Did you know that it's required by law to have this little device on your hose bibb on your home? What is this little thing, why do you need it, and how much does it cost?

I found out this stuff the kinda hard way recently. I had a cross-connection inspector come to my home. I received a letter in the mail from my utility company (Superior Water Light & Power) saying I needed my home checked for any cross-connection concerns.

How would anyone know if you didn't have one?

The inspector comes in and checks your home to make sure there isn't a chance of anything "backflowing" into the municipal water system. For example, my boiler needed a backflow preventer on it. The other thing I needed was a backflow preventer for my hose bib.

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How much does it cost?

A hose bibb is a term for the faucet on the outside of your house that you typically hook a garden hose up to. It's easy to install a backflow preventer on the bibb, and they only cost a few bucks. You can find them at just about any hardware store in the plumbing or gardening section.

In Minnesota, it's required for any new hose bibbs without integral backflow preventers or existing hose bibbs without any other backflow prevention in place.

Closeup of water flowing out of a hose end.
Akchamczuk
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Why is it needed?

When you shut the water off to the hose, the water naturally wants to draw back into the source. So any water or chemicals in your hose could be sucked back into the water supply, contaminating it. If your hose was laying in standing water in your yard, that could also suck back into the house, contaminating the water supply.

Campsite on a pond in Maine
slinscot
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I've even seen backflow preventers in most campgrounds I go to. They are not to be removed!

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