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What is Backflow and Why You Should Care About It

If you own a home or business, you likely have a plumbing system in place to handle water supply and waste management. While it’s easy to take these systems for granted, they can malfunction, leading to serious health and safety risks. One such issue is backflow, which can contaminate your water supply and create a dangerous situation. In this article, we’ll explore what backflow is, how it happens, and why you should care about it.

Understanding Backflow

Backflow is a plumbing term used to describe the reverse flow of water within your pipes. When water flows in the wrong direction, it can carry contaminants, chemicals, and bacteria back into your home’s clean water supply. This can pose serious health risks, as well as cause damage to your plumbing system.

Causes of Backflow

Several factors can lead to backflow, including:

  • Changes in water pressure
  • Burst pipes
  • Cross-connections
  • System overuse
  • High usage in the surrounding area

It’s essential to understand the potential causes of backflow to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Types of Backflow

There are two types of backflow: back pressure and back siphonage.

Back Pressure

Back pressure occurs when there is an increase in water pressure on the downstream side of your plumbing system. This can cause contaminants to be pushed back into your water supply. Some examples of sources of back pressure include:

  • Booster pumps
  • Elevated plumbing fixtures
  • Thermal expansion

Back Siphonage

Back siphonage occurs when there is a sudden drop in water pressure on the upstream side of your plumbing system. This can cause water to be siphoned back into your supply lines, carrying any contaminants with it. Some examples of sources of back siphonage include:

  • Firefighting
  • Water main breaks
  • High water usage in the surrounding area

The Dangers of Backflow

Backflow can pose significant health and safety risks. Some of the contaminants that can enter your water supply include:

  • Bacteria
  • Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Fecal matter

These contaminants can cause serious illness or even death in extreme cases. It’s crucial to take preventative measures to ensure that your water supply remains safe and clean.

How to Prevent Backflow

There are several steps you can take to prevent backflow from occurring, including:

  • Installing backflow prevention devices
  • Regularly maintaining your plumbing system
  • Ensuring proper installation of plumbing fixtures
  • Not overusing your plumbing system
  • Monitoring water pressure

Taking these preventative measures can help protect your water supply and keep your home or business safe.

Why You Should Care About Backflow

While backflow may seem like a minor issue, it can pose serious health and safety risks. Taking preventative measures to protect your water supply is essential for the health and wellbeing of yourself and those around you. Additionally, preventing backflow can help avoid costly repairs to your plumbing system.


In conclusion, backflow is a serious issue that can contaminate your water supply and pose significant health risks. Understanding the causes of backflow and taking preventative measures to protect your water supply is crucial for the safety and wellbeing of yourself and those around you. If you’re unsure about the safety of your plumbing system, it’s important to contact a professional to evaluate and make any necessary repairs or installations.

Call Apex Now

IAt Apex Plumbing, we specialize in providing top-notch Backflow repair and replacement services to ensure the safety and cleanliness of your water supply. Our team of licensed and experienced plumbers is equipped with the latest tools and knowledge to accurately diagnose and resolve Backflow issues in your plumbing system. With our commitment to customer satisfaction, you can trust us to provide reliable and efficient services that will keep your water supply protected. Contact Apex Plumbing today to schedule an appointment for Backflow repair and replacement services that you can count on.

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A plumbing system with a backflow prevention device installed to prevent water from flowing in the wrong direction.

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