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Backflow Testing: What is It and Why Is It Necessary?

30 March 2022

Backflow preventers are devices in the plumbing system that make sure the water only moves in one direction. They prevent sewage and other debris from flowing back up the pipes and into the building. This is important for keeping harmful contaminants from entering the drinkable water supply. Backflow testing makes sure that the water is flowing in the right direction.

What Causes Backflow?

Backflow occurs from two different conditions. The contaminated water can either be pulled or pushed into the clean water system. Either of these conditions can cause the water to change directions. Let’s explore both of them.


Backsiphonage occurs because of a drop in water pressure. Sometimes, this can occur because of a water main break, a broken fire hydrant, or any other issue that causes the pressure to drop and create a vacuum. This is similar to when you suck water through a straw. This is not a common cause, and it usually occurs because something catastrophic occurred.


Backpressure is the more common cause of backflow problems. This occurs because of an increase in water pressure that “blows” water in the opposite direction from its natural flow. This is like sucking up water in a straw and then blowing it back into the container again. This can happen because the pressure of the water supply is higher than the pressure at the water source. Some of the more common causes of this are clogged pipes or pump malfunctions.

How Is Backflow Testing Performed?

Backflow can cause the water supply to your building to become contaminated. That is why it is important to make sure your backflow prevention system is working properly. For some commercial systems, backflow testing is mandatory, such as for systems that contain hazardous chemicals, industrial fluids, and agricultural fertilizers.

Many types of backflow prevention systems exist that include atmospheric vacuum breakers and backflow prevention assemblies. During the process, the technician will open and close the valves to make sure it is functioning properly. The valves are inspected for damage, gauge movement, and other signs of malfunction. If a problem is found, the technician can probably do a quick repair to get the system working properly again.

If you have a commercial building, you are likely required to have backflow testing performed regularly. For the homeowner, it is an important part of plumbing system maintenance that can help keep your family safe by preventing disease. This is one task that you should put on your home maintenance calendar at least once a year.

L&C Harding Plumbing serves Brooklyn, Melbourne, and the surrounding areas with backflow testing and other plumbing services. We do many types of plumbing work. We also do roofing, sheet metal work and fabrication, and carpentry. We are master plumbers and provide complete industrial and commercial plumbing services. If you need any of our services, contact us, and our team will be happy to help.