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How Is Backflow Testing Performed?

Backflow prevention and testing must be performed at residential buildings, restaurants, and commercial businesses. Annual backflow testing is required by Houston and the state of Texas. Backflow is the reversal of contaminated water, which can then flow into clean water lines. It may contain human waste, dirt, chemicals, bacteria, and other hazardous materials. You can therefore see why backflow testing is so important.

A device called a backflow preventer can stop backflow in the event of a significant change in pressure, which can happen at any cross-connection or if a water main breaks. Proper installation and testing ensure it works as designed. Failing to test your backflow prevention device on time can result in a fine or having your water supply turned off.

What Does a Technician Look for During Backflow Testing?

A backflow assembly usually has a check valve, which maintains the pressure needed to hold back wastewater. To pass an inspection, the valve must hold a minimum pressure. The inspector will also test the relief valves to ensure they open before the system reaches a certain pressure differential. A set of springs is contained within the assembly as well and must function properly for the device to work.

If the device does not meet minimum operating standards, it must be repaired as soon as possible.

Backflow Testing Process

To test your backflow prevention device, a licensed plumber will:

  • Shut off the Water Supply: They’ll get your permission to turn off the water. No one on the property will be able to use water until the testing is completed. The technician will then inspect the device visually and record the manufacturer, model, size, location, and serial number.
  • The Downstream Shut-Off Valve Is Turned Off: If the unit is a reduced pressure principle device, the plumber will wait a few minutes before hooking up the test hoses. If water still pours from the valve, it must be serviced. Double check valves often release water at this point.
  • Water Taps Are Run: The technician will turn on the water and run several taps at once. Water should be trying to run backward; if the relief valve opens, it is faulty and needs to be replaced. A gauge is used to test the water pressure inside the valve. Rising pressure means a new one must be installed.

During the testing process, the plumber will verify that the check valves prevent backflow, air ports open when they’re supposed to, and relief valves open before the pressure between the check valves is too low compared to that at the inlet device.

You don’t need to prepare for a backflow test. In almost all cases, the backflow preventer is located outside the home. Backflow testing generally takes just 20 to 30 minutes.

After the test, the contractor will return to tag the device or schedule repairs if necessary. You’ll also receive a copy of the backflow testing report.

Has Your Backflow Preventer Been Tested?

The device should have a small tag on it, which must not be removed. This tag includes a date that identifies when the unit was last tested. Any home, business, or property owner must schedule an annual backflow test before the due date. Since plumbing contractors are often booked in advance, schedule your appointment well ahead of time. Call a contractor immediately if the date is expired or there’s no tag.

Schedule Backflow Testing with Village Plumbing and Air

Our team works to prevent drinking water contamination throughout Houston. Contaminated water should never be used for drinking, cleaning, or bathing. We install backflow preventers to ensure water flows in only one direction. To schedule backflow testing, call 713-526-1491 today.

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