The Fundamentals of Backflow Testing

Understanding backflow is crucial for ensuring the integrity of your water supply. Let’s delve into the fundamentals of this essential aspect of plumbing and water management.

BACK FLOW Zurn Wilkins 34-975XL2 3/4" 975XL2 Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Preventer

1. Why choose Backflow Prevention Services?
That’s simple. We are the BEST at what we do! No one in the Cincinnati area has specialized in Backflow Prevention longer than we have. We are professionals. Since 1993 we have acquired 1000’s of satisfied customers because of our prompt appointments, courteous service and efficient administration of test results.

2. What is Backflow?
Technically, backflow is defined as the unintentional reversal of the normal direction of flow in a potable water system that may result in the pollution or contamination of the system by a liquid, gas, solids or mixtures. Simply put, backflow is anywhere “bad water” has the chance to mix with “good water”.

3. Why does the Backflow Device have to be tested yearly?
A Backflow Preventer is a mechanical device, and like any mechanical device, it will fail. Ohio Plumbing Code specifies that every backflow prevention device must be tested at least yearly to verify its operation. Failure to do so could allow a backflow event to harm people and/or property.

4. What does the Backflow Test involve?
The backflow test is fairly simple. Every testable backflow device has test ports built into it to allow yearly testing. A backflow technician will connect a test kit to the device and verify proper operation. All water downstream of the backflow device must be shut off to perform the test. We encourage our customers to use the BSI Online Tracking: to monitor the status of their test results.

5. Do I need to be home when you come to do Backflow Test?
If your device is outside, then the answer is no. Just leave us the backflow paperwork you received from the Health Dept or City and we’ll do everything else. Simple. If your device is inside, then obviously someone will need to be home to let us in. Most arrivals are within 10 minutes of scheduled appointment time so you don’t have to waste the whole day waiting.

6. What is failure rate and what are common failure modes?
Several factors influence the lifespan of a backflow device. These factors include water pressure, water quality, frequency of use and installation environment. About 5% of tested devices will have a problem. Most problems are simple and are caused by worn O-rings, cut seals or broken springs. Severe problems such as cracked castings and shattered poppets are usually caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. We offer complete repair service on any device.

7. My Backflow Device is leaking from the bottom relief port. Is it bad??
Maybe. The relief port is made to discharge water as the backflow device does its job. If it only drips occasionally or has a damp spot on the floor underneath it, it’s probably OK. However, if it is leaking constantly from relief port, then something is wrong. Call us for recommendations.

8. Can I fix it myself?
It is possible to disassemble a Backflow Device and clean it yourself, but you may not have the required parts to reassemble afterwards. Furthermore, some devices are “tricky” to work on and should be left to a professional. Consult our Disassembly Diagrams before attempting any DIY repair.

9. Why are some backflow devices installed inside and others installed outside?
It all depends on the installer and what the device is going to protect. Almost all commercial backflow preventers are inside. Backflow preventers connected to residential irrigation systems can be inside or outside; however, the current trend is to put them outside.

Inside ProInside Con
Protected from weather and low temperatures.Prone to flooding if device fails.
Hidden installation.Damage to finished basement if leaks occur.
 Testing / Repairs require homeowner to be present.
Outside ProOutside Con
Failure and/or leaks discharge to environment.Device must be removed for Winter to avoid freezing.
Testing/repairs can be done without homeowners’ presence.Device may need to be hidden behind landscaping for esthetic purposes.

10. What about payment?
We offer 30 day Net billing. We will invoice you for all work performed and any applicable Health Dept or City fees sent in with your test results.

  • For your convenience, we accept cash, check or credit cards.