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    So the International Building Code (IRC) has the following requirement:

  1. P2902.5.3 Lawn irrigation systems. The potable water supply to lawn irrigation systems shall be protected against backflow by an atmospheric-type vacuum breaker, a pressure-type vacuum breaker or a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer. A valve shall not be installed downstream from an atmospheric vacuum breaker. Where chemicals are introduced into the system, the potable water supply shall be protected against backflow by a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer.

    The most common backflow prevention device is an pressure-type vacuum breaker, as shown below. Insulation for the above-ground piping is recommended for colder climates, where pipe fractures might be caused by a hard winter freeze. Also, some jurisdictions require an annual inspection of residential backflow preventers to confirm that they are still functional.

     Sprinklers that are professionally installed by a licensed contractor always have a backflow preventer, but a homeowner-installed sprinkler system with no vacuum breaker is a fairly common defect we find during our home inspections.

    To learn more about cross connections, see our blog post “What is a ‘cross connection’ in a home’s plumbing system?”

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection


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