it’s watertight. Backflow leaking completely disrupts the system’s purpose. Be sure to apply enough sealant to prevent leaks and seepage. 


How Do I Winterize a Sprinkler System with A Backflow Preventer?

When cold seasons approach, the potential of frozen water lines strikes fear into many homeowners’ hearts. Winterizing your waterlines helps them skate through the icy season.

Precise waterline winterizing prevents devastating damage to your home’s piping. Those who don’t winterize backflow device and sprinkler systems risk burst pipes, which can cost thousands of dollars and result in exhausting home repairs. The other risk is the dangerous cross-contamination between landscape chemicals and your water.  

Winterizing your backflow system starts with shutting off the water to your sprinkler system. You can find the shut off for the sprinklers at the main valve. Next, you will need a standard flat head screwdriver. Open the test cocks of the backflow preventer and drain the water. There should be two test cocks, and both should open easily with a few turns of the flathead screwdriver. Lastly, rotate the valves on either side about a quarter turn, allowing them not to be completely closed or open. This simple task will act as a backflow preventer freeze protection. 


How Do I Remove a Backflow Preventer Sprinkler System?

Homeowners who don’t irrigate in the winter have an additional task involving the backflow preventer system. Industrious criminals have found a lucrative market in reselling the brass parts in the backflow preventer system in the scrap metal market. They tend to strike in winter when the irrigation system is not operating and homeowners will be none the wiser that this important component of their household water system has gone missing.

To avoid your backflow preventer going missing, take a large wrench and slowly turn the nuts on either side of the preventer. Pull free to remove it and store it in your garage. Take these steps only after you have already turned off your sprinkler system for the year. When spring comes the following year, reinstall your backflow preventer back outside in the original spot.


How Do I Learn More?

To learn more about backflow preventer systems, contact the experts at APFE CORP. at (1-866)-342-8756. Our professionals will be happy to answer any questions you may have.