Every commercial building and some residential buildings are all required to have backflow prevention devices installed on their main plumbing connections in order to protect our water supply from the potentially dangerous situation that backflow can create. Backflow is the term used to describe the phenomenon of water flowing backward through your plumbing lines, entering back into the main water supply. This is particularly dangerous because water that enters a building can no longer be guaranteed to be “safe” or “clean,” and sometimes the water that can flow backward could even be compromised. Because every business is unique and has its own plumbing needs, it’s extremely important to make sure what happens in that plumbing system can’t accidentally jeopardize the water supply for everyone else.
However, as a business owner, you may not know all that much about your backflow prevention device, other than the fact that you are required to have it inspected every year. That and the fact that these annual inspections may sometimes feel like yet another tedious thing that is on your already lengthy list of things to do. On this blog, we’ll answer a few questions you and many others in your shoes may have about your backflow prevention device.
What Exactly Is a Backflow Prevention Device?
We could go on and on about what exactly these devices are and what they do, but we’ll attempt to give you a brief and simplified explanation here. A backflow prevention device, or backflow device for short, is a mechanism in place to prevent water that enters your premises from being able to flow backward into the public plumbing system or your water well. We explained why this is such a serious problem earlier in this blog. There are several different types of backflow prevention devices, but almost all of them have a couple of important things in common: they are typically located near your main water line, and they must be tested once a year.
How Is My Backflow Prevention Device Tested?
Backflow prevention testing is done by creating a reverse-pressure situation in your water lines, a phenomenon that should cause your backflow prevention device to trigger and cut off your water flow. We do this using a specialized backflow prevention tester that measures pressure and ensures that your backflow prevention device not only triggers but stops backflow completely. If your backflow preventer triggers, but leaks slightly, then it will fail the inspection and you’ll need to have it serviced.
Is there a chance that our backflow tester could yield a false positive? In short, no. All backflow tester devices need to be regularly calibrated by an approved backflow device calibration business each and every year. This ensures testing equipment is reliable and yields outstanding results.
Do You Have to Shut Off My Water in a Backflow Prevention Test?
Yes, but not for very long. Most of the time, your water will only be shut off for a few short minutes. But what happens if you need a constant, uninterrupted flow of water for your business? Many businesses with these types of water requirements actually utilize multiple water meters, meaning they have multiple backflow prevention devices. When this is the case, we test one device at a time and allow the other meter to remain in service. If this isn’t possible, we’ll make arrangements to run the test in a way that will minimally inhibit your business including possibly running the test after-hours.
What Happens If My Backflow Prevention Device Fails?
If your device fails inspection, we’ll go over your results with you and give you a list of things that need to be addressed or repaired before you have your device re-tested. In some cases, the repairs may be minor, while in other cases you may need a bigger service to go back to using your plumbing safely. You do not have to accept this repair quote, and you have the ability to call other plumbers out to give you a quote for the repair job. However, most places only give you a limited grace period to get your backflow prevention device fixed: usually around 15 days or so.
Who Submits My Paperwork After My Inspection is Complete?
Once your test is complete and your backflow prevention device has passed, your local governing body will need to be notified that you have completed and passed your test for the year. This is our responsibility to do. While we provide you with a copy of the paperwork for your records, we are required by law to submit the result for you. You won’t have to worry about sending anything in after the fact.
Do you need your backflow prevention device tested? Are you in need of a repair or other service for your system? Make the call to the experts at Moe Plumbing by dialing (818) 396-8002 and get help from Los Angeles’s preferred commercial plumbing experts!