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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The following are some typical questions you may have regarding your backflow device.  If your question is not addressed here or you have further questions, please feel free to call or e-mail us.  It's important to us that you understand the necessity of backflow prevention and the services Apex Backflow provides.
 
bullet What is a backflow device and what purpose does it serve?
bullet How often does my backflow device need to be tested?
bullet What is a Reduced Pressure Backflow Prevention Device (RP)?
bullet How do you test my backflow device?
bullet What happens if my backflow device does not pass inspection tests?
bullet Will my water need to be shut off during the testing procedures?
bullet What is the difference between back pressure and back siphonage?
bullet Who is responsible for submitting my paperwork to the city or water purveyor?
bullet What kind of payment do you accept?

 
What is a backflow device and what purpose does it serve?
Back flow prevention devices ensure that water flows only in one direction - from the main line in the street, through the individual service line, and into the home or business. Without these devices, loss of pressure in the main line could allow water in the property owner's lines to drain back into the system.

Basic Backflow Preventers

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How often does my backflow device need to be tested?
Most city's and water purveyors are requiring that all backflow prevention devices be tested annually.  Mechanical backflow device's have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. Also, mechanical backflow device's can be bypassed. Therefore, all backflow device's have to be tested to ensure that they are functioning properly:  this is done by trained and certified technicians using specially calibrated gauge equipment.

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What is a Reduced Pressure Backflow Prevention Device (RP)?

The reduced pressure principle back-flow prevention device (RP) is becoming the most widely approved backflow by cities and water purveyors.  The RP is designed to protect against back pressure and back siphonage plus has a built in differential relief valve that vents to atmosphere if either check valve were to fail.  A check valve is a disc or flap that can be pushed open when water flows in the normal direction, allowing water to flow through the pipe.  But the check valve is loaded with a spring and closes when water attempts to flow in the opposite direction through the pipe.  The first check valve reduces the supply pressure a predetermined amount so that during normal flow and at cessation of normal flow the pressure between the checks shall be less than the supply pressure. In case of leakage of either check valve, the differential relief valve, by discharging to atmosphere, shall operate to maintain the pressure between the checks less than the supply pressure.  MORE INFO>>


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How do you test my backflow device?
We use a Midwest Instruments model 845-5 backflow tester specifically designed to test all major brands of reduced pressure principal backflows, double check valves and pressure vacuum breakers.

All backflow testing equipment have a unique serial number and must be calibrated annually by an approved company specializing in test equipment calibration.   Annual calibration is mandatory by the cities and water purveyors. 
 

 

Mid-West Instruments

845-5 Backflow Tester

Capable of performing all known test procedures including those recommended by ASSE, AWWA, CSA, FCCC & HR-USC and NEWWA

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What happens if my backflow device does not pass inspection tests?
If your backflow fails the inspection, we'll go over the test results with you and provide you with an itemized estimate for making the necessary repairs or corrections.  You are under no obligation to accept our repair quote.  Typically most jurisdictions have a grace period of approximately fifteen (15) days (check with your city or water purveyor though)  to correct a failed backflow device.  If Apex Backflow makes the repairs to your backflow device there is no charge for the final testing.

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Will my water need to be shut off during the testing procedures?
Most test require water shutdown usually lasting no longer than a  minute. For facilities that require an uninterrupted supply of water, and when it is not possible to provide water service from two separate meters, provisions shall be made for a .parallel installation of backflow prevention assemblies or arranging a time in the middle of the night to perform the testing.

Testing on lawn sprinkler system backflow devices normally does not affect the water supply to a home or building as they are typically on a separate meter or cross connected to the service line feeding your home or building.

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What is the difference between back pressure and back siphonage?
Back Siphonage:

Most household cross connections are created by hoses.  Under certain conditions, the flow in household water lines can reverse and siphon contaminants into the water supply.   

For example, using a garden hose to spray pesticides is normally harmless, but if the city's water supply is interrupted while you are spraying, you may have a problem.

If water main pressure is reduced due to a water main break or nearby fire fighting, a back siphonage effect is created.  This can draw water from your garden hose into your home water supply.  So if you have a pesticide or fertilizer sprayer attached to your garden hose, the chemicals can contaminate your water supply.

Back Pressure:
Your drinking water can also be contaminated by an effect called back pressure.  Back pressure results when your water supply is connected to a system under high pressure such as a hot water boiler for home heating or a portable automobile pressure washer.  Since the pressure in these devices is higher than your home water supply, water can sometimes be forced backwards.  Contaminants in these systems, such as cleaners or soaps in a pressure washer, can then enter and contaminate your drinking water supply.


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Who is responsible for submitting my paperwork into the city or water purveyor?
We are required by law to submit all test results and supporting paperwork to the city or water purveyor requesting the tests.  A copy of the test results will also be provided to the property owner upon completion as well.  We also keep all of your paper work and results in our electronic database in the event you need another copy at a later date.

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What kind of payment do you accept?
We prefer payment by check when the job is complete, but as an extra convenience we also accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Card. 

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Last modified: Wednesday January 23, 2013.

Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to Dan Simler.