Backflow Testing – What You Need to Know

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Backflow Testing

All water systems in residential and commercial properties use specific pipes that each play a role in the sufficient functioning of the building’s water system. Some pipes are meant to bring clean water in for drinking purposes, while others are meant to carry waste out of the home. Backflow happens when there is a decrease in water pressure levels, disrupting the normal flow of this water system.

Backflow results in contaminated wastewater flowing through the clean water pipes, instead of through the designated waste pipes. The Backflow testing comes in handy especially after you’ve had a burst water pipe, to ensure that your water system is functioning the way it should. It is advised to use the highly trusted experts in backflow testing Melbourne and surrounding areas have learned to trust. Read on so you can make smart decisions in managing your property.

What is the Purpose of a Backflow Test and When Do I Need One?

The only way to ensure that your pipe system is working properly is by having it tested by a certified backflow assembly tester. Backflow assemblies serve to ensure that your drinking water is not contaminated and is safe for consumption. Regular maintenance is mandatory, and a scheduled check is needed if you experience any signs of contaminated water.

Proper testing requires your water supply to be temporarily disconnected while the test is being carried out. During the test, the technician will open and close the valves in the backflow device while simultaneously watching the water pressure for any changes. Once this is done, they need to make sure the system activates correctly.

Failure to attend to your system timeously could result in your water being disconnected permanently until the issue has been resolved.

Some factors that can trigger a backflow event include:

  • Pump failures
  • Damage to water supply lines
  • Heavy water usage such as a fire hydrant

Your backflow problem can easily affect your neighbours or your entire neighbourhood, which is why it’s crucial for every homeowner to maintain their backflow system on a regular basis.

How Often Should I Have a Backflow Test Done?

It is recommended that you have a backflow test done annually if you have a backflow device. Not all residential properties need a backflow preventer. However, municipalities require some residential and all commercial buildings to have a backflow device, accompanied by mandatory annual backflow tests.

Acquiring the services of commercial plumbers Melbourne authorities approve of, is a good way to ensure your tests are done by trusted and recommended companies. Get it done right the first time.

What is a Backflow Preventer?

A backflow preventer is a check valve unit that allows water to only flow in one direction. It’s installed on your pipes and opens and closes automatically. Failure of a backflow preventer can have catastrophic consequences, as mentioned above. It is therefore vital to have your backflow system regularly inspected by a certified plumber, ensuring its functionality.

What Happens When Your Backflow Preventer Fails the Test?

During the test, the plumber will do the necessary adjustments and repairs and retest. In some cases, repairs will not be sufficient, and replacing the device will be required followed by a second test.

It’s not unlikely for backflow devices to fail the tests, especially if they are older. These devices fail at a rate of 10-15% after one year.

When is a Backflow Test Considered an Emergency?

Annual backflow tests for maintenance are completely different from having a test done if you have contaminated water. If you find yourself having a backflow issue, it is considered an immediate emergency, as serious as a blown pipe. Apart from the water pressure problems it can cause, it can have a serious impact on the health of those using the property.

Here are some signs that indicate you have a backflow problem:

  • Slow drainage: Unless a blocked drain has been eliminated, a sure sign of a backflow problem is slow drainage.
  • Funny smell & weird taste: A funny smell coming from a running tap is not normal, nor is a bad taste. Before booking a backflow test you can contact neighbours and your local municipality to confirm if you are the only one with this problem.
  • Visible particles: Visible particles in running water is a tell-tale sign that something is not right. If you find this, you need to have it attended to immediately.

The above-mentioned signs should not be ignored as failure to catch and solve a backflow problem in time, can pose some serious health risks.


If you are in a residential area where your local municipality requires a backflow preventer, it is important that you have it installed by a certified company. Once you’ve done that, regular maintenance is vital to keep the system going and avoid contaminated water. The same applies if you wish to have a backflow preventer installed by choice. Water plays such an important role in day-to-day life. Make sure your property’s water is and stays safe to use.