Points at which a potable water system connects with a non-potable water system are called cross connections. Backflow is the reverse flow of non-potable water, gases or solid material into potable water supply. Common areas of cross connection include irrigation systems, swimming pools and hot tubs.
Potable water, or drinking water, flows in one direction, so when a backflow occurs the water flows back into the potable supply and can contain possible contaminates that will affect your homes drinking water.
Backflows can occur due to changes in pressure when the potable water system is connected to other systems operating at a higher pressure, such as water pumps, boilers and in elevated buildings. A backsiphonage is another way in which a backflow of water can occur and is caused by a drop or loss of pressure. This can happen by an open fire hydrant, water (and sewer) main breaks and system maintenance.
The solution to keeping your drinking water safe, whether at your business (where they are required by code) or in residential settings, where irrigation and pool systems are present, is with a certified backflow assembly or backflow preventer.
The backflow assembly is a complex system, but at the basic level is uses a one-way valve (check valve) to ensure water flows in one direction, and when no supply is present, the valve remains closed keeping the downstream water from passing into the water supply. There are varying levels of sophistication in backflow preventers depending on the application and needs, but they all work to keep our water supply safe.
Because of their basic function, safety, backflow preventers are regulated by the city. All backflows are required to be maintained and tested on an annual basis. The city can, and will, turn water off to a residence or business if their backflow is not tested by a certified backflow tester or if it fails and is not repaired or replaced. Each backflow tester is required to use specially calibrated equipment, and keep all certifications up to date and all documentation is to be written on every test form.
At Bill Howe, our trained plumbers are also certified in backflow repairs and testing in San Diego. We make it easy and take care of all the testing paperwork, and send it in to the city for our customers.
If you have received your annual test requirement form the city, or perhaps have received a second notice, call 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469) today. Testing can be scheduled quickly, and if you need repairs, our San Diego plumbers are all highly trained in all backflow needs.
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