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What Is A Vacuum Breaker And Why Do You Need One

what is a vacuum breaker

If you’ve ever wondered what a vacuum breaker is and why it’s important, let me shed some light on the subject. A vacuum breaker is a device designed to prevent backflow of water into the potable water supply. It acts as a safety measure, ensuring that contaminated or non-potable water cannot flow back into the clean water system.

The purpose of a vacuum breaker is to maintain the integrity of our drinking water by preventing cross-contamination. When there is a sudden drop in pressure in the plumbing system, such as during a water main break or when using certain types of equipment, it can create negative pressure within the pipes. This negative pressure can cause back-siphonage, where potentially harmful substances are drawn back into the water supply.

By installing a vacuum breaker at key points in the plumbing system, we can effectively safeguard against this risk. The device allows air to enter the line when there is negative pressure, breaking any potential siphoning action and preventing contaminants from entering our drinking water.

In summary, vacuum breakers play an essential role in maintaining the safety and purity of our drinking water supply. By understanding their purpose and ensuring proper installation, we can help protect ourselves and others from potential health hazards associated with cross-contamination through backflow incidents.

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Understanding the Basics of Vacuum Breakers

A vacuum breaker is a crucial component in plumbing systems that helps prevent backflow and protect against potential contamination. In this section, I’ll provide an overview of what vacuum breakers are and how they work.

What is a Vacuum Breaker

A vacuum breaker is a device designed to allow air into the plumbing system in order to prevent the formation of a vacuum. It acts as a barrier between the potable water supply and potentially contaminated sources, such as irrigation systems or chemical dispensers.

How Does it Work

When water flows through a pipe, it creates pressure within the system. If there’s suddenly a drop in pressure or a complete shutdown, it can create a suction effect that draws water from non-potable sources back into the pipes. This poses serious health risks if those sources contain chemicals or contaminants.

A vacuum breaker works by introducing air into the system when there’s a change in pressure. It typically consists of an inlet valve connected to the potable water supply and an outlet valve connected to atmosphere or another safe location. When there’s normal flow, both valves remain closed. However, when there’s negative pressure due to sudden changes or shut off, the inlet valve opens while the outlet valve remains closed, allowing air to enter and break any potential vacuum.