How To Tell if Your Backflow Preventer Is Bad

All equipment requires standard maintenance. This is especially true for equipment used to keep our water clean, whether it runs through sprinklers, irrigation systems, homes, schools, or cities.

When it comes to plumbing systems, backflow devices play a significant role in maintaining clean water. Without them, we’d run into issues of dirty water or health hazards, or even some serious public health crises.

Let’s tie it back to maintenance. For backflow preventers, you must conduct consistent inspections, repairs, and replacements to avoid water contamination. But how do you notice the signs? Below, we’ll discuss how to tell if a backflow preventer is bad. Read on!

Water Flow Is Slow

One of the simplest signs that your backflow preventer is bad stems from the flow of water. You may not know until it’s too late—like if the fire sprinklers go off for the first time in a while. But if we’re talking about something used consistently, like the water in a commercial building or school, then you’ll likely notice the need for repair when the flow of water is slow.

This may result from a pressure buildup in the preventer device that creates a vacuum-like effect. This can slow or even stop the natural flow of water.

Water Quality Is off

If you’re concerned about the system, it’s time to look closer into the quality of the water. Here are a few things to watch for:

  • A bad smell
  • Discolored water
  • Particles in the water
  • A strange taste

Any of these signs demonstrate the need to repair or replace a backflow preventer. If that’s the case for your system, backflow preventer replacement is in your future. Turn to Backflow Direct for support!


This is a tricky one. You may not always see leakage, but that doesn’t mean repair or replacement isn’t necessary. A leak can form even when a preventer device is in the middle of its life cycle. Things like dirt, shifts in water pressure, chlorine and rust, and even thermal expansion can create leaks.

If you notice leaks from the backflow preventer device itself or the sprinkler heads, get things checked. And even if you don’t see any leaks, you must conduct consistent maintenance and inspections.

Maintenance helps ensure safety. Make sure to complete inspections, repairs, and replacements as soon as possible. And when you need new parts, Backflow Direct is here to help!