What is backflow?
Backflow is the reverse flow of water through clean water lines. It can be a serious health hazard, as it can contain sewage, fertilizers, chemicals, and other contaminants. When water is siphoned into the drinking water from spinkler systems, pools or factories it can cause health issues for you and your neighbors. This is why the State of Michigan takes backflow testing so seriously and local cities and associations often require the tests on a regular basis.
What causes backflow?
Backflow is caused by either back pressure or back siphonage.
Back pressure is when the pressure in the system rises above the supply pressure. For example, when a boiler heats up, the pressure inside the boiler can rise above the water supply pressure and will back up into the water supply line if there is no backflow prevention device on the boiler.
Back siphonage is when the water supply pressure drops lower than the system pressure, creating a vacuum in the system and drawing water backward. This can occur during a water main break or when a fire hydrant is flowing.
Why is backflow testing important?
Backflow can happen in multiple places throughout your home (like in the boiler example above), so sometimes the backflow prevention devices you already have in place aren't enough to sufficiently protect your clean water supply. In addition, your existing backflow preventers, such as RPZ (reduced pressure zone) valves, are mechanical devices with internal seals and moving parts, and they can wear out over time just like any other mechanical device. So even if you've never had problems with backflow in the past, getting your backflow devices tested is still a good idea. You don't ever want to risk getting traces of sewage or dangerous chemicals in your drinking water.
Can any plumber test a backflow device?
No. In order to properly test a backflow device you have to be ASSE certified in the State Of Michigan and have the proper testing equipment. It is also important to make sure you are working with a company that has their equipment annually calibrated to ensure an accurate reading.
To ensure your drinking water is 100% safe from backflow, call Universal Plumbing at 586-459-0040 and we will conduct a thorough test of your backflow prevention systems. Our master plumber is certified in backflow and RPZ testing and uses top-of-the-line testing equipment, and if any problem is found, we will recommend a personalized solution that works best for your system. You'll be able to rest assured that the health of your home or business (and the people in it) is completely protected, even in emergency situations.