Signs Your Backflow Preventer Needs Repair

Backflow preventers are essential to keeping our water supplies clean, fresh, and sanitary. Just like everything else, these incredible devices eventually can wear out and encounter issues. 

We’ve put together a list of some signs that your backflow preventer may be malfunctioning. If you see any of these signs, it’s crucial to call a certified backflow tester right away.

Backflow Direct does not perform any backflow services. We manufacture backflow preventers and other parts, mainly for fire sprinkler systems. If you are a backflow pro in search of backflow preventer repair tools and parts, give us a call, or check out our product offerings.


Backflow Preventers and Their Purpose

A backflow preventer means the difference between a fresh, clean water supply and one contaminated with backflow—hence the name. There are a few different types of backflow preventers, including:

  • Double Check Valves
  • Reduced Pressure Zones
  • Pressure Vacuum Breakers

While they all differ slightly, in essence, these devices only allow for one-way flow of water. Water can flow through the backflow preventer and into schools, buildings, and residential properties. Once that water passes through the system, the check valves close, preventing any liquid from being able to move backward into the potable water supply. This prevents bacteria, dirt, and other harmful contaminants from entering an otherwise sanitary water supply.

Common Issues Caused by a Damaged Backflow Preventer

Water Leaks

Just like any other piece of equipment, backflow preventers will wear out over time, and as a result, it’s not out of the ordinary for them to leak. There are various reasons a leak might occur, but a common one is an old rubber part that has cracked or shifted, which can allow a small amount of water through.

You may think you can replace these rubber parts yourself, but unless you have a backflow testing kit, you won’t know if you placed them right. If the rubber seals, or any part of the backflow preventer, is off by just a hair, you could cause a lot more damage to your system and to the public water supply. Plus, it’s required by most water authorities that backflow devices pass inspection by a certified tester after any repairs, in addition to your annual testing.

A leak could also be a result of some corrosion in the valve, in which case you may need a replacement. If you see massive amounts of water pouring through the valve, there is likely something stuck in the relief valve.

Uneven Water Pressure

When it comes to backflow devices, changes in your water pressure are a typical sign of trouble. This is often due to defects in the opening points of valves. This is particularly if the water quality is bad in your area. The backflow preventer or strainer may be clogged with debris or damaged by something such as a small rock that tried to pass through.

Cloudy or Discolored Water

If your water is suddenly discolored, cloudy, tastes bad, or smells bad, it’s a sure sign that something’s wrong. Moreover, it could mean that a backflow preventer in your area has stopped working, and your water supply may be rife with contaminants. Your backflow preventer could be in perfect working order, but if your neighbor’s backflow preventer fails, they could be letting fertilizer, soap, stagnant water, and much more into your public water supply.

Call a professional to report the problem you’re experiencing. The backflow pros and your local water authority will get to the bottom of it.

Slow Drainage

Lastly, slow drainage is another common sign indicating damage to your backflow preventer. If you notice any poor drainage in your showers, sinks, or other water features, you could have a clog or buildup affecting the backflow preventer. It could also mean you already have backflow in your water supply, so it’s important to call a plumber to get to the root of the problem. If the problem is your backflow preventer, you’ll need to have a pro repair or replace it.

Final Thoughts

Overall, backflow preventers are essential equipment that provides clean water supply to everything from residential homes and office buildings to schools and hospitals. Thus, when there’s an issue with one, it’s imperative to call your certified backflow professional. 

Backflow Direct does not install or repair backflow preventers.

If you have a project and need some backflow repair parts, check out our supply. We carry the Deringer line of backflow preventers, which can be used for fire sprinkler systems, domestic or irrigation.


We also carry couplers, adapters, strainers, repair kits, parts, and more.

Signs Your Backflow Preventer Needs RepairSigns Your Backflow Preventer Needs Repair