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How many times have you put a garden hose in a bucket of soapy water to wash the car? Or sprayed insecticide with a garden hose sprayer? Or attached a hand spray attachment to the kitchen faucet to wash your hair or the dog? These seemingly harmless actions create cross-connections that could endanger the health and safety of you, your family and your neighbors.

The danger comes when the hose comes in contact with a harmful substance, if the pressure in the water main drops while the hose is submerged in contaminated water, then the water (and whatever’s in it) could be back siphoned into your pipes and the drinking water supply. Water pressure drops are not uncommon. They can occur when hydrants are opened to fight fires or during repairs to a broken water main.

Remember what BUSTER BACKFLOW says “If you don’t want to drink it, don’t connect your water system to it.”

Private Wells

Backflow can also occur in the absence of a water main pressure drop. For example, some homes have backup water systems supplied by private wells. If these systems are interconnected the well pump may overcome the pressure in the public water supply, thus backpressure backflow will occur. Because these private supplies are not tested and regulated by governmental agencies, they may pose a hazard to the potable water system and must be equipped with proper backflow protection.

Outside Faucets or Hose Bibs

Hose bib vacuum breakers consists of a spring-loaded check valve that seals against an atmospheric outlet when the water supply is turned on. When the supply is turned off, the device vents to atmosphere, thus protecting against backsiphonage conditions.

A diagram of a hose bib vacuum breaker is illustrated below along with a typical installation:

Garden Hoses are an extension of your homes water supply. Water users commonly use garden hoses for a variety of purposes including:

  • Watering lawns, flower beds and gardens
  • Washing cars, houses, pets and other items
  • Filling pools, hot tubs, ornamental fountains and fish ponds
  • Applying liquid fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides

Any of these may involve attaching a chemical reservoir to the end of a hose. In each of these cases, there is a potential to contaminate the water supply. Hose Bib Vacuum Breakers are simple, low cost devices that should be used to prevent backflow of water when engaging in the use of water hoses. Homeowners can easily install HBVB’s and they are available at many plumbing supply stores.