What is Backflow?

Water pipe under a sink

Backflow refers to when water flows in the opposite direction through its intended system. When this occurs, homeowners may experience contaminated drinking water, putting themselves and their families at risk. But how does backflow occur? Learn more about the warning signs and what is a backflow preventer with The BrickKicker.

How Does Backflow Occur?

Your water supply line is designed to be a one-way delivery system bringing fresh water into your home. Sometimes, though, pressure disruptions within the pipes can cause backflow, contaminating the clean water with waste and other harmful components.

How does backflow occur? There are two main culprits:

  1. Back pressure: Your water’s flow could reverse should the plumbing’s pressure exceed the pressure within the water distribution system. Pressurized systems such as boilers, elevated tanks, and pumps designed to propel water to higher floors can experience backflow issues.
  2. Back siphonage: On the other hand, if water pressure drops dramatically due to sudden overuse or withdrawal rate, this can also cause backflow problems. This is most common during fire-fighting emergencies or other civic drainage projects that require excess water use in a short period of time.

In the event of backflow, the new, clean water becomes mixed with dirty, used water, polluting your potable drinking source. Backflow warning signs include noticeable changes to your water’s color, taste, and smell. When you take a closer look at what is backflow, you may see elements that are supposed to flow away from your home, including:

  • – Human waste
  • – Fertilizers
  • – Pesticides
  • – Chlorine and other chemicals
  • – Soaps, shampoos, and other cleansers

Luckily, having a working backflow preventer in your system can eliminate these contamination risks.

What is a Backflow Preventer?

Backflow preventers do exactly what their name suggests: they ensure water flows in a one-way direction. Think of this plumbing technology like a traffic director, ensuring everything moves in its proper path. A backflow preventer will spring into action during pressure changes, stopping cross-contamination risks.

Installing a backflow preventer is especially important for homes operating with a well-water system, as contamination risks are higher. The BrickKicker recommends backflow preventers to all homeowners though, as they provide extra peace of mind should unexpected pressure changes occur.

Prevent Backflow and Protect Your Plumbing with The BrickKicker!

If you notice unpleasant changes to your drinking water, it may be time to install a backflow preventer to your plumbing system. The BrickKicker can inspect your water system to detect the issue and get you back to clean, clear water. Contact us to schedule an inspection today.