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Backflow Preventer Maintenance Tips

Backflow Preventer Maintenance Tips

Backflow preventers are essential in protecting the safety and integrity of any plumbing system, protecting clean water sources by stopping their reverse flow into plumbing systems. Regular maintenance for backflow preventers is imperative to their effectiveness. In this guide, Mr. Rooter Plumbing offers valuable maintenance tips and advises you to hire an emergency plumber for assistance.

Understanding Backflow Preventers (BFPs)

Before diving into maintenance tips, it's essential to understand what backflow preventers are and why they are necessary. Backflow preventers are mechanical devices installed within your plumbing system designed to ensure water only flows in one direction--away from your home or business. They help safeguard public health by keeping contaminants out of our clean water source, protecting individuals' well-being and entire communities.

Undergo Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are the foundation of backflow preventer maintenance. A competent plumber or plumbing service should conduct at least one comprehensive examination annually to evaluate your backflow preventer in detail, conducting steps such as:

  • Visual Inspection: Conduct a visual examination to check for signs of damage, corrosion, or leaks to the backflow preventer and to ensure all its components are secure in their places.
  • Valve Functionality: Check all valves to ensure they open and close correctly; any malfunction could compromise a backflow preventer's efficacy.
  • Pressure Testing: Before installing any backflow preventer, conduct a pressure test to ensure it holds pressure as expected and that any pressure loss indicates any problems with its function.
  • Cleaning: Regularly clean out any build-up of debris or sediment inside of your preventer to maintain optimal functionality and ensure optimal functioning.


For areas experiencing freezing temperatures, winterizing your backflow preventer to prevent damage is crucial to avoid cracks and leaks in its mechanisms. Here's how you should approach winterizing it properly:

  • Stopped-Up Water Supply: If necessary, switch off the mains water source that supplies your backflow preventer.
  • Drain the Device: Opening both test cocks and drain valves is necessary to drain any remaining water out of your preventer device.
  • Insulate: For extra cold protection, wrap the backflow preventer with insulation material to shield it against extreme cold.
  • Cover Your Device With Snow and Ice Protection: Protect the device with snow and ice protection with an appropriate cover, protecting it from snowfall.

Seek Professional Repair Services

If during regular inspections you discover issues or suspect your backflow preventer is malfunctioning improperly, do not attempt to make repairs yourself; contact a licensed plumber or plumbing repair service immediately, as DIY attempts could cause more harm and could not comply with local regulations. Ignoring issues or performing DIY fixes yourself puts your water supply and health at risk, leading to further complications.

Upgrade and Replacement Options

As any mechanical device does, backflow preventers wear down over time and should eventually need replacing or upgrading. Knowing when it might be time for replacement can ensure optimal plumbing system health; here are some signs it might be time for an upgrade.

  • Age of Device: If your backflow preventer is over ten years old, replace it, as older models may no longer meet current safety standards or remain effective enough for current requirements.
  • Frequent Repairs: If your backflow preventer requires frequent repair visits from plumbers or plumbing repair services, this could indicate it has reached the end of its useful lifespan and needs replacement soon.
  • Change in Plumbing Regulations: Plumbing codes and regulations may undergo periodic revision. If your backflow preventer no longer satisfies these criteria, an upgrade will likely be required to stay compliant.
  • Expanding or Renovating Property: When expanding or renovating, plumbing needs may change significantly, and a different or upgraded backflow preventer might be needed to accommodate an altered water system.


Record keeping is often underestimated as part of backflow preventer maintenance, yet keeping track of inspections, repairs, replacements, and tests can prove invaluable - particularly on commercial properties.

  • Document Inspections: Maintain records for each inspection performed, noting the date, findings, and any subsequent actions taken.
  • Repair Logs: Any time a plumber or plumbing repair service performs repairs on your plumbing system, document their nature and details, such as parts replaced. Also, note any recommendations provided by a service technician.
  • Testing Results: Keep track of your backflow testing results; local health and safety regulations may require this.
  • Keep Records When Replacing: To keep an accurate record of any backflow preventer replacement projects, keep records detailing its model number, installation date, and warranty coverage details.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing

Maintenance of your backflow preventer is vital to protecting its quality and your plumbing system, so regular inspections, winterization, and professional repairs should all be conducted to ensure it works efficiently. Mr. Rooter Plumbing can handle any maintenance or repair work to guarantee it gets completed efficiently.