A backflow device is a device that stops dirty or contaminated water from re-entering your drinking water. If it’s labeled as high hazard it could make you sick, low hazard could be as slight as a discoloration in the water.
The E.P.A. has put into place codes to help govern the placement and usage of certain type of equipment for protecting the public water supply ( including wells, cisterns, ect.)
Examples of backflow installations:
The backflow on the water main as it comes into the building, or house is a containment backflow device. It is there to keep the water in your building (house) from going back into the public water supply. Without this, a soap factory may have an accident and put soap back into the water mains, this is great for the kids playing in the yard sprinkler or slip and slides, but may cause a health risk. Around the world backflow situations have caused sickness and death.
With a containment backflow, knowing your water supplier will help you and your tester understand the codes that you need to abide by. Not all suppliers have the same requirements and codes.
A backflow for a fire suppression system is a special backflow that can be a containment backflow or a isolation backflow. Isolation backflows fall under the plumbing code. They are either high hazard or low hazard. The plumber or fire installers are the only people that are allowed to certify this device and properly repair it. If you have an isolation backflow and it fails or you do not have on eat all the health risk is typically experienced by the closest to the hazard. ( your house)
A backflow to protect a lawn irrigation system are normally isolation devices. These backflow devices protect the water supply to your house first from things like fertilizers, animal waste, surface water, and mud, we can go and on so this is of course a high hazard. If it were to backflow into your house (building) someone may get sick. The E.P.A. has adopted a code stating that only irrigation contractors that pass a training class are allowed to certify the irrigation device as long as it is not a containment backflow.
Well water protection
If you have a well for water source or just as a second source of water on your property the codes are black and white. A containment device will be installed at the city water entrance to the building and cross connections( pipes or hoses that would allow hazardous water and your drinking water to mix) are not allowed period. For more information contact your water supplier about this.
These pumps are made to increase the water pressure into your house. For a residential home they are after the installation of a containment backflow. For this is a high hazard. Typically the cost of installing and maintaining are cost prohibited. Again ask your local water purveyor to see if these can be installed.
Backflows and the problems that are caused with their use
Backflows stop backward movement of water into the city(well) water supply. So the first thing that comes to mind is we discovered fire, so let’s make the water warmer. Since we don’t heat the water over fire and put in it a tub, we have water heating tanks and as water is heated in them the water flows backward into the city main lines, the backflow device stops this. With this backflow stopped the pressure in your increases to dangerous high pressure. A residential plumbing system is only made to handle around 80 pounds of pressure . Therefor you should have some sort of thermal expansion control device installed. Please confer with your plumbing company about this and its maintenance. Proper knowledge of the one installed at your location is the owners responsibility.
With your thermal expansion controlling unit not working correctly you may experience a faucet dripping, stops closing on their own, water hammering, water heaters leaking, toilets over filling in the tanks, mechanical heat trap not working and worst of all a broken pipe.
Another problem with backflows is pressure loss, this is with all backflows that are testable.
The most important problem is the drain needed for a catastrophic backflow failure. A one inch backflow device with drain can dump 18 to 30 gallons per minute, this will require a large drain line to handle this. Ask a plumber or an engineer for recommendations. We feel that installing one in a location without proper drainage is asking for a large insurance claim, don’t do it!!
The first requirement is an annual certification that is what most states are requiring, but depending on your location and the hazard being protected the frequency may increase.
The next is someone that is trained in repairing a backflow of your style. And in your location the purveyor will have a list of certified testers that are approved and have paid the necessary fee to practice in your location.
- PURVEYOR Please include complete address info form collection of data to decide the purveyor in the area to portal for customers to click on.
- Copy of EPA regulations
- VIEW MY TEST
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Installation of a new device
Please remember if the backflow is a containment device, the plumber should also be installing a device to handle thermal expansion. Please fill out the form with all of your information so we can get in contact with you.