If there is water coming out of your backflow preventer there is a serious problem and you need to take action to fix the problem before backflow enters your water supply or causes water damage.
A backflow prevention valve uses a vacuum and ball valve to prevent water from contaminating your drinking water. There should be a small amount of leaking from the backflow preventer valve at the start but it will seal inside the pipe after a few minutes and provide 100% protection for your plumbing system.
In this guide we’ll teach you how to fix backflow preventers from leaking:
Backflow Preventer Gushing Water
If water is gushing out of your backflow preventer something is likely installed wrong and there is a problem with the backflow prevention assembly. Start by turning off the water flow at the water main if possible – this may not be possible if the backflow valve is installed on a sprinkler system or on city drain lines. This first step is important to prevent water damage, minimize contamination of potable and irrigation water and provide you a clean space to diagnose the problem.
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Normally leaks like this come from one spot in the system and are relatively easy to fix as long as the vacuum breaker has not been damaged. Start by tightening all of the valves so that the system is water tight – make sure not to overtighten if you have a plastic valve or PVC piping or you could cause a crack.
Once the valves have been tightened it is time to create the high pressure zone in the drainage line and the low-pressure zone in the waterline. Most valves need a little configuration but are relatively easy to set up. Once complete start backflow testing the water system at a faucet and spigot to check for contaminated water in your water supply.
Fixing Small Backflow Leaks
Some water coming out of a backflow preventer is not unexpected if the backflow valve was just installed. Most systems take at least 5 minutes for the ball valve to seal and the lower pressure system to start to fully protect your potable water from your irrigation system and city lines.
If the backflow prevention device does not stop leaking after about 5 minutes you might need to make some adjustments to the pipe or relief valve. The most common causes are small leaks are debris like dirt, sand, or small rocks causing a blockage inside the valve.
Open up the pipes and clean the inside of the valve with running water or a can of compressed air if you have one handy. Try not to damage the swing valve or the ball valve inside the backflow device or check valve.
Fixing Sprinkler Backflow Valve Leaks
Sprinkler systems are another place in your home you might find a backflow valve – and from time to time they will leak. When this happens it can be fixed just like fixing a normal valve! All you have to do is turn off the water at the water main, clean the valve and reattach it to the lines. Once it has been attached test the sprinkler system for at least 10 minutes to make sure it is no longer leaking.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my backflow preventer leaking?
Backflow preventers can leak because of dirt in the valve or problems with the high pressure and low pressure inside the valve body.
Why is water coming out of my backflow preventer?
Some water will come out of your backflow preventer when it is first installed but once the pressure is created on both sides of the valve it will only allow water to flow one way.
Can a backflow preventer go bad?
Backflow preventers can go bad and fail over time. The most common parts to fail are the ball valve, pressure gauge, and cracks in the valve body.
How do you fix a leaking backflow?
Leaking backflow can be fixed by cleaning the inside of the valve and securely attaching the backflow preventer, relief valve or check valve securely onto the lines.