What is Backflow Prevention?
A backflow prevention device is meant to do exactly what it sounds like, prevent backflow. Backflow is what happens when a problem in the plumbing system causes wastewater (or fluid from some other source) to be siphoned backwards up into the system. This can cause a wide range of problems, and often necessitates that the affected portion of the plumbing be professionally cleaned out before resuming normal use. In order to prevent this, most homes and businesses are outfitted with a backflow prevention device. These devices aren’t just “fire and forget,” though. They need to be inspected at least once a year to make sure that they’re working correctly.
The average residential backflow prevention device is a one-way valve installed in the sewer line. If the water is flowing the proper direction, the valve stays open and allows it to continue on. If backflow occurs, the valve snaps shut and stops the waste water from going any further into the plumbing system. This valve can become stuck over time, though, making it possible for backflow to enter the home. This is part of the reason why it’s so important that you have a professional plumber inspect the device to make sure that it can still protect your plumbing.