What Is Backflow Water Testing? 

Almost universally, single-family residences and industrial properties are exempt from backflow water testing requirements. However, most multi-family residential properties are required to have backflow prevention devices installed and must test them annually. These devices are designed to prevent contaminated water from flowing backward into the clean water supply. 

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Backflow water testing is an essential health precaution to protect the public’s drinking water. Backflowing water can carry harmful bacteria, which can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses such as diarrhea, nausea, fever, and vomiting. Aside from fecal contamination, other contaminants can also enter the water supply through backflow. These contaminants include compounds like herbicides, insecticides, and noxious chemicals. These contaminants can lead to illnesses such as breast cancer and liver cancer. 

Backflow prevention devices are designed to work automatically in the event of a backflow. For example, a backflow prevention device has built-in ports and check valves to prevent contaminated water from flowing backward. Backflow prevention devices should be tested annually to ensure they are working properly. If they are not, repairs or an overhaul may be necessary. 

Backflow prevention devices are typically tested by licensed plumbers. However, if you do not have a plumber, you can hire an inspector to check your device. They will inspect the backflow prevention device’s valves and air gaps. In addition, the tester will check the pressure in the valves. The pressure between the check valves must be less than three PSI below the inlet device. The test will also check for irregularities. 

The backflow water test is required by a number of state regulations. Some of them require an annual test for commercial properties, while others require backflow testing at least once a year for industrial buildings. The cost of testing varies between $35 and $75 for the average homeowner. For a commercial building, backflow water testing costs $150. 

The testing process usually takes about 30 minutes. A licensed plumber will take pressure measurements and make sure the backflow prevention device is functioning properly. In addition, the plumber will check for other signs of damage. The plumber will also record the model number, serial number, and size of the backflow prevention device. The plumber will also note any changes in the pressure in the valves. A stamped copy of the backflow test report will be mailed to you. 

Backflow water testing requires the use of relief valves and gate valves to keep contaminated water from entering the water supply. However, these valves need to be open before a certain pressure differential occurs. If the pressure between the check valves is less than three PSI below the inlet valve, the device will be considered in working order. 

In addition to backflow water testing, a variety of other conditions can affect the plumbing system, such as a line break, fire extinguisher, and pump failure. If these problems occur, they may result in a loss of pressure in the water system, causing contaminated water to backflow. In addition, a water system can be damaged if it is not maintained.