Backflow is a common and entirely preventable issue in many industries. Backflow refers to any reverse flow of liquid, solid, or gas back into a potable pipe system. It can be a huge issue with far-reaching consequences, including people becoming ill and your business being shut down. There are two major types of backflow, and luckily there are many options in backflow preventers to address them. Each area of your system that could experience backflow needs the correct type of backflow preventer, according to use and codes.
Types of Backflow
The two major types of backflow are backpressure and backsiphonage. Backsiphonage is caused by negative pressure in a system that pulls contaminants into a potable supply. It can be the result of either a stoppage of the supply or an increased supply in a single location. The result is like sucking a drink through a straw: the water reverses through the system and can draw contaminants in. An example of this would be when a sprinkler system goes off in one area of a building.
Backpressure is backflow caused by a pressure differential in the system where the downstream pressure is greater than the supply pressure. If there is any pressurized appliance on your system, it could cause backflow into your potable supply if the supply pressure drops.
Types of Backflow Preventers
There are a variety of backflow prevention systems meant to correct the various scenarios that can result in backflow, and they have varying degrees of complexity. An anti-siphon valve is a simple one-directional valve that has a spring-loaded flap that triggers in response to backflow. Another type is an atmospheric vacuum breaker or air gap, which is a physical separation between the flood level of a vessel and the supply pipe. It is a gap of air that keeps the vessel from overflowing back into the supply pipe. A pressure vacuum breaker is a mechanical backflow preventer that has a series of valves, including shutoff valves and test cocks to prevent backsiphonage. It is not effective against backpressure, however. Another mechanical backflow preventer that has a shutoff valve and test cocks is the reduced pressure backflow preventer. It also has a pressure differential relief valve. Finally, the double check backflow preventer uses two check valves in a row, and the tightness of the seal is what prevents backflow. Each of these backflow preventers has different usage situations, so you must make sure you have the correct one for backflow preventer installation.
Questions? Biles Fire Protection is Here to Help
If you need commercial fire prevention service, the trained professionals at Biles FPS are here to help you. We have the equipment and expertise to install sprinkler systems for the best prices. We are known for our superb customer service and reliable support; just ask our customers! Call us with your questions at 443-701-8330 or visit us online. For more tips, information, and to see what we have been up to, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.