Backflow preventors are complex systems required for many commercial buildings. At M&E Plumbing, we offer backflow prevention services including installation, repair, and annual testing.
How a Backflow Prevention Device Works
A backflow prevention device contains two check valves, providing you with two layers of protection.
When water is coming out of your building, the pressure pushes the check valve open, allowing the water to be released. If water tries to flow in the wrong direction, back in the building, the valve closes.
This prevents contaminated dirty water from getting into your fresh water supply.
There are two different main types of commercial testable backflow prevent devices – a reduced pressure zone backflow device and a double check backflow device.
Why Your Commercial Business Needs a Backflow Preventor
Your business needs a backflow preventor to stop water from going in the wrong direction through cross-connections. It stops harmful non-potable water, with chemical and bacteria, from entering the portal water pipes and water supply.
Why Backflow Occurs
Backflow situations because of backsiphonage or backpressure.
- Back siphonage is when there is negative pressure in your water distribution system. THe negative pressure can cause water from a private water system to be pulled into the public water system. This can happen because of a water main leak. This can also happen due to high sudden water withdrawal rate, such as when the fire department is fighting a fire. .
- Back pressure is when the pressure inside your property’s plumbing system exceeds the pressure in the water distribution lines. This often happens in businesses with pressurized systems, such as:
- Chemical feed pumps
- Recirculating systems
- Elevated tanks
Types of Business that Need a Backflow Preventer
Different types of businesses may be required to have a backflow preventer system based on state rules and municipality requirements, including the following business types:
- Beauty and nail salons
- Car washes
- Dry cleaners
- Churches with baptismal pools
- Funeral homes
- Medical offices
- Multi-tenant retail space
- Commercial buildings three stories or taller
- Commercial space with a dedicated sprinkler system
- Commercial space with a dedicated fire service line
Cities determine if a business has a backflow hazard by evaluating how a company uses water, what type of equipment or appliances use water in the building, and the kind of business.
Annual Backflow Testing
An annual backflow prevention test is required to ensure the community water supply stays safe and is protected should a backflow event occur. Commercial and industrial properties are required to have a yearly backflow inspection.
How Long a Backflow Prevention Test Takes
The length of time a backflow prevent take depends upon the size of your building, and the type of backflow device you have. Lots of testing and documentation occurs during the test. Generally, you should allow for a few hours for the testing.
If any issues are found with the device, the test can take longer.
When the Test is Performed
By law, the test has ot occur during regular business hours, when your business is operating normally.
This is so the test occurs and measures normal water consumption, not the reduced water consumption that occurs after-hours. Your business needs to be open when the test occurs.
Prepare for Water Shut Off
During the test, your water will be turned off for a few hours. Turning off your water allows for the simulation of a backflow pressure event. Be prepared for your water to be turned off during the test.
Failing a Test
If you fail a test, that means that your backflow prevention system needs to be overhauled, repaired, or replaced. This has to happen within a set time frame, and then a new backflow prevention test must occur.
Need an annual backflow test? Call M&E Plumbing and schedule your annual backflow prevention test today. We are a certified backflow testers.
Signs of a Broken Backflow Valve
Backflow valves are important parts of both plumbing and fire suppression systems. They should be tested, repaired, and/or replaced annually. Replacing a value before it fails can help you avoid a major plumbing issue.
How do you know if you have a broken backflow valve on your commercial property? There are a few strong warning signs you need to watch for.
Sign #1: Leaks
Occasionally check the valve, and make sure that water isn’t water visibly leaking from the valve. Rust and corrosion around the relief valve are another sign of an internal leak.
When the backflow valve is in a static state and you see a leak, the first check valve inside is compromised. A leak means the second check valve inside is compromised when the valve is in backpressure condition.
A compromised check valve is often caused by stuck debris or a worn seal.
Sign #2: Frequent Cycling
If you notice that the backflow relief valve is cycling on and off more often than usual, that is a common sign of a failing valve. When the valve starts to fail, the system will cycle on and off more frequently to keep the water pressure in check.
Sign #3: Valve Not Closing
If the valve isn’t closing properly, that is an issue you need to address immediately. An improperly closing valve means that contaminated water can get into your company’s clean water supply.
Sign #4: Poor Water Quality
Does your water taste weird? Does it have a strange coloring? If something doesnt’ look or feel right with your water, get the backflow preventer inspected and repaired immediate.
Sign #5: Slow Drainage
When the backflow valve is broken, water gets trapped and doesn’t move as it should. That can cause water to push through other fixtures and drains in your building. It can also result in slow drainage.
If you notice any of the five signs above in your commercial building, schedule a backflow prevention inspection right away.
Commercial Backflow Services Near You in Grundy, Kendall, & Will Counties
Need a certified plumber to conduct your annual backflow inspection? Need a new backflow device installed?
M&E Plumbing can take care of all your commercial backflow service needs.
M&E Plumbing provides commercial backflow services to Grundy, Kendall, & Will Counties
Call us at 815-600-9215, or use our service request form to arrange a service call.