What Does a Backflow Preventer Do, and Why Do I Need One?

February 10, 2019

Even if you install your own sprinkler system, you need a professionally-installed backflow device. In order to understand why, it helps to know what a backflow preventer does.

What is Backflow?

As the name implies, backflow is what happens when water flows backward into the water supply, rather than out of it. Backflow in an irrigation system can cause contaminants such as pesticides or other chemicals to be pulled back into the water line with it. If this happens, you could end up drinking your lawn fertilizer!

What Causes Backflow?

Water always wants to move from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. Back-siphonage can result when the water pressure in the line drops, or when there’s a broken water line, or when a large amount of water is used, like for fighting fires. If a sprinkler system isn’t installed correctly, backflow can result from having too much back-pressure from the pump.

What Does a Backflow Preventer Device Do?

A backflow preventer, which is sometimes called an air gap, is a device that stops water from flowing back into the supply line. It ensures that your sprinklers are a one-way system, and keeps public drinking water safe. The most common types are the reduced-pressure (RP) and the pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) or atmospheric vacuum breaker (AVB).

Note: Backflow preventers need to be drained of water to prevent damage from freezing temperatures in Kansas winters!

Why Do I Need a Backflow Preventer?

In addition to protecting the drinking water supply, backflow prevention devices are required by law in the Wichita metro area. Each city has its own requirement for installation and testing, and Reddi Irrigation can help make sure you’re in compliance.

Backflow Preventer Requirements for South-Central Kansas

Wichita – Backflow prevention devices are required, and must be installed by a certified technician. Testing is required every year, and an overhaul is required every five years, also by a certified technician.

Andover – Backflow prevention devices are required.

Bel Aire – A vacuum breaker is required on all in-ground sprinkler systems. Backflow preventer must be tested by a City of Bel Aire licensed technician before April 1st each year if the system is connected to the public water supply. System should be rebuilt/replaced every five year.

Derby – Backflow preventers are required for sprinklers connected to the drinking water supply. Testing must be done every two years. Testing and installation must be completed by a certified technician.

Goddard – Backflow prevention devices are required.

Newton – Backflow preventers are required and must be installed, repaired, or replaced by a certified technician. Testing by a certified technician is required once a year, and an overhaul is required every five years.

Valley Center – Backflow preventers are required, as well as annual testing by a certified technician. System overhauls are required every five years.

What if I Need a Backflow Preventer Installed or Serviced?

Whether you need a backflow preventer installed, winterized or tested, you can trust the certified, licensed technicians at Reddi Irrigation to make sure it’s done right. Call us now at 316-858-0780 to schedule your service or installation.

Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.