Why Do I Need a Backflow Device?

We receive many calls each year from clients asking why do I need a backflow device and most importantly, why do I have to have it tested yearly. These two shared questions are truly great questions that have a very serious answer. Before directly answering, lets discuss what a backflow device is and why it is needed in many situations.

A backflow prevention device, either a DCV (double check valve) or PRZ (reduced pressure zone), is used to protect potable water supplies from contamination or pollution due to backflow. In simpler words: A valve installed on your water piping will protect the public drinking water supply from hazards that exists in many homes and buildings.

Now you may be disinctive as to what hazards may exist on your character or inside your home. The list to answer that question is endless, but here are a few examples:

1. Lets say you have a swimming pool or hot tub. You likely fill up water evaporation with a garden hose. You place the garden hose in the pool or spa and turn on the hose faucet. Seems harmless right? Wrong! Why do you ask? Let’s say while you are filling up the pool or spa, you go inside to take care of other things and the water department or fire department come along and open up a fire hydrant down the block or around the corner. Guess what happens? That sudden use of the fire hydrant will cause the pressure to weaken in the neighborhood and cause the hose to act like a siphon consequently sucking chlorinated pool or spa water into the hose, into your home and then into the public drinking water. If a backflow device was installed on the hose faucet or water main the backflow would of been prevented and saved countless illnesses and already death.

Lets say the chlorinated water entering the potable water system wasn’t bad enough… heres another example.

2. You have a sprinkler system installed to irrigate your lawn. You use chemicals and fertlizer to make your grass green and weed free as possible. Let’s say one or two sprinkler heads are not perfect and sit down below the ground an inch. Where that sprinkler head rests below the ground, water pools around the head. This water isn’t clean drinking water. The pooling water is polluted with lawn chemicals. Are you nevertheless following me? Great! Three blocks away, the water main breaks in the street and everyone loses water pressure. Guess what happened to that water hanging around the recessed sprinkler head?

Annual testing of your backflow device is a requirement of the State of New York Department of Health. Testing proves that the possibility of backflow will not occur. Like anything man-made, things are unprotected to failure and will fail ultimately. If your backflow device fails annual testing you are required to have the device repaired or replaced closest or you will have to turn off the water supply.

On Long Island and NYC Pipe Doctor has New York State Certified Backflow Testers on staff. We manager all the logistics in testing. We will submit original copies of the paperwork to Albany and the Water District. If you received notification that you are in violation, call us asap. Do not wait until the last day because you will be fined and have your water service disconnected.

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