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Backflow Preventer Failure: What to Do and How to Prevent It



Backflow preventers are an essential part of any plumbing system, designed to prevent contaminated water or substances from flowing back into the clean water supply.


However, even with regular maintenance and inspections, backflow preventers can fail, posing a significant risk to public health and safety. In this blog, we'll explore what to do if your backflow preventer fails, and provide practical advice on how to prevent such failures from occurring in the first place.


If your backflow preventer fails, it's essential to take immediate action to prevent further contamination and damage. Here are some steps to follow:


  1. Shut off the main water supply: Immediately shut off the main water supply to your property to prevent further contamination.

  2. Call a professional: Call a professional plumber or water treatment expert to assess the situation and provide guidance on the next steps to take.

  3. Check for damage: Check your plumbing system for any signs of damage or contamination caused by the failed backflow preventer.

  4. Take precautions: Take precautions to prevent further contamination by shutting off faucets and flushing toilets to prevent sewage from flowing back into the clean water supply.


In addition to taking immediate action, it's essential to identify the cause of the failure and take steps to prevent it from happening again. Here are some common causes of backflow preventer failure:


  1. Corrosion: Corrosion can weaken the backflow preventer, causing it to fail.

  2. Improper installation: Improper installation can cause the backflow preventer to malfunction or fail.

  3. Lack of maintenance: Failure to regularly inspect and maintain the backflow preventer can lead to premature failure.

  4. Old age: Backflow preventers can wear out over time, increasing the risk of failure.

  5. High water pressure: High water pressure can cause the backflow preventer to fail.


To prevent backflow preventer failure, it's essential to follow a regular maintenance schedule, including:


  1. Regular inspections: Regularly inspect your backflow preventer to identify any signs of wear or damage.

  2. Maintenance checks: Perform routine maintenance checks to ensure the backflow preventer is functioning properly.

  3. Replacement: Replace the backflow preventer if it's old or worn out.

  4. Installation checks: Verify that the backflow preventer was installed correctly.

  5. Water pressure management: Manage water pressure to prevent excessive pressure from affecting the backflow preventer.


Conclusion: In conclusion, backflow preventer failure can have serious consequences for public health and safety. If your backflow preventer fails, it's essential to take immediate action to prevent further contamination and damage.


By identifying the cause of the failure and taking steps to prevent it from happening again, you can minimize the risks and consequences of backflow preventer failure. Remember to prioritize regular maintenance and inspections to ensure your backflow preventer remains functional and effective.

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