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In order to keep your drinking water supply clean and safe, buildings need a backflow preventer to guard against contamination from non-potable water. Because residential homes are less likely to have their water supply become contaminated, they aren’t included in municipal bylaws for backflow prevention in Hamilton.

What is backflow and how does it happen?

Backflow happens when potable drinking water is contaminated because of a cross-connection with non-potable water that may be filled with harmful chemicals. Some examples of potential cross-connections are water softeners or other water conditioners, chemical sprayers that attach to your hose, lawn irrigation systems and pressure washers that use chemical soaps and connect to your hose. There are two types of backflow:

  • Backpressure High pressure on non-potable water lines can force contaminants into your drinking supply. It’s often caused by heat exchanging equipment, sprinkler systems and power washing.

  • Backsiphonage A sudden drop of pressure in the water supply lines can suck contaminants into potable water pipes. This can happen if a watermain breaks, or if a fire hydrant is used to fight a fire.

Why does my backflow prevention system need regular maintenance?

Backflow prevention devices work by keeping water flowing in just one direction at all times and stopping it from moving in the opposite direction. If something occurs that could potentially cause backflow, the device will stop it, keeping your drinking water clean and safe. If you have this type of system, it’s important to have it tested once a year to make sure all parts of the device are working properly and efficiently. If they aren’t, your drinking water could be contaminated. In some cases, water contaminants affect the colour or taste of your water without being harmful to your health. In other cases, however, they can cause serious illness or even death. Having a professional inspect your backflow prevention system at regular intervals can help you avoid the health risks associated with drinking contaminated water. If you have a backflow prevention system, or if you think you need one, Pitton Plumbing & Heating can test it or install one for you. We offer many other residential services including sewer and drain services, and we have an emergency plumber on call 24 hours a day to serve Hamilton and the rest of southwestern Ontario. Call us now for fast and efficient service.


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