Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

Fresh Water Systems Need Regulatory Devices To Keep Backflow From Occurring


There may be instances were some water sources are unable to provide a good water pressure out of the main. However, a number of regulatory devices can handle the deviations. Too high of pressure or too low of pressure can be fixed with the installation of a booster pump or pressure-reducing valve. Installation of an expansion tank and check-valve system or vacuum breaker can correct any backflow issues.

A Look At Booster Pumps

Inspectors oftentimes don’t allow a home with an excessive amount of plumbing fixtures to be built using the existing low main pressure. When this happens, a booster pump is used to increase the in-house main pressure, enabling the house to built according to the plans. It’s possible that smaller in-house pipes will need to be used.

Any unassisted systems that need a large diameter pipe and fitting can benefit from a booster pipe. You’ll have to hire an electrician to do the electrical part of the booster pump, however. A medium-sized booster can run around $1,200.

Backflow-Valve-Pressure-Vacuum-BreakersA Look At Pressure Regulators

If the water pressure to your home is excessively high, you’ll need a pressure regulator installed. There are all kinds of pressure regulator valves available on the market. However, like everything else, quality varies. A well-designed pressure regulator consists of a combination of nonferrous body parts and stainless steel and has assembly screws and integral strainer. Pressure regulators tend to come with a rubber diaphragm and spring at the boom of the belly-shaped component and can lessen the pressure of a system to 90 psi.

A Look At Vacuum Breakers

In some areas of the country, local and major codes demand that a backflow prevention device be installed onto a water-service line. Vacuum breakers keep siphonage from flowing back into the build should the main service line shuts down or is interrupted.

The biggest issue with the landscape systems is the problem with herbicides and pesticides getting into the fresh water supply through the siphonage. A vacuum breaker is one device that can keep this from happening. It wasn’t until recent years that the devices were implemented into urban areas (it used to be just for irrigation systems because these systems got their water from the home supply).

Now, the vacuum breaker contains an open atmosphere chamber, which is sealed off by the checking member (a moveable part). This moving part is kept in place by the water pressure when the line is feeling pressure. However, if the line stops being under pressure, that moveable part falls down and the chamber will open. This allows the service line to fill up with atmospheric pressure. This causes the siphon action to break, ensuring that the poisonous irrigation water won’t get back into the building supply.

The majority of local and major codes have extremely explicit limitation on installation heights and location for all backflow devices like vacuum breakers. Be sure to talk with your inspector to find out if you need one installed, and if you do, what rules must you follow. Some areas will demand you get a special permit to get the devices installed.

It must be noted that a frictional loss value is typically not listed on vacuum breakers. Therefore, to get the information, you’ll need to talk with the manufacturer or distributor. If you get a vacuum breaker and need a precise frictional loss figure, you need to learn what the value is.

A Look At Check-Value and Expansion-Tank Systems

When a water heater produces hot water, there is an increase of pressure inside the tank. IN the majority of installation, the primary in-house building supply line attaches directly to the heater’s cold inlet side.

When the heater is filled with hot water that goes unused, it goes out of the heater due to the increase in pressure. When it’s under pressure, the hot water goes back into the supply line connected to the service line, which then go to the municipal main.

Now, if everybody’s water heater cycled the unused hot water into the main, the concern for toxic materials entering the fresh water system would be a cause for concern. Some local codes demand that a storage tank water-heating system include a check valve and expansion tank.


  1. I would also add that when working you’re working with vacuum breakers, safety glasses are so important. One time I was working on a customer’s break and I hade the breaker pop off directly into my eye. Luckily I was wearing my goggles though so I was okay. Hope that helps! – Josh

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