Whether you realize it or not, you should be having your backflow prevention devices inspected annually. If this comes as news to you, then this blog post should provide you with some valuable information. We’ll explain what backflow testing is, why it matters, and what you need to do.
What Is Backflow?
Backflow refers to unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction. When this happens it poses a serious health risk to your area. It can lead to the potential contamination of the potable water supply with foul water. For example, a toilet flush cistern and its water supply has to be isolated from the toilet bowl. In order to ensure that the water supply remains safe for the community, all backflow prevention devices should be checked each year.
What Causes Backflow?
Backflow can happen in your system when there is a drop in water pressure. Pressure drops can be caused by a variety of situations. For example, if there is heavy water usage from a public source by the fire department in case of an emergency. Or, maybe there is damage done to water supply lines and pump failures.
As a homeowner — if something happens to cause a pressure drop — you probably won’t even know when it happens. Some examples of this could be when you are connecting a hose to weed spray, or have a hose submerged in a swimming pool the is filling up, or if there is a mainline break.
Backflow Testing Is Required
Federal and state law requires that backflow prevention devices be tested annually to ensure they are functioning properly. For the businesses and residents of Idaho Falls, the details include the following — “the premise owner or responsible person shall have the backflow prevention assembly tested by a certified backflow assembly tester at the time of installation, repair, or relocation and at least on an annual schedule thereafter or more often when required by the Administrative Authority. More information can be found here.”
The reason for this is that when water flows backward through the backflow preventer, the public drinking water source may become contaminated. This is where your backflow prevention device comes into play. The purpose of the backflow prevention device is to prevent backward water flow. Occasionally these devices fail. In order to keep drinking water that is clean and free of contaminants, the law states that the backflow device must be tested annually by a licensed backflow tester.
Backflow Testing Process
When you need to have your backflow prevention device tested, the process begins well before the actual testing happens. It starts with your licensed backflow tester. Before doing any testing, they must do the following:
- Get permission from the property owner to shut the water off
- Notify the authorities of the water shut off if the device being tested supplies a fire line
- Inspect and take note of the condition of the device and the surrounding area
- Gather the following information about the device
- Serial number
- Size of the device
- Location of the device
Once this is done the technician will be able to begin the test. We’ll be looking or two things — whether backflow is present or not and if it is, what is the cause that needs to be fixed? To find this out, it requires using valves that are located on the backflow testing device. We close these valves and watch for any changes in gauge movement, water leaks, or other signs that there might be an issue. During the test, we ensure three things:
- Check valves prevent backflow
- Air ports open when the should
- Ensure relief valves open before the pressure between the check valves is less than 2 PSL below the pressure at the inlet device.
The good news is that — as the property owner — you don’t have to do anything to prepare for a backflow test. We do recommend that you make sure that everyone involved understands that the water will be shut off and to plan ahead for any water usage needs during the time of the backflow test. It should take about an hour.
Backflow is the last thing your want in your water supply. At Turfco we want to make sure you not only have water supply but clean water supply and a backflow system that works well. This is why we provide regular backflow testing and the required annual testing. Our inspection includes testing for quality and repairs to make sure your backflow system works as it should.
If there is any repair work that needs to be done on the plumbing components of your home or office, we have staff members who work closely with backflow testing, have a plumber’s license, and have the mechanical skills to fix those issues for you. We perform backflow testing in Idaho Falls, Rigby, Shelley, Firth, Blackfoot, Fort Hall, Chubbuck, and Pocatello. We can do residential backflow testing as well as larger commercial buildings, schools, and government facilities. No device is too big or too small for our skilled technicians.
Our goal is to be as responsive as possible to each person we interact with. To us, this means we will respond quickly and happily to your concerns and communicate with you compassionately throughout the process of serving you. We look forward to helping you with your backflow testing or any of the other services that we offer — irrigation, lawn care, and pest control needs. Feel free to give us a call at any time.