Why You Need an Annual Backflow Inspection

First of all, what is backflow?

Backflow is a plumbing term describing water flowing in the reversed direction of its intended flow. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as reduced pressure in the distribution system (backsiphonage) or increased pressure from a nonpotable (non-drinkable) source (back pressure). Have you ever run the dishwasher and water starts coming up your kitchen sink? That’s backflow!

Is backflow harmful?

The dishwasher example is more annoying thanharmful, but backflow can be dangerous when contaminated water (that has contacted chemicals or hazardous compounds) flows back into the drinking water system. To prevent this from happening, a backflow preventer device is required in commercial buildings and must be thoroughly inspected and tested annually.

Are there any regulations or laws regarding backflow?

In the water distribution system, each point where nonpotable water can be connected to a potable source is called a cross-connection. In 1974, Congress established the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that required each cross-connection to be either eliminated or protected in order to safeguard human health from contaminants in drinking water. A cross-connection is protected by using a backflow preventer device.

Each state has their own laws and regulations regarding potable water and the environmental risks from it. Each water supplier establishes a method to eliminate cross-connections within the distribution system to ensure the quality of the water is not tampered with and gets to your home safely. For example, in Virginia, the Department of Health and Waterworks Regulations Code 12VAC5-590-630 requires annual inspections on backflow prevention devices.

How does the backflow preventer work?

There is a series of valves and checkpoints in the backflow prevention device that is activated by high and low pressure from water flow. Check out this short video below to get a better understanding of how it works:

If any of these checkpoints, valves, or gaskets fail, the entire system could fail, resulting in possible water contamination to potable water sources. That’s why an annual inspection of these devices is so important!

Importance of annual inspections

We use water every single day, all day long (can you imagine life without indoor plumbing??) without even thinking about it. We take for granted that our plumbing systems are working properly, but when it comes to the integrity of your system, don’t leave it up to chance! Make sure you’re hiring trained technicians that are certified to test and inspect backflow devices in order to mitigate risks from a failed system. Has your system already failed inspection? schedule a backflow repair today.

At Moore’s, our technicians are certified to test and inspect your backflow preventer to keep it functioning optimally as well as repair or replace a backflow preventer that fails. Right now, we’re offering $35 off your first backflow inspection – don’t wait! Schedule yours today.