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The Backflow Testing Process

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It’s the law that business owners have a backflow test performed annually at their premises, so for this reason, a certified plumbing company needs to perform the test. The backflow testing process typically takes about 20 – 30 minutes to complete, if there are no repairs that need to be made. Valves are opened and closed to check for any irregularities and a form is then submitted to the local city, ensuring that it meets the correct standard and that there are no code violations. Backflow could be a huge problem, which is why we recommend you give us, Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, a call.

Why the Test is Important

Drinking water flows through pressurized water taps from the source to your tap. It generally flows in one direction but on some occasions, it may flow in the opposite direction, or “backflow”. Essentially, backflow is when water runs backward through a water system. This water is not drinkable and may contaminate the drinking water supply. Backflow can be caused by a water main break or high demand at a water hydrant and testing is necessary, you can never be sure when backflow is going to happen.

How to Book a Test

If it’s a home or business, numerous state regulations require a backflow test to be performed annually. A letter from the city will be sent with a backflow test report form a month before it is due. Once you have received this letter, you should contact a licensed plumber at Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric. After being tested and certified by a licensed backflow preventer company, the report must be filed back to the city who sent it.

Before the Test is Done

Before the test can begin, licensed plumbers have certain responsibilities.

  1. Permission needs to be obtained from the owner or representative of the property, for the water to be shut off. If the device being tested supplies a fire line, the appropriate authorities need to be notified of the shut off.
  2. Observe and record the conditions of the device assembly and surrounding area.
  3. Record or verify the manufacturer, the model, the serial number, size and location of the device.

Backflow Testing Process

Once the formalities have been done, the actual test can begin. There are two main purposes of the test, to see if backflow is present and to determine the issue that is causing it, so that it can be fixed. The testing process involves using valves on the backflow testing device, known as gate and relief valves. Essentially the plumber will be closing valves and checking for changes in gauge movement, water leaks and other clear signs.

There are specific criteria that needs to be met during the testing process.

  • To ensure that the check valves prevent backflow.
  • To ensure that the air ports open when they should.
  • To ensure that the relief valves open before the pressure between the check valves is less than 2 PSL below the pressure at the inlet device.

There is nothing specific a property owner needs to do to prepare for a backflow test. They can, however, uncomplicate their life and speed up the process by making sure everyone involved knows the water will be shut off for a while and that they need to make alternative plans for water use or perform the tasks beforehand.

Contact Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric for a licensed plumber to test or install a backflow preventer device, where quality and professionalism go together.


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