What Are Backflow Preventers, And Should Your Plumber Install One At Your Home? | Atlanta, GA

What Are Backflow Preventers, And Should Your Plumber Install One At Your Home? | Atlanta, GA

Where does your water supply come from? From a well or the city water utility provider? Regardless, if the water that fills the fire protection system and your household water come from a similar source, it isn’t safe to drink. To ensure that the two kinds of water don’t mix, you should have a plumber install a backflow preventer at your Atlanta, GA, home. But what is it? Can it live to its purpose? How does it even work?

If such questions are wriggling around your head right now, you are in the right place. This is because you will learn about backflow preventers and why you should have one installed at your home.

How Does This Plumbing Fixture Work?

Before explaining how a backflow preventer works, why is backflow a serious problem? If your home uses a wet fire protection system, then large volumes of water remain stagnant until it can start to flow from a sprinkler head or a broken sprinkler. With time, the bacteria will fester in the stagnating water, transforming the water into a thick, smelly sludge that might cause severe health complications should it come into contact with your home’s daily water use.

It is at this point that backflow prevention proves critical. A backflow preventer is a simple yet ingenious plumbing fixture that mimics the working principle of a human heart. Simply put, it allows the water to run in one direction and will close if pressure comes in the same direction. Fortunately, backflow prevention resembles this mechanism. Turning on your kitchen faucet or flushing the toilet siphons the water via a branch line. In this process, the water will transport other substances within the pipes.

For instance, the sprinkler systems might contain fertilizers, weed killers, and other toxic materials. Without a plumber installing a backflow preventer on your sprinkler’s cut-in, the water system might contaminate your water supply lines with various toxins. Although all backflow preventers use the same principles of operation, there are several differences between models. Below are some of the most common backflow preventers:

Pressure Vacuum Breakers

Most lawn systems feature pressure vacuum breakers. These models are easy to disassemble and assemble on properties of all sizes. These valves can be mounted by a plumber close to an exterior wall or within your recessed underground box. Pressure vacuum breakers also ensure that the dirty sprinkler water doesn’t reach the drinking water. If you cannot locate it outside your home, it might be installed in your basement or utility closet.

Double-Check Valves

These valves keep the toxic substances off your Atlanta, GA home’s potable water supply lines. As its name suggests, it has two check valves that can close instantly to avert the damaging effects of abrupt fluctuations in water pressure. Additionally, the second valve may be activated whenever the first one is stuck.

This assembly normally comes with two ball valves for troubleshooting and confinement. It may be installed with backflow test cocks to allow the plumbers to connect their test tools or equipment and test whether the system is working correctly. The double-check valves are used for fending off water contamination in lawn, fire, and boiler systems.

Reduced Pressure Zones

Similar to double check valves, reduced pressure zones also do feature 2 check valves. The largest difference between the two is that a reduced pressure zone also features a relief valve to release the contaminated or toxic water. If the valves start flushing water from their lines, that is a sign that the main water line or check valves are damaged. The valve will stop draining when you hire a plumber to fix the issue. The reduced pressure zones are commonly used in cities and suburbs.

Should You Install a Backflow Preventer?

After going through the above, you might be left wondering whether you should have a plumber install a backflow preventer. The homeowners that have not installed this critical device are highly likely to experience the following problems:

Lower Water Pressure

Have you noticed a decline in water pressure at your home in the showerheads, kitchen, and bathroom sinks? That is a sign of a backflow that can create a vacuum-like impact on your plumbing. It prevents the water from optimally flowing. This might become a more severe problem, such as burst pipes with time unless addressed by a professional.

Water Discoloration

The other issue homes that haven’t had backflow preventers installed might experience is water discoloration. The contaminated water will generally come out brown, pink, or yellow. Whenever you notice that the water has become discolored, it is time to call an emergency plumber. The professional will inspect the plumbing system immediately, fix it and determine whether you should have a backflow preventer installed.


Leaks could signal several plumbing issues. They often point to issues like breakage or small bursts on the pipes. But at times, they might also be a sign of a backflow, particularly if they are recurrent. Enlist the assistance to inspect the plumbing and diagnose the underlying problem. Even if the problem isn’t caused by backflow, they will repair the affected part and ensure that your plumbing is in a great state.

Strange Odors

Have you noticed that your water is producing a strange smell? That is another sign that there might be a backflow. This happens when you turn on the faucet because the smell in the pipes is released when the water begins flowing. When it leaves the faucets, it releases a sulfur-like smell. The pungent smell is at times attributed to poor drainage. Regardless of the cause, this is a plumbing emergency that should be addressed by an emergency plumber in Atlanta, GA.

Reliable Plumbing Professionals Near You

Have you noticed either of the problems above? That sign that you might need a backflow preventer installed in your plumbing system. Have a plumber inspect the system and determine whether you need one. Call us at Peach Plumbing & Drain today for backflow preventer installation services.

Photo By Pif Paf Puf Studio at Shutterstock