When it comes to plumbing problems, few are as scary as backflow. As the name suggests, backflow is when the water in a plumbing system flows back in the direction from which it came. Backflow occurs when an increase in downstream pressure drives water backward (called “back pressure”) or when a loss in upstream pressure causes water to drain backward (called “back siphonage”).
Backflow may not seem like a big deal at first glance. However, it can be extremely dangerous, so many modern plumbing regulations require that every plumbing system is equipped with backflow prevention devices that must be regularly tested and maintained. This article will tell homeowners and business owners everything they need to know about backflow, from why it’s so dangerous to what goes into preventing it.
The Hazards of Backflow
Backflow can be dangerous for a few reasons. For one thing, it can damage the plumbing system if foreign materials or corrosive substances back up into the supply pipes. This can result in costly repairs or fixture replacements, but it is by no means the scariest aspect of backflow.
The primary danger of backflow is the contamination of the potable water supply by harmful substances. An example from a few decades ago is residents of one small town experienced fires and explosions in their homes when a backflow event at a nearby factory caused flammable gas to enter the town’s water main.
Although that’s an extreme case, it perfectly illustrates the dangers of backflow. The results can be life-threatening if chemicals, lawn fertilizer, human waste, or other dangerous pollutants enter the clean water supply. Needless to say, it’s imperative to prevent backflow in any form. And that’s where backflow testing comes in.
What Does Backflow Testing Entail?
Backflow testing is when a qualified plumbing technician checks a plumbing system’s backflow prevention devices to ensure that they’re working properly. This typically means opening and closing valves to ensure they work properly, watching gauges for abnormal movement, checking for leaks, and inspecting the plumbing system for signs of backflow. If backflow has occurred, the technician will identify what’s causing it and make the necessary repairs.
Backflow testing should always be performed by a certified backflow tester because they have the training and certification to complete the test properly, and they will need to fill out and submit forms to the local municipal authority certifying the test results. This ensures the property is code-compliant since most local authorities require annual backflow testing from a certified tester.
Why is Backflow Testing Important?
While code compliance is important and a good reason to hire a licensed backflow tester, it only hints at the true importance of backflow testing, protecting public health. It’s bad enough if backflow contaminates a single home’s private well. However, if contaminants enter the city water main, thousands of homes could be affected in a nightmarish scenario straight out of a horror movie.
Whether it’s wastewater from a flooded sewer system, toxic chemicals from a home or business, or heavy metals from a corroded fixture, potable water contamination can lead to disease, poisoning, and long-term illness on a massive scale. So to protect themselves, their neighbors, and their property from the dangers of backflow, homeowners and business owners should contact a trusted plumbing contractor about backflow testing services and help prevent water contamination.
About Vetted HVAC Services
The trusted technicians at Vetted HVAC Services have more than 120 years of combined experience and serve Yorkton, SK residents, and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, 24-hour emergency services, and a membership plan with many perks. Call them today for backflow testing and repair in Yorkton, SK.