Defining Backflow Testing and Its Benefits

When visiting other countries, it’s not uncommon to hear people say “only drink bottled water,” since there can be differences in how other countries process and clean their tap water. However, most people don’t think about this when they’re at their own homes. It’s assumed that the water in the house is safe to drink, but in some cases, that might not be true. 

In the event of a plumbing backflow, human waste, chemicals, gases, and other contaminants can enter into the drinking water in the home and pose some dangerous threats to a person’s health. As a result, backflow testing is critical for people to stay safe and healthy at home.


woman asking what backflow is

Before getting into backflow testing and why it’s important, it’s essential to understand what backflow is and when it can happen. Backflow occurs when the fluid flowing through the pipes reverses direction due to a change in pressure. In other words, the waste and water that was supposed to flow away from the house is now coming back towards it. The danger lies in the cross-connections of plumbing systems. If the backflow starts from the city water supply, it can be even more dangerous with additional chemicals and waste added in.

The chemicals in the water can burn people’s skin when washing their hands or taking a shower. Propane gas could enter through the water mains, which ends up being a major fire hazard. Additionally, bacteria and viruses can make their way through the water supply, transmitting diseases and illnesses. With all of these health risks at play, preventing backflow is critical..


Backflow is caused by a change in fluid pressure This change in pressure is typically caused by the downstream pressure of non-potable water outweighing the pressure of the main water source. To prevent backflow from reaching the house, there are two steps homeowners can take. 

woman wondering what backflow prevention is

First, homeowners should have a professional test their water supply regularly for backflow. Professional plumbers will take a look at the gate and relief valves to identify any irregularities in the water movement. 

Second, homeowners can then install a backflow preventer. This small device is placed on the pipes and forces the water to only flow in one direction. 



Homeowners should keep in mind that even a backflow preventer has the potential to wear down or malfunction over time. Therefore, backflow testing becomes a critical step. This helps homeowners know if they are in immediate danger of the health risks that backflow can bring. 

If homeowners detect that backflow is happening in their home, they should immediately shut off the water in the house to prevent it from making contact with the home’s occupants. Then, they should call a professional plumber who can run the proper tests and put a permanent solution in place. 


Service Plumbing is a full-service plumbing company owned and operated by the same family since the early 1980s. They have proven to be the authority for both residential and commercial plumbing services in Ocala, FL. When customers work with their trusted team, they can always expect straightforward, hassle-free service on every call.