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Mississippi
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How to Prevent Water Contamination When Using Handheld Shower

If you are considering adding a handheld shower or the home you’re buying includes the fixture, take care you don’t accidentally contaminate your potable water via a “cross-connection.”

A cross-connection is the potential for nonpotable water (soapy water, contaminated water, etc) to be drawn into your potable water; your drinking water, bathing water, and cooking water.

A handheld shower hangs down too long and creates a potential cross-connection in the bathroom.

A few examples of a cross-connection are:

  • You leave the open end of a garden hose in the bucket of soapy water when washing your car.
  • You leave the open end of a garden hose in the swimming pool.
  • Your home has a handheld shower and the shower head is long enough to hang below the flood rim of the tub. (see photo)

If the house pressure is interrupted by a pressure change, nasty/dirty water could be drawn back into your water system through the cross-connection.

What can cause the house pressure to change?

Here are three common examples of how a pressure change can cause your water to backflow away from your home and contaminate your water and the city’s main water line:

  • The water service is lost due to a break in the main water line. The break can cause a backflow of water from your home.
  • A fireman connects a hose to the water main to clean the line or fight a nearby fire. Water pressure can backflow and actually pull water from your home.
  • A car wreck or other accident breaks a fire hydrant causing a loss in pressure on the main water line. The pressure loss can create a backflow.

Remedy: Add A Backflow Preventer

Backflow Preventer

My Recommendation: If you can’t identify the handheld shower to confirm the fixture has a built-in backflow device, simply add one to the shower arm. Unscrew the handheld device from the shower arm and attach the backflow preventer – aka – check valve. Reattach the handheld shower.

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