When Do You Need Backflow Certification?

Backflow certification is sometimes an important part of protecting your home's drinking water. 

What Is Backflow Protection?

Backflow protection usually comes in the form of a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve that is installed in your home by a plumber. The valve prevents contaminated water from flowing into your plumbing system. 

When Is an RPZ Valve Needed?

Certain conditions make it more likely that your home water will get contaminated by outside sources. 

Fire Suppression Systems: Fire suppression systems can contain chemicals that are used to help stop fires from spreading. Additionally, water can sit in certain fire suppression systems (such as sprinklers) indefinitely, making it a likely place for bacteria to grow or pipe erosion to occur. You don't want any of this in your water supply. 

Irrigation: If your plumbing system is hooked up to an irrigation system, there may be a lot of chemicals involved in irrigation. These can sometimes flow backwards, through the pipes, and into your residential plumbing. Without a backflow device, you could be consuming agricultural chemicals. 

Boilers: If you have a boiler, an RPZ device is also recommended. Water can sit in the boiler for long periods of time, leading to water contamination from bacteria or minerals. 

How Does the RPZ Device Work?

A reduced pressure zone device is meant to detect changes in water pressure. .Any time water pressure drops near the valve, the valve will open. It will force a certain amount of water back through the pipes. This is to flush out any potentially contaminated water that got through the valve. 

Consider a situation where there is more force in the irrigation system than in the residential plumbing system. That force would otherwise push some contaminants into the residential water supply. The RPZ device separates the two water systems and ensures that contaminated water is flushed away from the residential piping system whenever a pressure change occurs. 

Backflow Certification

When you get backflow certification, you simply have a professional verify that your RPZ device is working correctly. They may check the repair state of the device itself, make sure it is installed properly, or test the water to ensure that there are no chemicals or bacteria strains present in the water. If any problems are found, you'll have a qualified technician check on your RPZ device and fix the problems. Then you'll test again. 

If you are not sure whether you need backflow certification, it is always best to be on the safe side. With something as important as water safety, you probably want to err on the cautious side. Contact a service, like Silverdale Plumbing & Heating Inc, for more help.