Sewer backflow preventers are a hot commodity! The global market for these devices is expected to reach $13.8 billion by 2033 and for good reason. Sewer backflow preventers can protect your property and health from a serious risk: sewage flowing back into your home or building from the public sewer system.
These devices work by allowing wastewater to flow out of your property but not back in. This is important because sewage can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause illness, even death. In addition, sewage can also damage your property and belongings.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about sewer backflow prevention and why it’s important for your plumbing system.
What Causes Sewer Backflow?
Sewer backflow is caused by two main factors: back siphonage and back pressure. Both back siphonage and back pressure can create a serious problem for your plumbing system and your health.
Back siphonage is when the pressure in the public sewer system drops below the pressure in your plumbing system. This can happen due to a break in the main sewer line, a power outage that affects the pumps, or a high demand for water in the area. When this happens, the wastewater in your pipes can be sucked back into your home or building by negative pressure.
Back pressure occurs when the pressure in your plumbing system exceeds the pressure in the public sewer system. This can happen due to a blockage in your pipes, such as tree roots, grease, or debris.
It can also happen due to heavy rainfall or flooding that overwhelms the sewer system. When this happens, the wastewater in your pipes can be pushed back into your home or building by positive pressure.
How Do Sewer Backflow Preventers Work?
A sewer preventer is designed to stop sewage from flowing back into your home or building from the public sewer system. It does this by using a valve that closes automatically when it detects a flow reversal.
Different types of sewer backflow preventers are available, depending on the degree of protection you need and the configuration of your plumbing system. The most common types are:
A Sewer Check Valve
This is a simple and inexpensive backflow prevention device that holds back most of the backflow for a short period of time. It does not hold back 100% of the wastewater and usually requires repositioning of the house trap and fresh air inlet. It also needs regular maintenance and cleaning to prevent clogging.
An Automatic Floodgate Valve
This sewer backflow valve holds back all of the backflow for a longer period of time. It has a gate that closes automatically when it senses a reversal of flow and opens when the flow returns to normal.
It does not need repositioning of the house trap and fresh air inlet. It also has an alarm that alerts you when it closes.
A Manual Sewer Gate Valve
You have to operate this device manually to close or open it. It holds back all of the backflow for as long as you keep it closed. It does not need repositioning of the house trap and fresh air inlet. However, it requires you to be present and aware of the situation to activate it.
A Reduced Pressure Zone Assembly (RPZA)
This device protects against high-hazard cross-connections, such as systems that contain additives or chemicals. It has two check valves and a relief valve that opens when there is a pressure difference between them.
A Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)
This device protects against low-hazard cross-connections, such as systems that contain stagnant water or corrosion. It has one check valve and an air inlet valve that opens when there is negative pressure in the system.
Why Are Sewer Backflow Preventers Important?
Sewer backflow preventers ensure that wastewater goes in the right direction, keeping our surroundings clean and safeguarding our well-being. By appreciating their importance, we can recognize the valuable role they play in maintaining the integrity of our urban areas. They are important for:
They Protect Your Health
Backflow preventers help reduce the risk of exposure to harmful contaminants. This reduces the risk of illnesses and infections caused by contaminated water.
They Protect Your Property
Backflow preventers keep sewage from damaging your floors, walls, furniture, appliances, and electrical systems. This saves you money on repairs and replacements.
They Protect the Environment
Backflow preventers keep sewage from polluting waterways. This helps preserve the quality of the natural resources and ecosystems.
They Enhance the Resilience and Efficiency of Sewer Systems
By reducing the load on sewer systems, a backup prevention device minimizes the risk of overflows and localized flooding. It also reduces the strain on water treatment facilities.
How to Choose a Sewer Backflow Preventer?
The type of sewer preventer you need depends on several factors. That said, it’s always best to consult a licensed plumber who can assess your situation and recommend the best option. They can also ensure the device is installed correctly and safely, according to the manufacturer’s instructions and the local codes and regulations.
Below are some of the factors a professional plumber will consider when recommending a sewer preventer.
The Degree of Hazard Posed By Your Plumbing System
If your system contains additives or chemicals, you may need a high-hazard backflow preventer, such as an RPZA. If your system contains stagnant water or corrosion, a low-hazard backflow preventer, such as a PVB, will do.
The Configuration of Your Plumbing System
If your system has a house trap and a fresh air inlet, you may need a sewer check valve or an automatic floodgate valve. A manual sewer gate valve is ideal if your system does not have these components.
The Local Codes And Regulations
Depending on where you live, you may have to follow certain rules and standards for choosing and installing a sewer backflow preventer. Obtaining a permit and passing an inspection may also be necessary.
Contact Us Today for Professional Plumbing Services
Investing in sewage backup preventers can ensure you never have to worry about waste water backup again. All you have to do is call JS Plumbing Inc.
We are experts in sewer backflow preventers and other plumbing solutions. Our team takes pride in quality workmanship, competitive pricing, and customer satisfaction. Learn more about our backflow testing, repairs, and installs.