What Is Backflow & How Do You Prevent It?

water damage in home caused by sewer backflow due to clogged sanitary drain

A common question our customers ask us is “What is backflow?”. Backflow is a situation that occurs within a plumbing system whereby water flows in the unwanted or reverse direction. A plumbing problem like this is likely to cause major damage. In most cases, there are health risks related to it since dirty water may find its way into clean water hence leading to contamination. Even when it happens in one home, there is the potential of the health risks spreading to the entire surrounding community. The main causes of backflow are backpressure and siphoning. In order to correct this problem, you need effective plumbing services. Here is an overview of what you can do to prevent a backflow situation from happening in your home.

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What Is Backflow & How Do You Prevent It?

bad tasting water due to backflow

Keep reading to explore this common plumbing issue and the best prevention strategies to avoid it.

As mentioned above backflow contaminates your potable water source. In some cases, you will notice a change in water quality, such as in taste and smell. Your drinking water source will now have elements flowing into your home such as:

  • Soaps, shampoos, and household cleaners
  • Pesticides
  • Chlorine
  • Fertilizers
  • Human waste

Backflow can also cause significant water damage when a drain is clogged. Fortunately, there are various strategies available that can help prevent this issue from happening in the first place.

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Backflow Prevention Strategies

Below, we share some practical and effective methods to prevent backflow.

Check The Valves

One of the major reasons why water flows in the reverse direction is because of ineffective plumbing valves. Valves can break or develop other minor faults over time. Non-return valves, for example, ensure that water flowing upwards does not exert too much pressure on the lower parts of the pipe. If they are faulty, the most likely situation is that there will be some backflow.

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Check For Air Gaps

Air gaps can also cause backflow. The problem with air gaps is that they might sometimes be too difficult to detect. Some of them can be so tiny. Unless you have adequate knowledge of how to detect them, you will not succeed. This is where the need for a licensed and knowledgeable plumber steps in. Qualified plumbers often use advanced tools to do this work. For instance, there are those who use video technology; so it will not take them too long to fix the problem.


Regular Plumbing System Maintenance

As vital as it is for any system in a home, many people forget about regular maintenance of their plumbing systems. They assume that since the water is flowing well, there is nothing to worry about. However, the truth is that some of these problems develop slowly. If they are not detected early, they can lead to complicated situations. Always work with a plumbing company that is known for offering honest and knowledgeable plumbing services. They can use their training and experience to ensure that the entire system has been checked for efficiency. Not everyone you come across can do the kind of job that you expect.

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Backflow Preventer

A backflow preventer does exactly what it is named for – it ensures that the water flows in a single direction. It basically is like a traffic director, making sure that everything follows its proper path. When it detects a pressure change in your home, it springs into action which prevents any risk of cross-contamination.

Homes that operate with a well water system should always have a backflow preventer installed. These types of homes inherently have a higher risk of contamination. However, most plumbing experts, like Robinson Plumbing, recommend that all homes should have backflow preventers. This helps homeowners have peace of mind when an unexpected water pressure change happens.



Generally, when it comes to controlling backflow, the best thing to do is to take preventive measures against it. However, when it is inevitable, you need to be quick to find plumbing services. Make sure that the plumber understands how to fix the problem because you definitely do not want to keep solving the same issue day in and day out.

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Call Robinson Plumbing For Superior Plumbing Services

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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer various plumbing services ranging from backflow preventer installations, drain clogs, water heater replacements, toilet repairs, water leaks, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your home and budget.

Find yourself dealing with an unexpected plumbing problem in the middle of the night? No worries! You can count on the expert plumbers at Robinson Plumbing to take care of you. We offer reliable 24-hour emergency plumbing services. You can count on us to get the job done quickly and correctly and, best of all, at an affordable price.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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Call us today at (610) 351-9889 or contact us for any questions that you might have!