Backflow is basically what it sounds like. Water that normally flows away from the house unintentionally reverses direction and flows back toward the house. Backflow usually happens because of a major interruption in the water system.
Some events that can cause backflow include opening a fire hydrant, a water main bursting, or some breakdown in the municipal water supply. Most cities have ordinances requiring backflow preventers because of the health hazards of backflow, and backflow testing ensures the backflow preventers are still working properly.
Why is Backflow Dangerous?
Because water flows opposite from what is intended with backflow, wastewater can be suctioned up into the home and the supply pipes. This can result in serious problems due to contamination. Here are some contaminants that can enter the clean water supply as a result of backflow:
- Human waste
All of these can cause serious health problems and illnesses for anyone who comes into contact with contaminated water.
How is Backflow Testing Done?
Backflow testing is the term used for testing the backflow preventers attached to most houses and businesses to prevent backflow. Municipal governments often require that backflow testing be done yearly. It must be done by a certified backflow tester, which is a qualified plumbing technician who has passed training in the machines that perform the backflow testing. This individual can perform the test, and if the apparatus works as it should, they can sign the paperwork and be gone in less than an hour.
Here are some steps involved in backflow testing and what the tester is looking for:
- Valve Check: The backflow preventer consists of a valve at either end that will close off to prevent water from flowing backward and the contamination that comes from that. The tester must verify that these valves are opening and closing properly.
- Air Chamber Check: Air chambers within the device can open and close at certain points in the process. The tester makes sure these open and close when they should.
- Relief Valve Check: The relief valve on the device has to be very sensitive, opening at a difference of 2 PSL or less. This must be checked with a PSL pressure test to prevent damage.
Why is Backflow Testing Important?
Preventing backflow is a major benefit to public health because it’s normally a whole area that is affected by backflow, meaning that an entire city’s water could become contaminated. Contaminated water can cause an outbreak of illnesses that could make life harder for everyone in the area.
Backflow testing is, therefore, of major importance to public health and safety, which is why some municipal governments require it. However, even if it’s not mandatory, homeowners should get it done annually to keep their families and communities safe.
About PAC Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning
The award-winning PAC Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning provides the residents of Staten Island, NY, and the surrounding areas reliable, individualized services for all their household needs. They offer options to fit a budget, fast turnarounds, and maintenance plans. Call them today for backflow prevention, testing, and certification services in Staten Island, NY.
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