Is backflow testing necessary?

backflow damage

Preventing waste backflow

Backflow testing certification is required by most cities and states today and while it seems to be a waste of time for a property owner, it is in the interest of having clean, healthy water.  Backflow testing assure that there isn’t any siphoning within the water system that could contaminant the water supply to your business or home. 

What happens that allows contaminants in the water to start with?  A loss in water pressure is the most common reason, which can happen from a busted water line. When a city establishes a boil water order for the residents, it is usually because of a busted water line. Once the line is repaired, the city will perform backflow testing before lifting the boil order. 

Is backflow testing required by levels of the government? Yes, states today will require cities to perform their backflow testing not only when a water line has busted, but every 2 to 3 years as well. There can be undetected leaks in a water line contaminating the water. Every 2 to 3 years, backflow testing allows the city crews to confirm their water is meeting state levels of cleanliness. 

What is backflow testing for?

Because backflow testing is the law, business owners are required to schedule their backflow testing and service with a professional plumbing company that is certified to perform backflow testing on an annual basis. Backflow testing makes sure that the drinking water coming into a building is clean and clear of contaminants that could get into the water as it flows through pressurized water taps.

 In essence, backflow happens when water is able to run backward through the water system, usually because of a waterline leak.  When water does run backward and makes its way to a water tap where it can be consumed, it could be hazardous. 

What happens during a backflow test?

Backflow testing typically takes between twenty and thirty minutes if there isn’t any repairs needed. All water valves are opened and closed as the crew checks for irregularities. They are required to complete a form that is then submitted to the local governing offices, usually the city. The information is then reviewed to ensure the water is meet the require standards of clean drinking water and no code violations were discovered. If backflow testing and repair are both needed, the time it takes for the repair will depend on what repairs are needed. 

How often should backflow be tested?

For a business, most cities and states require backflow testing every year. For residential settings, backflow testing is required every three years, although some cities and states will require it annually. The more frequent backflow testing is required when a history of problems has been present with the water supply or busted waterlines. 

Recent stories in the news about contaminated water in Flint Michigan are proof that backflow testing is needed. Not only for busted water lines, but for water contaminated by outside sources like industrial dumping. 

leak under a door

What does a backflow device look like?

For a home, a backflow preventer device is installed on an outside water pipe. It allows water to flow out but and keeps it from flowing back, hence the name ‘backflow preventer’. The purpose of the backflow device it prevent your home’s drinking water being contaminated from any bacteria that comes with backflowing water.  Example would be keeping your wastewater from the shower, sinks, or toilet backing up into the water coming out of your faucet. 

A  backflow preventer device consists of the following that are usually located in a green irrigation box just below the ground. Sometimes they are located in a home’s basement, crawl space, or garage. 

  • Two check valves
  • Four test ports
  • Two shut-offs 

Now, by knowing what is backflow prevention tester is and why they exist, you can rest a little easier knowing that your water is clean and safe.  Backflow prevention devices are equipped with the components we listed above and will automatically detect any abnormalities of backflow in your water.  Backflow testing devices also detect any air gaps which indicate a separation between the potable water and contaminated water via vertical air space.

Cross connections that can cause contamination that backflow testing checks are: 

  • Chemical or metal processing plants. Chemicals or metals in solution can come into contact with public water supply.
  • Commercial or residential gardening products like chemical injectors, garden hoses, and irrigation systems connected to public water supply.
  • A water hose left running in a container or planter that has fertilizer, pesticides, or other chemicals.
  • Car wash facilities that have a rinse cycle and scrubber that allowed recycled water into the public water supply.

These are incidents that rarely happen, but they do and this is why backflow testing is crucial to your business, home, families, and the general public. While cities and states do all they can to keep our drinking water safe, it is helpful to have your own water filter in place as well to catch the minute specs the big water treatment plants miss. Need help with backflow testing for your home in Fort Worth, TX? Call (817) 560-4144 today.