When and Why To Employ Backflow Testing

All About Backflow Testing

Many cities require yearly backflow testing for public places, commercial buildings, and apartment complexes. This gives homeowners an idea of how important backflow testing is. Although most of America has safe drinking water, backflow can be a problem in many areas. Water cross-contamination can lead to serious illness or death in some cases. 

Backflow prevention and testing can protect the water supply from chemicals, heavy metals, and water that may contain viruses or infectious diseases. Read on to find out when and why to employ backflow testing, and whether homeowners need a backflow prevention device.

Backflow: Contamination

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Backflow usually happens when there's a sudden drop of pressure in the water lines, and can lead to many hazards. Most of the time, a certain amount of pressure is maintained throughout the plumbing to send water where it needs to go and when it needs to go. But when a pressure change occurs - due to a bursting pipe, unusually large water usage, or frozen pipes - the pressure can drop. 

For homeowners that don't have a backflow prevention device in place, their clean water can become contaminated by wastewater from municipal water lines. The dirty water may contain sewage, chemicals, or greywater.

Backflow Prevention Devices

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In most places where there's the potential for backflow, routine testing and a backflow prevention device installation are required. 

A backflow prevention device only allows water to flow one way. It's designed so that if there is a sudden drop in pressure, a stopper or valve closes so water won't be able to flow back and possibly become contaminated.

Backflow Testing: When and Why It's Needed

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Even if they have a backflow prevention device, homeowners are not in the clear. Like most everything, these devices can fail, which is why they need regular testing. But yearly testing is a small price to pay for clean water. 

Below are a couple of important things backflow prevention and testing accomplish:

  • Protection from viruses and diseases - If backflow occurs and the water supply becomes contaminated with human waste, the chances of contracting a sickness or disease increases. Giardia, E. coli, salmonella, and dysentery can all be transferred in contaminated water.
  • Protection from chemical contamination - Backflow can also contaminate drinking water with fertilizer, chlorine, herbicides, and insecticides. These chemicals can cause health problems if ingested in sufficient volume. 
  • Prevention of heavy metals - Most often a risk in commercial settings, heavy metals like lead, copper, and arsenic can contaminate a clean water supply if backflow occurs. 

For homeowners not sure whether they need backflow testing, they can contact a certified plumber for help. However, if they have a sprinkler system, a well, or any irrigation on their property, chances are they're required to have backflow testing and prevention.

Most new homes are built with backflow prevention devices installed, but they still need to be checked regularly for proper function. An expert plumber will know where to look for backflow prevention devices and can help determine the risk for backflow. 

About Super Plumbers

The experts at Super Plumbers in Tyler, TX, have over 10 years of experience in the community. They never leave until the customer is 100% satisfied with their work. They also offer competitive pricing, 24/7 service, and make customer safety their number one priority.