It’s that time of year again – your company has received notice from the City that you need to complete the annual Backflow Prevention Assembly Report Form. Thankfully, a licensed plumber certified in backflow testing can take care of the whole process for you, so that you can get back to what’s most important – successfully running your business. Let’s take a look at how backflow prevention devices work, why they’re so important and why they need to be tested by the professionals.
Most buildings’ water supply systems contain a ‘cross connection’. Cross connections are points in the piping system where a potable water supply crosses with a non-potable water supply. Normally, the potable water in your supply lines only flows in one direction, and it is kept at a high pressure to enable it to flow from faucets, showerheads, irrigation systems and other fixtures. In this way, the potable and non-potable water does not mix. However, when there is a significant drop in pressure – for example, when a mains pipe bursts or when several fire hydrants are opened all at once – the flow of the water may reverse direction and allow water from the non-potable water supply to flow back into the potable water supply. Since non-potable water could be contaminated, this may result in waterborne diseases entering the water supply, creating risk of disease and illness. This is why all cross connections must have a backflow prevention device – or a backflow prevention assembly – installed at the connection point.
Backflow prevention devices have one incredibly important function: they prevent potable water supplies from becoming contaminated due to water backflow. A backflow prevention device has a number of valves which block off backflow, ensuring it never enters the potable water supply. Different types of backflow preventers – such as the reduced-pressure principle assembly, the pressure vacuum breaker assembly, and the double check valve assembly – use different mechanisms to prevent backflow, but all require regular testing.
Backflow testing is vital, and not just because local regulations require it – if your backflow prevention assembly isn’t working properly, it is critical that it be replaced as soon as possible. You can never be sure when a pipe may burst or a house water service break may occur, leaving your potable supply susceptible to contamination. Backflow could also affect neighboring properties, so it is important that all buildings in the community comply with the annual backflow testing requirements.
Backflow testing devices are made up of a number of parts, including check valves, springs, and relief valves. Each part needs to be individually tested. During a backflow test, the backflow assembly is pressurized and then each component is isolated and its performance checked. Check valves, for example, must be able to hold a minimum pressure before passing the test. If a part is worn, it may need to be cleaned or repaired, or it may require complete replacement. Backflow testing is usually a quick procedure if no problems are detected, and can be completed within half an hour.
At Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, we know that time is money when you have a business to run – and that worrying about your backflow testing is one time-consuming hassle you can’t afford to deal with. There’s no need to stress, though – we’ve got it covered. Our licensed plumbers are certified backflow testers who will get the job done quickly and efficiently, and make sure that any worn parts in your backflow prevention assembly are replaced. Many businesses already trust us to complete their yearly backflow inspection – give us a call today and you’ll find out why!
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