The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Backflow Inspections
Having clean, usable water is a necessity. We drink, shower, and wash our dishes and clothes with it—all things we do every day. Now imagine trying to complete these tasks with dirty, contaminated water caused by backflow. This is where commercial backflow inspections come in handy. But what is backflow testing, and why does it matter? Luckily, we’re here to tell you exactly that.
This article answers a range of backflow inspection questions that are geared towards familiarizing you with your next test, including:
- What is commercial backflow testing?
- Why are backflow inspections necessary?
- What are the benefits of regular backflow inspections?
- How is backflow testing done?
What Is Commercial Backflow Testing?
When components are working as intended, the water systems for plumbing are meant to flow in one direction. However, backflow happens when that water seeps backward or its flow is reversed, typically because of a faulty component or a drastic change in water pressure like a pipe burst. Backtracking water can be filled with dangerous chemicals, bacteria, or harmful waste that can create significant health issues for the individuals that come into contact with or consume it.
Backflow inspections involve a professional plumbing service that can assess water flow, pressure levels, and preventer devices to determine the current state of your water supply. If all systems are sound and no backflow is present, you can rest easy knowing your drinking water is clean. And if backflow is evident, tests can uncover the root cause of the problem. From there, you can schedule repairs to get your plumbing system back on track.
Why Are Backflow Inspections Important?
For busy business owners, having yet another essential task to worry about might seem like too much to handle, but rest assured, keeping up with regular backflow inspections is a must. Doing so prevents negative health issues and costly damage repairs. But when backflow occurs, it not only affects your water supply, but the entire community’s, too.
If a backflow prevention device malfunctions and you aren’t undergoing routine inspections, you won’t know something is wrong until it is too late. Specific measures can delay immediate contamination exposure, but it is inevitable. Eventually, people are going to be using polluted water to bathe, wash their dishes, and fill their glasses.
Aside from the high priority of maintaining hazard-free water for various uses, commercial backflow testing is required by law. At the very least, municipal codes require that these commercial inspections occur annually and are performed by a licensed plumber. Failure to complete these recurring backflow inspections can result in heavy fines for your business.
Having experienced, professional testing services to perform recurring backflow inspections is the only way to guarantee the purity of your water. Learn more about the necessity for these services here:
The Benefits of Regular Backflow Inspections
By this point, the benefits of consistent backflow inspections might seem apparent, but there are a few that may pleasantly surprise you. Here are five common advantages:
1. Water Safety
The most evident benefit of regular backflow inspections is the guarantee of clean, safe water for communities. Reducing the chance of a backflow preventer failure allows water to continue flowing seamlessly for general use and curbs the risk of contamination and exposure.
You may be under the impression that setting up an inspection every year can be tedious, but in reality, it’s quite simple. Once your first test has been scheduled, many backflow services can help you set your next one up then and there. Otherwise, you may get a call later on asking when the best time works for you. It’s as easy as arranging your next dentist appointment!
3. Eases Stress
Wondering if dirty water is going to spurt out of the faucet every time you turn it on can be stressful. When you utilize backflow inspections, you never have to worry about that again. Inspectors can tell when anything needs to be replaced and can do so if necessary, but assuming you’re in the clear, you stay satisfied knowing your water supply is safe for another year.
Another plus of backflow inspections is the fact that they are inexpensive. While prices may vary slightly depending on the service provider, most are going to be under $130. For a one-year guarantee of safe water, it doesn’t get much better than that.
5. Quick Testing
Backflow inspections don’t require you to clear your day. Nearly all testing occurs outside, meaning there’s no need for you to even be present if your schedule is full. Assuming there are no underlying issues, the test itself only takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, meaning your day is wide open.
How Is Backflow Testing Done?
Commercial backflow inspections should take place at least once a year, per municipal codes, but what should you expect from these tests?
On the day of testing, water is to be shut off temporarily. From here, expect to hear about the condition of your backflow preventer as well. This is the valve unit that prevents water from moving in the opposite direction. It operates automatically, opening and closing to ensure that no waste interferes with clean water. Most preventers last for quite some time, but can always do with a regular inspection. Most of the time, they should be working well with no signs of damage, but occasionally need repairs or even replaced.
The inspector checks that these preventers are opening and closing correctly, then records any pressure changes as they take measurements. After the assessment is complete, they inspect the system to guarantee it works. When everything is good to go, your water is turned back on, and any required paperwork is to be filled out.
There are a lot of variables to consider, but a plumbing preventative maintenance expert can handle everything.
Make A&G Piping Your Backflow Inspection Expert
A&G Piping has been providing customers with commercial plumbing in Dallas and Fort Worth since 1984. Our team has amassed decades of plumbing, mechanical, and HVAC experience that we use to set high standards for ourselves—because the higher our standards, the better the results. Consider making A&G your commercial plumbing contractor the next time you need a backflow inspection.