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What is Backflow Testing?

Jan 21, 2020

The plumbing system of a suburban home with numerous red gate vales and metal pipes.

There’s a lot that goes on in your home’s plumbing system that you might not be aware of. Something like backflow testing might sound complicated, but it’s crucial to maintaining your system.

Water typically runs through your plumbing system in one direction. However, when the pressure is poorly maintained, it runs the risk of allowing water to flow the wrong direction. When this happens, the water flows backwards into the water system and increases the risk of contamination. Backflow testing is a way to monitor your system in order to maintain the purity of the water and prevent backflow from occurring.

What is Backflow Testing?

This process is used to test the drinking water in your plumbing system to be sure it is free of contamination from dirty water flowing back into the water supply. When your plumbing system is well maintained, the water in your home is kept at a standard pressure level to keep the water flowing consistently in the same direction, which keeps it clean.

However, it is possible for your pipes to be subjected to a drop in pressure which can cause some problems. This can be due to freezing or bursting pipes, a high demand of water in the pipes, poor maintenance, or other plumbing emergencies. This change in pressure can result in backflow: contaminated water entering the system and polluting drinking water.

This naturally leads to the question: how do you prevent backflow? Luckily, there are backflow prevention devices designed to protect you and your home from pollutants. The key is to test these devices every so often to ensure they’re in working order in the event of a backflow occurrence.

Why is Backflow Testing Important?

While there are backflow prevention devices built into your plumbing system to help protect you from backflow, these devices can fail. Backflow testing serves as an extra precaution by helping ensure your water is pollutant-free.

Since you won’t know whether or not your backflow prevention device is working until it’s needed, it’s important to have your system tested every year. This should become a regular part of your maintenance routine for your home since the purity of your drinking and bathing water is so important. Making sure the water you and your family drinks and cleans with is safe should be high on your priority list.

What to Expect from Backflow Testing

So what is backflow testing? What exactly happens during a backflow test? When getting an inspection, be sure you only partner with a licensed, professional technician who is experienced in your area. You want to be sure you have a plumber you can trust during inspections, as well as during serious emergency plumbing situations.

The licensed technician will perform an inspection and backflow test on your system in order to be sure the water is running in the correct direction. When testing your system for backflow, a backflow certified plumber should turn off the downstream shut-off valve and then wait a few minutes before testing the pressure in the system with a test kit and hoses.

The technician will be looking for areas within the plumbing system where pressure exceeds or fails to meet the standard. The cost of this service varies by location, but don’t just go with the cheapest option. Be sure you choose a company with your best interests at heart in order to prevent contaminants like pesticides, fertilizers, or even animal feces from entering your water system. Your technician should be able to answer your backflow questions, such as how do you prevent backflow, what to do in situations of backflow, and so on.

Need to Get Your Backflow Device Tested?

If you have more questions about how to prevent backflow, what’s involved in a backflow test, or what to do if you suspect backflow, feel free to ask! Don’t hesitate to call in a professional when you need help.

Our 5-Star Technicians have handled every plumbing emergency imaginable, so you can trust your home is in good hands. Call 703-372-9359 to speak with one of our plumbing experts or schedule a service appointment online today.


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