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What is Backflow & how to do something about it

November 1, 2021
3 min read

In plumbing it’s a term used to describe the malfunction of the correct flow in the pipes. In other words, it’s an action that occurs when pipes run out of pressure and cause other water storage and tanks to flow back in the opposite direction, contaminating the pipe that is connected to the main line that supplies drinking water.  

The most serious aspect of this situation in your home is that if you don't keep control of the backflow you could be exposed to different types of diseases, putting your health at risk.

This is a common problem in some areas of the United States because the pipes are connected to those of other homes and you can always run the risk of an event such as remodeling, a pipe break in the main line, municipal maintenance, high pressure from a fire hydrant that is also connected to this main water supply line, all of these are reasons that could cause a backflow in your home.

Devices that help to prevent Backflow

There are several types of devices that will help you avoid backflow in your water systems, among the most common are:

For each of the devices available depending on your choice and/or the one recommended by your trusted plumber, don’t forget the importance of having a prevention and maintenance program for this type of equipment to ensure the proper functioning of their, always guaranteeing the purity of your drinking water supply. 

Before purchasing your device make sure you know what kind of maintenance each one of them requires, since some devices, although they’re useful, cheap and help prevent backflow in your home, need a manual drainage control that as a form of prevention usually stagnates the water so that it doesn’t return to contaminate the pipes and must always be working properly, otherwise flooding, dampness, etc. could occur.

How to install a backflow prevention device

A common way to prevent backflow is to create an air gap, which in plumbing is suggested in vertical spaces that are open and have a valve or faucet connected nearby, especially if there isn’t enough room to create an adequate air gap, optionally, the installation of prevention devices will be the most ideal when it comes to having an effective and safe system.

As an example of an economic backflow devices, we have the backflow valve and in order to install them it’s necessary and very important the help of an expert technician since these valves are usually connected in specific places. Usually they must be installed in the outflow pipes that are the ones that direct the contaminated or residual waters to the drain and prevent these waters from returning to the homes and mixing with the drinking water pipes.

This device has the function of opening when the water is flowing in the right direction and closing the valve when the water tries to flow back, preventing the flow in the opposite direction, preventing what we call backflow. Keep in mind that if this happens to you, either because of pressure changes or a burst pipe, etc., and you have your backflow prevention valve installed, it will automatically close and not only stop the wastewater from flowing backwards, but it will not be able to flow in any direction and must be manually redirected to the drains before flooding can occur due to stagnation. This is why it’s so important that you don't forget to maintain your pipes, sanitary vents, pressure pumps and devices to prevent backflow, corrosion, rust, etc.


Backflow is a very common action that occurs when wastewater flows in the opposite direction and moves into the pipes that also supply drinking water causing its contamination which is detrimental to your health. This usually occurs in areas that share the same main water supply and/or use the same pressure pump for water distribution. This should be an immediate wake-up call to check your water supplies and pipes, if they haven’t been properly maintained for a long time.

If you have any suspicion of moisture, you have flooding, you have been too long without proper maintenance of your pipes or you are not sure and you think you need some emergency plumbing service to check it, don’t think twice. Protect your drinking water supplies with maintenance and the right experts, call your trusted plumber or contact us, we’re available to help you and solve all your doubts about it.

Do you think or you have Backflow problems in your water system? Contact us and we’ll help you solve it. Our consultations are free.


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