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Backflow Prevention

What does backflow mean?

Backflow is when contaminated water has reversed flow and entered clean water lines. When this occurs, homeowners may experience contaminated drinking water, putting themselves and their families at risk. Safe drinking water is something we rely on. That is why it is important to work with your local government to make sure you are compliant with their backflow regulations.

What does a Backflow Preventer do?

Backflow preventers do exactly what their name suggests: they ensure water flows in a one-way direction. It can occur at any cross-connection between clean and dirty water lines and is typically caused by a significant change in water pressure —such as from a burst water main. The dirty water may contain hazardous materials like human waste, pesticides, or chemicals, so it poses a serious health concern.

Most backflow prevention devices are in commercial properties, or before the first branch line leading off a service line. Most residential homes are not required to have backflow prevention devices unless they have an irrigation system or are certain home-based businesses.

Do you test a Backflow Prevention Device?

Backflow testing is important because not only do local regulations require it, but it also helps protect the safety of those drinking and using the water. In the case of an unexpected or dramatic change in water pressure, the backflow prevention device will stop dirty water from entering the clean water supply. In the event of backflow, your backflow prevention device should work automatically. To ensure your device is working properly, it should be tested once it is installed, relocated, repaired, and on a yearly basis.

Municipal codes require annual testing of backflow prevention devices to ensure that they are functioning properly. You can be fined if testing is not completed on time, or the water supply to your property or business might be cut off. As a business owner, you or your landlord are responsible for getting your backflow prevention devices inspected. You will probably get a letter from your local water board or city government reminding you that your inspection is due.

A backflow prevention device is equipped with 2 check valves that are designed to work automatically in the event of backflow. A tester will inspect these valves as well as the air gap. An air gap is a physical separation between the potable and contaminated water by a vertical air space. There are many pieces and parts of a backflow prevention device that need to be tested to ensure the device is operating properly, but the valves and the air gap are what testers primarily check on.

The installation, testing, and repair of a backflow should never be taken lightly. You need clean water for your home and/or business to function properly, and if the backflow is compromised, you need to get it repaired quickly. If you are interested in saving time and money when it comes to completing backflow prevention testing, contact Valiant Security today to learn more.

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