We’ve heard the phrase ‘potable water’ before but many may not really know what it fully means. Potable water refers to water that’s safe for human consumption, regardless if it underwent modern procedures to make it potable or not. Potable comes from the Italian word ‘potabile’, which means “clean water”.
Most potable water comes out of our shower heads, taps, and water heaters. Water that comes from questionable sources may need to be treated in order for it to be potable, or at the very least, safe for human consumption.
Potable water and backflow problems
While water from our taps and shower heads is generally clean, there’s a likelihood that it may not be suitable for consumption. This is because of backflow problems commonly associated with these sources. Because water flows only in one direction, the house receives the water supply and throws out the waste water at the other end. Backflow happens when the waste water flows back through the water supply and then mixes in with your supposedly clean water. A backflow is like a reversal of any water flow. Even your heart can have backflows when it comes to pumping blood.
When a backflow happens, you are putting yourself and your family at risk for consuming contaminated water.
You can prevent this from happening by using backflow preventers. These are technically called atmospheric vacuum breakers or AVBs. They will help prevent back pressure where downstream pressure is often stronger than supply pressure, which causes a reversal in your flow.
You can ask your local plumbers about the installation of these AVBs in your pipes.