Backflow: Causes and Preventative Measures


When relying on a water company to provide you with clean water, most residents assume this is easy to achieve. But could you imagine finding out that you did not just have the usual flu that was running around, but had been poisoned by the very water you pay for? This would most likely be a case of backflow, which simply put is when water in an irrigation system, instead of flowing out, flows back in, carrying with it contamination from whatever was around the output source. This doesn’t have to be sewage; it could also be worms, debris, etc. Backflow devices keep instances like this from happening. When it comes to irrigation many toxins could be getting into the system; animal waste, pesticides, and fertilizer are all common examples of why backflow devices are required.

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Major Offenders

The two major offenders of backflow are backsiphonage and backpressure. Backpressure materializes when a system’s pressure is superior to that of the city’s supply pressure. Typically occurring because of changes in piping elevation caused by pumps, or thermal expansion caused by a water heater, backpressure can be easily avoided by following a few simple steps.

A water heater’s thermal expansion is the most frequent cause of backpressure. The water heater is directly connected to the cold water line, and as we all know when something heats it also expands. If the pressure is even a small amount greater than the city’s supply pressure, you will have backpressure.

Backsiphonage is caused by a below average atmospheric pressure inside of a water system. Simply put, backflow happens when the pressure in a city’s water main becomes negative. Almost like the water supply is being sucked out of your house, backsiphonage is cause by high water withdrawal rates. One example of backsiphonage is if a construction crew is working and directly hits the city’s water main. The hose that is attached and submerged in toxic water at a local home will want to suck up any liquid causing the water to move to a lower pressure area, thus poisoning the city’s water.

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Different Backflow Devices

Depending on the circumstances, installing a backflow device will require knowing whether the situation is considered a high-hazard or a low-hazard situation.

  • High-hazard– High-hazard means that any person consuming that fluid could be poisoned. Irrigation is always considered a high hazard because of the chemicals and wastes on the ground.
  • Low-hazard- Low-hazard would be a liquid that has a strange taste, color or smell. Low-hazard is drinkable but will not be pleasant to the senses.

Mistakes

Backflow devices have a tendency to be overlooked when installed; some customers will put them in without considering elevation, or even not reading the instructions properly and installing them backwards. Owner of Sprinkler Warehouse, Steve Okelberry suggested inquiring to the local AHJ before installing since they will have a recommendation as to where to place your backflow. Since the AHJ needs to inspect your backflow device annually, it is important that the AHJ have easy access. Having it placed ten feet off the ground because you need to compensate for elevation is not going to work when adjustments or repairs need to be made. The AHJ will inform you on which type of device to use for any project you might have, as well as where to place it. **Always check with the local authorities before installing any type of backflow device.**

New Landscape Will Save You Money


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New Landscape Will Save You $$

Planning for your customer’s spring time landscape will need to be done soon. Saving money and water can be a great way to keep your wallet fat and your customers coming back. Instead of trying the usual bargaining tools next time you’re enticing a client to accept your bid, try including some of the following advice. Installing a new landscape will SAVE you money. “Save me money? That’s impossible!”

In fact it is not, the truth is certain shrubs and plants can save your client money because they require less maintenance, less water, and sometimes more space. Your landscape design will still look well put together, but will be in a sense cheaper. Well designed landscapes can produce significant energy savings for both cooling and heating of buildings and homes. You can reduce a client’s A/C costs by having trees strategically positioned around the home. Evergreens in cold climates can provide shelter from the weather for less heating requirements in a home.

A well designed landscape can:

Trap Noise

Create Ambiance

Reduce Water Usage

Reduce A/C and Heating costs

Encourage activities outdoors

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If you are just about close on a deal, consider letting your potential client know just how much cheaper than the “other guys” you can be by designing and integrating a well thought out plan.

Planning Ahead: Your Garden


 

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Time to Achieve Dream Garden Status

It may seem crazy to start reading about how to plan your garden for this spring, but by February in most regions, it will be high-time to start some of those seeds. Sprinkler Warehouse wanted to bring some knowledge your way about how to successfully plan out your garden for this spring, be it trees, bushes or a mixture of vegetables and flowers.

Some of the first steps you should take will be to research your region, and talk to other local gardeners, if there is someone’s garden who blows you away every year (I feel like every neighborhood has one of these green thumbs) talk to them about the soil, perfect time to plant in your area, etc. Get ideas on how to design your garden from social media platforms, such as Pinterest. A lot of people make “boards” dedicated to their gardens and great tips for your garden.

Before buying your seeds determine just how much time you are willing to invest into your garden. Most people don’t realize how much work goes into a full-fledged garden! Sometimes starting off with just a few potted plants  will provide you with the self-sustainable satisfaction that you were looking for.

When to Water, And How- If you like the personal touch, then by all means get out there and individually water your plants… I’m more of a set it and forget it type of person, for that reason I would recommend drip irrigation. Drip is easy to install and is not expensive—not to mention will leave time to deal with more important issues, like what kind of dish will you make first to impress all of your friends with your home grown vegetables. Drip irrigation also allows most users to have over 70% savings on their water bill.

Tools- You will need some basic planting tools in order to get your plants in the ground. These are the essentials: spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder, and wheelbarrow (or bucket) for moving around mulch or soil. It’s worth paying a bit extra for quality tools.

Gardening Tools

Order your seeds, find someone with good reviews. Most researched gardeners use starter plants or start their seeds indoors to get a head start and keep their precious seedlings away from the frost. From there you can transfer starters to pots or straight into the ground.

Most first time gardeners end up with more than a few unsuccessful harvests, but the mistakes will lead to even an even better crop the next year. From then on it is simply water, fertilize, repeat… over time you will have some of the biggest vegetables and most beautiful flowers in town.