Proper backflow prevention in Chicago is essential to protect the community’s drinking water. Many of the more than nine million people that live in Chicagoland take for granted the pure, safe tap water that flows from their faucets. This precious commodity must be protected with proper safeguards. If left unprotected, the results can be disastrous. Plumbing professionals in Chicago are responsible for making reliably clean drinking water a reality for local residents and businesses.
One of the primary ways that licensed and certified plumbers help preserve the purity and freshness of the community’s drinking water is by installing, inspecting, and maintaining backflow prevention devices. Backflow occurs when the normal flow of water is reversed in the drinking water system. Backflow is potentially dangerous when non-potable water — water that is contaminated with toxic chemicals or hazardous compounds — flows back into the drinking water system. This cross-contamination jeopardizes the health and well-being of the people in every single home or business that experiences the backflow issue.
For homeowners, a backflow preventer is required or recommended in situations involving non-potable water systems such as irrigation systems, hot tubs, swimming pools, ponds, private fire suppression or sprinkler systems, and boiler systems. In general, a backflow prevention device is required to be installed on any water system that is connected to the drinking water system and has the potential for cross-contamination.
Causes of Pressure Variations in a Water Line
Backpressure is experienced when the drinking water system is connected to a system with higher water pressure levels. The undrinkable or non-potable water can force its way into the drinking water system if a backflow preventer is absent or if an existing backflow preventer is non-functional. A booster pump, a boiler system, or water from a line that is elevated thirty feet above grade can force contaminated water into the water lines. The homeowner whose home meets any of these conditions should be aware of the potential for contamination.
On the other hand, negative pressure in the drinking water supply system is called backsiphonage. This condition arises when water flows back out of the residential water line and into the main water system at the street. In these scenarios, all the water can be sucked out of a home or business.
Common causes of backsiphonage include:
- Lower pressure in the main water line, such as when a fire truck pumps water out of the line to fight a fire or flush the line
- A line repair or break occurring at a point lower than a service point
The backflow prevention device prevents water from traveling back into the drinking water system once it has been pulled out of or drained out of the drinking water system.
Signs That Backflow or Backsiphonage Has Occurred
One of the main ways to learn that a backflow incident may have occurred is from the local news station reporting a main water line break, a fire in the area, or line flushes in the area or neighborhood.
Residents of Chicago can expect their tap water to flow without interruption or sputtering. The water should be clean and clear, as well as pleasant-tasting and odorless. Water in the drinking water supply line may have been contaminated due to the failure of the backflow preventer if any of the following conditions are present:
- Drinking water has yellow, brown, or pink discoloration.
- The water has an odor that is stagnant or metallic.
- Water flow is slow, interrupted, or sputtering.
- Rust particles and sediment are visible in the water.
- The water has an unpleasant or odd taste.
Contact a certified and licensed plumber if any of these signs are present in the drinking water.
The Importance of Inspecting and Testing Backflow Prevention Devices
Backflow prevention devices are crucial for the safety and security of the drinking water system and public health. These health and safety concerns highlight the need to have backflow preventers inspected and tested annually to ensure that they are in proper working condition. The failure of a backflow preventer could be lethal to those affected by cross-contamination. Typically, irrigation backflow prevention devices are located outside the home or business in a green, brown, or black plastic box near the water meter.
Why Choose Plumbers 911 Chicago?
The integrity of a backflow preventer is essential to ensure safe, clean, and refreshing drinking water. Enlisting the services of a competent plumber is a key element of the equation. Plumbers 911 Chicago urges homeowners to schedule a licensed, certified, and bonded plumber to inspect their backflow prevention units.
Plumbers 911 Chicago utilizes only trained, full-service plumbers from the Chicagoland area. The team of Chicago plumbing experts has over 10,000 hours of training with professional certifications. Homeowners and businesses can obtain emergency plumbing services 24/7 from experts in residential and commercial plumbing. Homeowners who need plumbing services, including a backflow preventer inspection, can have confidence knowing licensed, bonded, and insured plumbing contractors are available to meet the customer’s needs.