Top Ways of Preventing Sprinkler Backflow

March 13, 2023

Top Ways of Preventing Sprinkler Backflow

sprinkler backflow

Sprinkler backflow is among the essential issues you must deal with as a homeowner with sprinkler systems. If you are not careful, backflow can contaminate your potable water by sucking back harmful bacteria found in the soil. This may be in the form of fungus, fertilizers, bacteria, and other treatments found in the soil that can be harmful when consumed. Therefore, preventing sprinkler backflow is a great way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from intaking these harmful contaminants.

Thankfully, this post will discuss the various types of sprinkler backflow and a perfect sprinkler system backflow device for each backflow problem. Read on!

What are the common contaminants from sprinkler backflows?

The most common contaminants you will experience in your home if you fail to install a sprinkler system backflow device are pesticides and fertilizers. You may also identify animal urine and feces from your sprinkler system entering your home. Additionally, decomposing organic matter can generate bacteria that can be harmful when consumed with drinking water.

Therefore, consider hiring an experienced technician to install a sprinkler system backflow device for the correct functioning. You should also ensure they are inspected annually to ensure they are not degrading due to aging. Further, if you live in areas prone to freezing, you should ensure these devices are well-protected. If you properly install these devices in your irrigation system, you can be guaranteed that your lawn is getting enough water as you get safe drinking water.

The various types of sprinkler backflow

There are two common types of sprinkler backflow you must deal with: back pressure and back-siphonage. The former refers to a flow reversal triggered by a backward pressure that exceeds the system pressure, while the latter refers to a flow reversal due to a negative pressure in the supply line. These forms of sprinkler backflow can occur on residential water systems, and each requires a unique sprinkler system backflow device.

Nonetheless, all these types of sprinkler backflow occur where there is a cross-section or connection. Cross-sections mainly exist where there the fixtures are linked directly to the main suppliers, such as:

  • flexible shower hoses
  • swimming pools, ornamental pools, or spa pools that are filled with hoses
  • dishwashers
  • washing machines
  • irrigation systems
  • Ice Makers and refrigerators
  • water softeners
  • storage tanks
  • Fertilizer and pesticide attachments for hoses
  • bidets
  • coffee machines

How to choose the best sprinkler system backflow device

You must install a sprinkler system backflow device to protect yourself and others as you comply with the law. This device acts as a shield to prevent contamination of personal water. Although you may install an anti-siphon valve with a stabilizing mechanism, it has an angle valve and globe that are less effective in this function. Therefore, you should consider installing any of the following sprinkler system backflow devices:

  • Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)
  • Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker(AVBs)
  • Double Check Valve Assembly (DCV)
  • Reduced Pressure Assembly (RP or RPZ)

Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)

The pressure vacuum breaker is the ideal sprinkler system backflow device. This gadget prevents your irrigation water from back siphoning or back flowing into your home’s potable water. You can install this sprinkler backflow guard outdoors in an enclosed box on the ground or beside an exterior wall. However, you can also consider installing it in your crawl space or basement next to the shutoff of your irrigation system.

Why do you need a pressure vacuum breaker to prevent sprinkler backflow?

You most likely have one water supply source which supplies water for all your household use and irrigation. Thus, there is a risk of contamination via the cross-sections. Sprinkler backflow can occur when there is an unexpected drop in water pressure in the main water supply system. For instance, if the main water source supply is interrupted for any activity, this can trigger a backward pressure in your home’s main water supply. This, in turn, creates a siphoning effect, making water flow back into the pipes. Such an incident may be rare but can suck water from your sprinkler system to suck backwater to your main household fixtures. Therefore, a sprinkler system backflow device will help you prevent this from happening.

How does the pressure vacuum breaker work?

This sprinkler system backflow device comprises a check valve, a check device, and an air inlet vented to open air. The check valve is well-designed to allow the water to pass through and shut the air inlet under normal conditions. However, when the air pressure exceeds the water pressure, the air chamber opens and controls the suction effect of low pressure, further preventing water backflow. You should install this sprinkler system backflow device near the water source before it enters the sprinkler valves. This should be on the highest point of your sprinkler head or at the top of your yard to prevent a sprinkler backflow.

Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker(AVBs)

An atmospheric vacuum breaker is a suitable sprinkler system backflow device that stops sprinkler backflow into household plumbing due to back siphonage. This device has an air inlet vent, a valve, and a check seat. Since back siphonage occurs due to water pressure difference, maintaining the pressure prevents the sprinkler backflow. With an AVB, you can be guaranteed no backflow into your potable water system.

Why do you need an atmospheric vacuum breaker to prevent sprinkler backflow?

An AVB is a simple and inexpensive sprinkler system backflow device compared to other sprinkler backflow devices. Its simplicity gives it easy installation, maintenance, and repair. The AVBs also have multiple shutoff valves that immediately act on potable water upstream, which can be regarded as an advantageous assembly element. Therefore, this sprinkler system backflow device can protect you against low and high-hazard issues due to sprinkler backflow.

How does an atmospheric vacuum breaker work?

This sprinkler system backflow device comprises a valve allowing air to enter the piping system to stop a downstream sprinkler backflow. It also has a check valve that closes the supply piping. Typically, the check and airnet valves have almost similar mechanical components. Also, it has a floater that rises and drops due to variations in water pressure.

Generally, under typical operating conditions, water enters into the inlet and later to the outlet of the AVB. Later, its valve seal opens to allow water to flow into the system. This occurs because the system has a forward pressure which forces water into the normal flow direction.

Double Check Valve Assembly (DCV)

A double-check valve assembly is a sprinkler system backflow device that protects your main water supply from contamination. This device mainly consists of two spring-loaded and independently acting check valves. It also has shut off valves at the tip of every end and tiny ball valves. This sprinkler backflow device is relatively useful for back-siphonage and back pressure backflow and is mainly used to separate non-health hazards. Thus, you must add another sprinkler system backflow device for increased hazard conditions. You can mainly use this device to prevent fire and landscaping water systems.

Do you need a double-check valve assembly to prevent sprinkler backflow in your home?

You may need a double-check valve assembly to prevent contamination of your potable water. This sprinkler system backflow device allows water to flow into the direction of your sprinkler system using a spring-open valve. Typically, this prevents water backflow into the main plumbing system (sprinkler backflow) as this spring closes. However, this device is less effective for hazardous contaminants as it only prevents water backflow. Consider using it as a sprinkler backflow device where you are not using hazardous contaminants.

How does the double-check assembly work?

You can fit the DCV at the cross-section where the main water supply connects to the sprinkler system. You must be careful as some taps have a built-in double-check valve in their body. However, you should install a DCV as these valves may fail during winter and become ineffective. These devices typically have a spring valve to allow water to flow in a constant direction. This spring valve tends to close where there is a water pressure difference that causes sprinkler backflow. As mentioned earlier, a DCV is an effective sprinkler system backflow device for non-hazardous contaminants, as it may allow some contaminants back into the main water supply.

Reduced Pressure Assembly (RP or RPZ)

The reduced pressure assembly is a virtual sprinkler system backflow device that prevents pollution and contamination of your water. Generally, you can install this device to your drinking or municipality water system to keep it safe. These valves are extremely helpful in protecting your water supply from sprinkler backflow. Thus, most engineers and municipalities recommend using this sprinkler backflow device for new plumbing systems. Most communities require it on all fire service and domestic water lines. Nonetheless, if your sprinkler system has low hazard protection, you may consider a single or double-check valve device.

Do you need a reduced pressure assembly to prevent sprinkler backflow in your home?

Yes, a reduced pressure assembly lets you know your valves function properly. This sprinkler system backflow device has two unique check valves which work similarly to a double-check backflow device. It also has an intermediate relief that opens to the surrounding if the two check valves fail. Therefore, an RPZ lets you discover if your backflow preventer is functioning properly. You can easily know this if no water flows out of the valve. Similarly, suppose you find the relief valve spitting or dumping some water. In that case, it implies that your valve is not functioning properly and may allow sprinkler backflow into your drinking water system.

How does a reduced pressure assembly device work?

As mentioned earlier, a reduced pressure assembly has check valves that prevent water from flowing back through the pipes. A check valve is a flap or disc that opens when the water flows in a normal direction, allowing it to flow across the pipe. This valve is also loaded with a spring which closes when the water attempts to flow against its direction. Additionally, the RV has spring-loaded or hydraulic operating valves between the check valves. This extension makes it ideal for cross-sectional control where the sprinkler backflow can greatly threaten public health.

What are the benefits of using a sprinkler system backflow device on your irrigation system?

Here are the various reasons why you must consider installing a sprinkler system backflow device for your home:

Ensures the water is clean and safe to use

Water backflow from your irrigation system can contaminate your main water supply and make cooking, drinking, and washing unsafe. However, installing a proper backflow prevention device will give you and other water users safe water access. These devices protect your health and increase your comfort by keeping away dirty water. This can help you and your family members to stay safe from possible complications of using contaminated water.

Prevents disruption of water supply

When water backflow from your irrigation system occurs, you might be forced to stay for some time without access to safe drinking water. However, using backflow preventers, you can prevent major backflow complications. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you have safe water access for all your needs.

Prevents costly damage

A water system without a backflow preventer is vulnerable to major damage and disruption. These damages can be costly to repair. Also, backflows can break water pipes and contaminate your entire system. Fortunately, installing a sprinkler backflow device will ensure you stay healthy and on your budget.

It ensures you comply with legal codes and regulations

A sprinkler system backflow device is great for your peace of mind and ensures compliance with some areas’ legal codes. For example, Panama City Beach requires all homeowners using sprinkler systems to install a sprinkler system backflow device. However, even if a backflow preventer is not legally required for your home, you should consider installing these devices to prevent water supply contamination.

Find your immediate solution to your sprinkler backflow problem!

While a sprinkler system backflow device is a great approach to prevent backflow from your irrigation system, you should consider installing one. Fortunately, you can easily achieve this with the help of a reliable technician. These technicians will help you choose the best device for your irrigation system, leaving you safe from contaminants in your drinking water.