What is Backflow?

Backflow prevention and testing is a necessity for apartment and condominium buildings, restaurants, and other public places. Local municipal codes often require annual testing, so if your property or business needs professional help, call Pirate Plumbing!

But what is backflow in a water system? And how does it happen? We're here to answer these questions and share how a little prevention can go a long way.

How Backflow Happens in a Water System

Backflow is when contaminated water has reversed flow and entered clean water lines. It can occur at any cross-connection between clean and dirty water lines and is typically caused by a significant change in water pressure —such as from a burst water main.

The dirty water may contain hazardous materials, such as:

  • Human waste
  • Pesticides
  • Chemicals

Backflow is not only expensive and a hassle to fix, but it also poses a serious health concern. That’s why it’s so important to prevent backflow when possible.

Types of Backflow

There are two types of backflow that could affect your water system:

  • Back-pressure backflow: When a device has a higher water pressure than the water supply it’s connected to. A common example of this is a pressure washer.

  • Back-siphonage backflow: When the water supply experiences a loss in pressure, such as because of a water main break.

Backflow Prevention Could Save You Time & Money

A safety device can be installed to prevent backflow from occurring. In the case of an unexpected or dramatic change in water pressure, this device will stop dirty water from entering the clean water supply. However, this device must be properly installed and tested to ensure that the clean water line remains free of contaminants.

What is Backflow Testing?

Municipal codes require annual testing of backflow prevention devices to ensure that they are functioning properly. You can be fined if testing is not completed on time, or the water supply to your property or business might be cut off. That is why we recommend scheduling testing well ahead of time.

If your water system is suffering from backflow, call (725) 999-9781 for help! Or learn more about our Backflow Services at Pirate Plumbing.