Installing a Sprinkler System in Your Garden? Here’s Why You Need a Backflow Preventer, Too

Sprinkler SystemNaturally, water flows in the direction that gravity pulls it. For the sprinkler system in your garden, however, the goal is to keep that flow in a single direction: outward. When water starts to flow backward within the sprinkler and into the water supply (rather than out of it), you could end up drinking the fertilizer you’ve spread on the lawn!

What causes the backflow?

Apart from gravity, pressure also affects how water moves. Water typically moves from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure, and backflow happens when there is a drop in the water pressure in the line. If the sprinkler system isn’t installed correctly, the pump may suffer from too much pressure, causing negative pressure within the supply line that eventually leads to the backflow. Unfortunately, in a lawn with sprinkler systems, backflow can cause pesticides and other chemicals to be pulled back into the main water supply line.

What’s the solution, then?

When you install a sprinkler system in your garden, make sure that you install a backflow preventer valve, as well. According to, this device serves as a one-way water gate that closes every time the water reverses, keeping the water from flowing back in the supply line. With this device installed, you don’t have to worry about contaminated tap water at home. Just remember to check that the backflow device that best suits your system so you can have long-term protection.

In Utah, the installation of the backflow preventer device with a sprinkler system is a requirement. Some municipalities, however, don’t always enforce this policy so there are still residential lawns with no backflow preventer. But even if your local government won’t reprimand you, it is best if you have this device, especially if you don’t want to end up sick because of contaminated water from your tap.