clarksburg plumbing blog

Let's Flow

Getting Answers On Backflow Preventer Frequently Asked Questions From A Plumber Near Me | Gaithersburg, MD

Getting Answers On Backflow Preventer Frequently Asked Questions From A Plumber Near Me | Gaithersburg, MD

Backflow is a problem that affects many homes and commercial establishments. Imagine waking up one morning to a stench of greywater all over your carpets. That greywater could flow back from your sewer system, and yes, it could result in various sanitation-related issues for your home. Therefore, you should have a plumber near me in Gaithersburg, MD install a backflow preventer to ensure that such doesn’t happen. If you own a commercial establishment, failure to install one could see the local authority heavily fine you and even close your business. Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t even know what backflow preventers are. To clear the air around backflow preventers, below are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

What Is a Backflow Prevention Device (BPD)?

Also called a backflow preventer, a BPD refers to a device installed in the water pipes of your home or commercial establishment to allow the water to flow in one direction and NEVER in the reverse direction. The primary role of a backflow prevention device is to prevent drinking water from any contamination caused by backflow. Hence, you should have a plumber near me install the device on your home, restaurant, rental apartments, or other commercial establishments to protect your family and customers.

What Are the Two Types of Backflow?

Backflow exists in two types, back-siphonage and back pressure. Back-siphonage is the backflow caused by negative pressure in public or consumer portable water systems. Back siphonage has a similar effect to drinking juice through a straw. This type of backflow can arise when the water supply stops because of a break in the water main or firefighting nearby. On The Other hand, backpressure backflow in public water systems or a customer’s potable water system is backflow brought on by a downstream pressure greater than the supply or upstream pressure.

Back pressure, or downstream pressure, which is higher than the pressure of the potable water supply, can be caused by a rise in downstream pressure, a decrease in the pressure of the potable water supply, or a combination of the two. Pumps, boiler temperature rises, and other factors can all lead to increases in downstream pressure. When more water is consumed than is being supplied, like flushing water lines, fighting fires, or when water mains break, the pressure of the potable water supply is reduced. Fortunately, the two can be prevented by having a plumber near me in Gaithersburg, MD install a BPD.

What’s a Cross-Connection?

This direct pipeline arrangement allows a connection of a portable water supply to another line that might contain a contaminant. A good example of this is the garden hose that is attached to a sill cock while one end of the hose lies in a cesspool.

What Are Atmospheric Vacuum Breakers?

A check valve and an atmospheric vent are the most common atmospheric vacuum breakers. The operation of this backflow preventer relies on the potable water supply for sealing off its atmospheric vent, supplying water to the downstream equipment. Whenever a negative pressure forms within the supply line, the check valve drops, sealing the opening, and the atmospheric vent opens, allowing the air in, and breaking the vacuum. A plumber near me can install these BPDs near me only on connections to non-portable systems where there is no backpressure. They are, in most instances, installed on the discharging side of the control valve at the tail end. However, this BPD cannot be used under continuous pressure.

Can Installing an Anti-Siphon Vacuum Breaker Prevent a Backpressure?

No! If the downstream pressure increases over the pressure on the supply side, the check valve starts “modulating.” Thus, it permits the backflow of contaminated water that passes via the opening into your portable supply line. Have you noticed a backflow even after installing an anti-siphon breaker? Then have a plumber near me check for the system for backpressure backflow.

What Is a Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly?

A reduced pressure backflow assembly or a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) is the market’s most dependable and safest backflow preventer. It’s also among the most expensive and complex to maintain or install. Hence, homeowners are recommended to hire a plumber near me to install this BPD. They should also consider the merits and demerits of this device carefully.

A reduced pressure zone usually consists of an inlet shutoff valve, an outlet shutoff valve, and four test valves. It also features a pressure differential release valve which separates 2 dependent spring-loaded check valves. An RPZ also has mechanically independent relief valves to ensure a low-pressure zone between the check valves. Hence, you should ensure that these valves are always operational and efficiently functioning by having a plumber near me regularly service the BPD.

RPZs can be installed in different configurations. For instance, the above-surface installation allows for a highly compact installation to save space, while underground installations are straight and in line. Normally, the RPZ installation must be horizontal. However, some assemblies can be specially configured for a vertical installation. Just like double-checking valve assemblies, RPZs require clearance below for maintenance purposes. When a plumber near me in Gaithersburg, MD installs a reduced pressure zone, you can be assured that your water sources will be protected against chemigation backflow. They can be used in both high and low-hazard scenarios and protect against back pressure and siphonage.

How Often Should You Have Your Backflow Preventer Tested?

The period after which a plumber near me should test a backflow preventer near me depends on its type. For instance, a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) assembly is used in commercial facilities and requires much maintenance. They should be tested annually. On the other hand, a double-check valve (DCV) assembly, also used in commercial settings, doesn’t require much maintenance. These BPDs should be tested at least once every three years.

Contact Us!

Do you have any further questions regarding backflows and backflow preventers? Don’t hesitate to call us at Clarksburg Plumbing for more information.

See our previous post here!

Photo By Kittisak Kaewchalun  at istock

Trust the Plumbers that Treat You Like Family

More articles

February Plumbing Tips: Keeping Your Home Safe and Comfortable
As February unfolds, it’s essential to ensure that your plumbing system remains in top condition to withstand the challenges of winter and prepare for the ...
Read Full Post
Unraveling the Mystery: A Guide to Snaking Drain Lines in Plumbing
Blocked drains are a nuisance no one wants to deal with. Whether it’s a slow-draining sink, a backed-up shower, or a clogged toilet, plumbing blockages ...
Read Full Post
Unblocking the Flow: The Importance of Snaking Drain Lines in Plumbing
Drain lines are the unsung heroes of our plumbing systems, quietly whisking away wastewater and keeping our homes and businesses clean and functional. Yet, when ...
Read Full Post