backflow prevention inspection

What you should know about backflow prevention inspections

Backflows occur when non-potable water is forced back into the system, potentially mixing with clean water and presenting a serious health hazard. Preventing them is therefore very important, and it’s why backflow prevention devices need to be inspected at least once a year.  

Types of prevention devices

There are two main types of backflow preventers: reduced pressure principle devices and double check valves. Both of these rely on a physical component that’ll prevent the backflow from entering the system, thus stopping dirty water from flowing back in.


If you aren’t sure whether you have backflow preventers, or if you need them, simply ask your plumber to check the pressure inside your pipes. This will indicate whether you’re at risk for backflow.


Before the inspection

The first thing to do is find a plumber that has experience with backflow testing. This is especially important in areas like Vancouver, where many residential and commercial properties are required to have backflow prevention. Without these safeguards in place, sewage could be released into the municipal water supply. A certified plumber can perform the inspection, fix any issues and submit a report to the city.


In particular, businesses that have irrigation systems, water outlets located near contaminants and machinery that connects to water mains have to perform regular tests, as they present a higher risk to the safety of the water supply.


During the inspection

The plumber will start by shutting off the downstream valve and then connecting a test kit. This allows them to confirm whether the pressure inside the system conforms to guidelines and is likely to cause a backflow. The test itself is fairly quick and will either confirm everything is working properly or indicate that further investigation is required.


After the inspection

If a problem is found, you’ll have to get the plumber to repair or replace your existing backflow prevention device. Keep in mind that replacing a faulty prevention device is likely to be much cheaper than fixing the consequences of a massive backflow, which can cause serious water damage and put your health and that of your family, employees and clients at risk.


A reliable plumbing company

Hillcrest Plumbing and Heating provides a full range of plumbing services to residential and commercial clients in the Vancouver area. Whether you need help with an emergency or would like to set up an inspection, contact us today.

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