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What is a Backflow Preventer?

Potable water is essential to our everyday lives. Water that is drinkable and safe enough for food preparation is considered potable. A backflow preventer is what helps keep the water coming into our homes and businesses potable. This odd-looking device that we most likely see multiple times a day through our travels, is one that can disrupt our daily routine if it were to become nonfunctional.




A backflow is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water, gas, or suspended solid into the potable water supply from its intended direction in any pipeline or plumbing system. Imagine the water in your toilet you’ve flushed all day going in reverse, that is a backflow. This can become hazardous to your health, because the water becomes contaminated and unusable. Backflow preventers are so important, that they have to be tested periodically. This is because a backflow preventer has internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear or fatigue. These devices can be bypassed. Therefore, backflow preventers have to be tested periodically with properly calibrated gauge equipment to ensure that they are properly functioning.


The Safe Water Drinking Act went into effect in 1974 and it placed responsibility on local governments and water authorities to protect our drinking water. As you can see a backflow preventer is quite important and it’s important to get these devices tested and re-certified annually. Need A Plumber Inc. has certified backflow specialists that can perform these tests quickly and hassle free.


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