Backflow refers to the undesirable flow reversal of nonpotable (non-drinking quality) water or other substances into the piping of a public water system or consumer potable water system. The reversal usually flows through a cross-connection in the piping, which is the point of interest in backflow prevention and testing.
One type of backflow is known as ‘backpressure’, which results from higher system pressure that is caused by thermal expansion or another variety of factors. Conversely, lower system pressure that occurs when a supply is interrupted causes another type of backflow known as ‘back siphonage’.
Given the serious health hazards that may arise from backflow (Category 5 backflow may contain human waste and poses serious risk to the water mainstream), in 1991 New York City began requiring building owners to install Backflow Prevention Devices. And since the device’s valve is open most of the time to allow for regular flow, dirt and debris may get in and cause a malfunction when the system is needed most. In addition to having a backflow preventer installed, your responsibility is therefore to have it inspected and tested annually, and have it maintained in good working order.
A backflow preventer device does not allow the water pressure from your building to flow back into the mainstream. The preventer is situated at the point where water enters your building, and acts like a one-way valve that only allows inward flow.
The NYC DOB and DEP take public health very seriously, and require backflow prevention devices to be installed properly and tested annually by qualified, certified professionals. The many regulatory codes vary from city to city, and you should always choose a professional service provider such as Certified Backflow.
In most cases, water service is interrupted for just 5-10 minutes. This allows proper service of your backflow preventer. In the rare event that a serious issue is identified, it may be necessary to interrupt water until repairs are performed.
If your backflow preventer fails the annual test, a repair or replacement may be necessary. The professionals at Certified Backflow can perform both quickly, helping you preempt any violation notices or fines. Best of all, we offer same-day and even emergency service appointments to minimize inconvenience to you and residents.
In addition to the annual test, your backflow preventer must be tested immediately following installation as well as after any servicing. Why? The internal seals, springs and moving parts in mechanical backflow preventers can suffer from wear or fatigue, and backflow preventers that operate with air gaps can be subject to bypass.
Absolutely! As part of the cutting-edge technologies we use at Certified Backflow, we maintain a cloud-based database of the backflow preventers under our care. This database delivers automatic testing reminders right to your phone or inbox. We use the same advanced system to keep you in the loop with constant updates whenever we install, service or replace your backflow preventer.