Do I Need A Backflow Preventer On My Garden Hose

A garden hose can provide an unlimited amount of water for you to use in your garden or for other outside activities. As you’re no doubt aware, your tap water is treated to offer safe drinking water and the garden hose is used to connect this water source with a sprinkler system. However, some may not realize that in order to maintain the clean nature of the drinking water, the garden hose needs to have a backflow preventer in place.

What is A Backflow Preventer and Why Do I Need One for My Hose?

Backflow preventers are systems that keep harmful water and contaminants from seeping into a home’s drinking water supply. They are most often installed on a property as part of the installation of a new sprinkler system or pool equipment.

What is a backflow preventer?

A backflow preventer is a device used to prevent water from flowing in the wrong direction. When water flows in the wrong direction, it is called backflow. Backflow can occur if the pressure in your supply lines drops below normal.

There are two types of backflow preventers, double check valves and reduced pressure zone devices. Both prevent water from flowing into your drinking water supply when the pressure falls below normal.

Double check valves are for use in low hazard systems only and may not be installed on systems that contain chemicals, fertilizers or other hazardous substances. They do not protect against backpressure (pressure higher than normal).

Reduced pressure zone devices are designed to protect against both backpressure and back-siphonage and may be installed on low or high hazard systems such as those containing fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

Why Do I Need a Backflow Preventer?

If you have a garden hose hooked up to your outdoor spigot, you may be required to install a backflow preventer. Backflow preventers protect your home from potentially contaminated water from outside.

If you live in an area where water is in short supply, many homes are equipped with pumps that draw water from underground wells or reservoirs when there isn’t enough pressure to get it into the house.

Those pumps can draw chemicals and contaminants into the water that flow back out of the faucet if there’s no way to stop them. That’s what backflow preventers are for:

  • keeping potentially contaminated water from flowing back into your home’s pipes and water supply

Do I need a backflow preventer?

If you have a garden hose attached to your faucet, check with your local building department about whether you’re required to install one. Requirements vary depending on your local health department’s regulations, but it’s fairly common for homes with outdoor spigots to require them.

Where Can I Get a Backflow Preventer?

You can purchase one at any hardware store or big box retailer like Home Depot, Lowe’s or Walmart. They’re usually not very expensive and under $20 in most cases.

  • A backflow preventer is a device that prevents water from flowing in the reverse direction. It’s typically installed where a water main meets a home’s plumbing system.
  • A backflow preventer can be a good idea for any garden hose if you live in an area with high water pressure, but it isn’t always necessary.
  • If you want to connect a garden hose directly to your home’s water supply, you should install a backflow preventer to prevent contamination of your drinking water. If you have a yard hydrant or wet tap with its own check valve, then you don’t need to add another.
  • But if you’re connecting directly to your home’s plumbing, then you’ll need some way to ensure that contaminated or chemically treated water doesn’t flow back into your home’s pipes and contaminate your drinking water.

When Should I install a Backflow Preventer?

You’re under no obligation to install a backflow preventer unless you’re an irrigation contractor or a commercial property owner. With that being said, there are many situations where you should consider installing one. If your home is connected to a public water supply, then it’s a good idea to install a backflow preventer in order to protect your home’s water supply. This can be the case even if you don’t use any outdoor watering equipment at all.

If you do have an outdoor sprinkler system, then it’s absolutely vital that you have a backflow preventer installed. Without one, your sprinkler head could contaminate the city’s water supply with pesticides and fertilizers that might have been used on your lawn. The dangers of this are numerous, including poisoning people and animals who drink from the tap water.

  • A backflow preventer is a specialized valve that prevents water from flowing backwards in your plumbing system.
  • It’s important to have one in your home because it will prevent contaminated water from your house from entering the public drinking water supply, where it could affect thousands of people.
  • If you live in an apartment building or some other kind of multi-unit dwelling, you probably don’t need a backflow preventer on your garden hose, because the building normally has one somewhere on the premises, and it’s not your responsibility.
  • But if you own a single-family home or are responsible for maintaining a commercial property, you’ll need to make sure it has a backflow preventer installed on every outlet that could be connected to a garden hose — including washing machines and other appliances.
  • Backflow preventers work by using two independently operated check valves with a pressure differential relief valve between them. The pressure differential relief valve is set at a lower pressure than the check valves and allows water to flow freely when there is no risk of backflow.
  • When the supply pressure drops (as would happen if water was being siphoned out), the valve closes, blocking any contaminated water from entering the public supply.

Last Words

A garden hose can burst at the weakest moment, often in the middle of a job. A backflow preventer adds an extra layer of protection that helps prevent water from running back into your plumbing system.

One of the most common mistakes is to use a hose that’s too small for the job. Hoses intended for general-purpose tasks can be replaced with smaller ones if you find you need more water pressure. But if you have a larger hose and find it’s struggling to run, see if it’s time to upgrade to a larger model.

When choosing a backflow preventer, make sure it has a vacuum breaker. If you’re not sure what that’s worth, just compare it to the cost of hiring an electrician or plumber to install one.