Backflow Preventer Testing

Backflow Preventer Testing

The drinking water that flows from your faucet is nice, clean, and reliable – unless you start to suffer a serious case of backflow, which can contaminate your water supply. Your home plumbing system is generally well protected by a backflow preventer, such as a Pressurized Vacuum Breaker, however this device requires regular testing.

In fact, the State of New Jersey requires mandatory backflow preventer inspections to be done every year by a licensed backflow preventer specialist. If you are caught having failed to comply with these mandatory inspections, you will be charged with hefty noncompliance fines.

Thankfully, we at Wetscape offer backflow preventer testing for a nominal fee, and can fit in your annual backflow inspection at your earliest convenience.

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What is Backflow?

Backflow is the flow of non-potable water into the home water supply. This can lead to contamination of your home’s water supply, which is a critical health risk for you and your family.

A household generally has a single water system that supplies drinking water, household use water, and irrigation water, which means there is always a slight risk of cross-connection contamination. There are roughly 10,000 reported backflow contaminations every year and many more that go undiscovered, leading to sickness and even death.

Why Your Backflow Preventer Needs Annual Testing

Backflow preventers such as a pressure vacuum breaker can help protect a home’s plumbing system from backflow. This breaker is made up of a check device and an air inlet, and it must be installed higher than every other point in a system.

However backflow preventers can occasionally malfunction and stop working properly, which puts all of the potable water in your water system at risk. Lawn sprinklers and irrigation are a common source of backflow contamination, but these can also be installed in washing machines, swimming pools, dishwashers, and other sources of contaminated water.

There are a variety of reasons why your pressure vacuum breaker might begin to fail over the year. One reason is from freezing during the winter months. If a pressure vacuum breaker or PVB isn’t drained during a sprinkler blowout, the PVB might break or crack on the inside, thus allowing for the possibility of backflow. 

What to Expect During Backflow Preventer Testing

After partnering with your chosen licensed and professional backflow inspector, the certified plumber should first shut off the downstream valve before testing the system’s pressure with a testing hose. Essentially, the inspector needs to check if there are areas where the pressure is irregular.

Your Questions, Our Answers

Q: Do I need to have my PVB tested?

A: Yes. In the State of New Jersey, it is required by law that you have an annual PVB testing. If it is discovered that you haven’t had your PVB tested in over a year, you will be charged with hefty noncompliance fines.

Q: How long will the testing take?

A: Not long. Depending on the type of device and the speed of your licensed inspector or plumber, this testing should take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes per backflow preventer device. Set up actually takes longer than the actual test.

Q: Is backflow testing costly?

A: Not at all! And certainly not more than you would pay in fines otherwise.

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