Backflow Testing: What You Need to Know

Brown Pipe — Seattle, WA — Quality Plumbing

One of the primary priorities for all homeowners is clean water. To promote a clean and efficient plumbing system, one thing your plumber can do is perform a backflow test. The test checks for proper water flow in the correct direction to help prevent the backflow of sewage and contaminated water into your home.


Backflow occurs when the water pressure is reduced and water begins to flow in the wrong direction. The following are some things you should know about backflow testing, why backflow is bad, and how to prevent backflow from occurring in your plumbing system.


How Does Backflow Testing Work?

The goal of a backflow test is to ensure the home’s backflow preventer valves work correctly. A backflow preventer valve is in the connections within the home’s plumbing. The valves are installed at various locations throughout the system in any area in which a risk of water backflow can enter the plumbing system.


Once you contact a plumber to check your water, the first step is to turn the downstream shut-off valve. After a few moments, the plumber will test your valves by using a hose and gauge as the valves are opened and closed. The gauge will tell the plumber whether or not the valves are functioning correctly.


Additionally, the plumber will inspect any other obvious signs of backflow in your clean water to see if they correlate with the malfunctioning preventer valves.


How Can You Tell If a Backflow Preventer Valve Is Bad?

There are several signs you have a bad backflow preventer valve. One obvious sign is a foul smell coming from different areas in your home. A sulfur or rotten egg smell can begin to emit as the contaminated water backs up in your plumbing system.


You will also notice a slow flow as water drains from sinks, tubs, and toilets. The water can become yellow or brown in color, and particles or sediment may be present in the water flow. Your drinking water may also begin to have a bad taste.


Why Is Backflow Testing Important?

There are several important reasons why you should have your backflow preventer valves tested. One reason is the prevention of disease. Sewage is rife with bacteria that can spread dangerous diseases in your drinking water. Your entire family can get sick with a host of illnesses including salmonella and dysentery.


You also need to ensure there are no heavy metals leaching into your home’s water source. This is common in more urban areas where commercial businesses, such as restaurants, have pipe damage after years of commercial use. Over time, the pipes can begin to leech copper and other metals into the groundwater.


In addition, backflow testing is necessary to prevent the contamination from chemicals such as herbicides and insecticides. Over time, these chemicals can build up and get into your home’s water system. If your backflow preventer does not work, you risk the chemicals getting in your water.


How Can You Prevent Issues with Your Backflow Preventer Valves?

The best way to prevent any issues with your backflow preventer valves is through regular inspection. A licensed plumber will come to your home on an annual basis to ensure the plumbing system works correctly. This step will help ensure your home’s water is clean, safe, and free from contaminants.


If you have any questions about backflow testing or if you have any other problems with your home’s plumbing system, please contact the professionals at Quality Plumbing. We provide a wealth of plumbing services to ensure your home’s plumbing functions properly. We look forward to working with you on all your plumbing needs.