The Importance of Backflow Prevention

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Imagine for a moment that you’re taking a shower. The water is flowing over your body, washing away the dirt and grime of the day. You reach for your shampoo and squeeze some into your hand. You bring the suds up to your head and begin to scrub. All of a sudden, you start to feel nauseous. You notice that the showerhead’s water is brown and murky. And then you realize you’re showering in sewage water!

This may seem like a nightmare scenario, but it’s a real possibility if you don’t have proper backflow prevention.


Backflow occurs when water from an outside source flows back into your home through the plumbing system, often due to a sudden change in water pressure or pipe freezing. While this might not seem like a big deal, backflow can contaminate your drinking supply with harmful chemicals or bacteria—and even risk your family’s health! Additionally, backflow can cause your pipes to leak or burst.

Backflow Prevention Devices

Backflow prevention devices are installed in your home to prevent contaminated water from flowing backward into your water supply. There are many different types of backflow prevention devices, but they all work to achieve the same goal: protecting your family and home.

Check Valves

Check valves are installed in the piping system, allowing water to flow in only one direction. These valves are typically made of metal or plastic and have flaps that open when water flows in the correct direction and close when water tries to flow backward.

Air Gaps

An air gap is a physical separation between two fixtures, such as a faucet and a drainage pipe. Air gaps provide an opening that allows air to enter the system, which prevents contaminated water from being drawn back into the fixture.

Reduced Pressure Zone Valves (RPZ)

These valves are similar to check valves, but they have an additional chamber that reduces incoming water pressure before it enters the piping system. This helps to prevent contamination if there is ever a sudden drop in water pressure.

Pressure Vacuum Breakers (PVB)

PVBs are used to protect against both back siphonage and back pressure. These devices have a valve that opens when positive pressure is on the downstream side (backpressure), allowing water to flow freely through the system. When negative pressure builds up on the downstream side (back siphonage), the valve closes and blocks contaminated water from flowing backward into the system.

Is Your Home Protected?

With over 30 years of experience, our experts at Aztec Plumbing & Drains have the knowledge and tools to equip your home with the proper devices to ensure you are safe from the threat of backflow. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, give us a call! 239-932-2959

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