Why Regular Testing of Backflow Prevention Devices is Necessary

You may believe that simply installing a backflow preventer will block toxins and undesirable liquids and solids from entering clean water pipes on your property. Backflow preventer maintenance is an important part of ensuring that your home, business or institution has a safe drinking water supply because, like anything else mechanical, parts can wear out and accidental backflows can occur, allowing dangerous substances to enter clean water.

Required by New York City

Backflow prevention devices are required by New York City for certain types of business operations such as medical and dental labs, laundries and dry cleaners, manufacturing plants and many more. Your residential property may even have one if you live close to one of these facilities. As part of New York’s Backflow Prevention Program, property owners are required to adequately maintain their backflow devices. Thus, regular NYC backflow preventer testing is not only a good idea; it’s the law.

Why a Properly Working Backflow Preventer is Important

A variety of situations can cause non-potable water to potentially enter your water supply either through backflow or backflow siphonage. Backflow threatens when there is a change of pressure in the water supply, which can occur when pipes freeze, a water main bursts or multiple fire hydrants are opened at once. Non-potable water entering your clean supply has the potential to cause serious health problems. If a drop in water pressure occurs due to one of these circumstances, the RPZ (Reduced Pressure Zone) valve opens up to dump water out rather than allowing the potentially contaminated water to back up into your water supply.

What to Expect During and After a Backflow Preventer Test

The certified backflow plumber doing the testing will essentially look for areas where the pressure is inadequate. This is performed by turning off the downstream shut-off valve and testing the pressure in the system by hooking up a series of hoses after waiting for a few moments. If your backflow device fails the test, you must have it immediately repaired or replaced.