Backflow can result in the contamination of the water supply, rendering it unsafe for human consumption. Sometimes the issue can affect an entire city’s supply, leading to city officials issuing advisories against water use. In February 2021, there was a water boil notice in the City of Corpus Christ following a suspected main water line break that compromised the integrity of the water supply. The city had a more serious incident in 2016, where a severe chemical leak left residents without water for 3 days. Now, backflow can be more localized, affecting your home or commercial property.
7 Signs that You Need Backflow Repair
How can you tell that you’re dealing with a potential backflow problem? Here are some signs to watch out for:
Clean water doesn’t have any smell. Now, you can detect a funny smell in the water when you turn on the faucet because the gas may build up inside the pipes. The smell may be sulfur-like, and it’s typically caused by small amounts of hydrogen sulfide that naturally occurs in sewers, wells, manure pits, and other natural places. If you can detect any smell, it means that the backup is quite severe, and you need to seek help from a 24-hour plumber as soon as possible.
Pure water is colorless, and a color change can be the first indication of a backup. For instance, if the main water line breaks, the water may turn from clear to brown. When there is contamination from other chemicals, it may have other colors, including light shades of pink or yellow. So, unless the water is colorless, don’t bother drinking it. Get help from a plumbing professional to pinpoint the actual issue and correct the problem.
Visible sediments in the water
Sediments don’t have any place in your water supply. If you notice any tiny particles be it slit or rust, it could be a potential backflow problem that needs to be resolved immediately.
Funny water taste
Water should not have any taste at all. But if the water has any strange taste, it may be contaminated due to a backflow incident. It may even have dissolved sewage that can cause serious illness. You can also detect a sulfur-like taste even if the water doesn’t have any odor. Fortunately, plumbers can help with any odd-water tastes.
Low water pressure with some taps
Low water pressure may be a sign of a mainline break and consequent backup. When individual faucets in kitchens or bathrooms develop issues, they could also point to a backup issue, because a backup creates a suction-like effect that impacts water flow. It’s always important to call a plumber to resolve low water pressure issues.
So, where should you watch up for leaks? Start by examining the backflow preventer device. The presence of leaks doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a backflow issue. But leaks could mean that the preventer is more prone to fail. What’s more, you should identify leaks with water supply pipes as they can contribute to backflow and water contamination. Leaks may also indicate negative pressure in the system. A qualified plumber will assist with any issue that may exist.
Getting Your Backflow Device Inspected & Maintenance
If you have a lawn irrigation system, it may be a requirement to install a backflow preventer device. Because backflow devices play a critical role in ensuring the integrity of potable water supply, it may be a requirement to have the devices inspected annually. Commercial facilities must also have backflow preventer devices that require mandatory inspections. So, an annual inspection for all backflow preventer devices is the first line of defense against any other issues.
If you don’t have a prevention device installed or still weighing if you need inspection services, you’ll enjoy some key benefits, including:
Potential money savings
Dealing with a backflow incident is not cheap. Your plumbing system may require professional cleanup to eliminate germs and other contaminants that can affect your family’s health. So, prevent any backup incident with a preventer device and save a lot of money in the process.
High levels of water safety
Clean water is invaluable. That’s because contaminated water may transmit diseases or cause health effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, or stomach pain. Installing a backflow preventer device and having it inspected can keep your water safe.
Picking a plumber for backflow repair should be done carefully. Speak to multiple plumbers and ask for rough quotes. Make sure the plumber is licensed, bonded, and insured. Check if the company has relevant experience. You can even request references of work they have done before or read their independent reviews.