HomeOwners: Your Lawn Irrigation System Can Make You Sick! Here’s How To Protect Your Drinking Water.

by admin on August 12, 2013

Almost every home owner has some variety of lawn irrigation system installed nowadays. With our busy schedules each and every day, who has time to putz around with dragging hoses around the yard and moving sprinklers every 15 minutes, right?

Now it’s simply a question of set it and forget it. Program the irrigation controller to turn on and run for a set number of hours and walla…you’re done!

That’s all great but what most folks fail to realize is that a malfunctioning irrigation system can pose a serious health risk. As you know, underground lawn irrigation systems are attached to the homes well or water main. These water systems are pressurized….so when you turn on a faucet water is pushed out. On some occasions that pressure can drop to a level where it actually sucks water backwards through the system. This means any fertilizer or pesticide applicators you have attached to your irrigation system can actually flow into the fresh water supply.

Luckily, an ingenius device called a backflow preventer is required to be installed in the water line. What this device does is prevent water flowing backwards to reach the waters supply. Using check valves, RPZ, and other pressure configurations the backflow valve can sense pressure changes and react.

What many homeowners fail to do is inspect these backflows on a regular basis. Freeze damage is very common in cold climates, so the valve housing must be inspected for leaks. Backflow testing should also be done on a regular basis. Testers are equipped with sensitive pressure gauges that can sense pressure leaks. If any are detected it is a good idea to invest in backflow preventer parts or a backflow repair kit. Most folks just opt for the kit because they contain all the o-rings, seals and springs that are most prone to damage and deterioration over time. FEBCO, WATTS, WILKINS-ZURN, AMES, APOLLO, CONBRACO – all the big manufacturers make parts for their units.

Fixing a backflow device isn’t very difficult to do. It’s a lot less expensive than replacing the entire unit. Just make certain any do-it-yourselfers out there get the unit pressure tested after any repair just to make sure everything is working properly. It only takes a couple minutes every few days to take a peek at the backflow prevention device in your yard. Considering how important these devices are to the safety of your families water supply, inspecting them is a no brainer!

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