backflow preventer

Backflow Prevention Testing & Installation


Are you a business owner or a residential homeowner in Allegheny County who has a backflow preventer installed? You probably receive a notice from your local water authority requiring you to have the backflow preventer tested don’t panic here is what you do. You must have a certified tester perform the test, it just so happens that I’m certified to test and repair backflow preventers. If you don’t have a backflow preventer or do and want to find out why installation and testing are necessary, continue reading.

What is a backflow preventer?

A backflow preventer quite simply is a device that stops the undesirable flow of a substance into the potable water system. Due to a reversal of the normal direction of flow caused by a (pressure differential) in the potable water piping system.

Types of backflow preventers

There are two common types of backflow preventers they are:

  • Doubled Check Valve Assembly (DCV)
  • Reduced Pressure Principle Assembly (RP)

A double check valve assembly prevents low hazard backflow occurrences, for example, water supply connections that if become contaminated would not cause illness or become life-threatening:

  • commercial/residential fire sprinkler systems without additives
  • comercial office building
  • comercial retail

A reduced pressure principle assembly is for water supply piping installations that are of a high hazard level:

  • funeral homes
  • mortuaries
  • hair salons
  • dentist offices
  • public swiming pools
  • lawn irrigation
  • boiler make-up feeds

Where is a backflow preventer installed?

  • commercial/residential boiler make-up feed lines
  • commercial/residential lawn irrigation systems
  • hose spigots
  • commercial/residential water services after meter

Do you need to install a backflow preventer ?

Every home or commercial building does not have a backflow preventer installed; however, according to the American water works association policy statement. Water Authority customers are installing backflow preventers to comply with state and federal laws. Backflow prevention is not just the water authority’s responsibility its the customers also.


A cross-connection is any actual or potential connection between the potable water supply, and any other source or sources which may be non-potable. Here are two common areas where a backflow could happen:

  1. A boiler used to heat a home or building is a potential cross connection that requires a backflow preventer to isolate the boiler water from the potable water supply. Hot water and steam boilers have rust, various kinds of sediment, along with pipe scale, and some boilers use antifreeze which is toxic and can cause serious health problems or death?
  2. Another potential cross – connection that is common in homes and some commercial buildings is lawn irrigation systems. Lawn irrigation systems not properly isolated with a backflow preventer can cause serious health problems. Lawn irrigation systems have sprinkler heads submerged below ground, which can cause backflow, of fertilizers, animal feces, and soil back into your potable drinking water. You wouldn’t want to drink that would you?

Inspection will identify any potential cross – connections

The inspection and installation of a proper backflow preventer if needed will protect your drinking water and the public drinking water from contamination. If you are unsure that you may be at backflow risk in your home or building, it would be sensible for you to have an inspection of your water supplying piping. Inspection of any potential cross – connections will prevent any actual backflow occurrence from happening.

Do not pro – long to identify and correct any possible cross-connections. Most importantly do not continue the use of any plumbing fixtures that have a potential cross connection to potable water piping. The following are examples of potential cross connections:

  • hose bibbs
  • bidets
  • commercial/residential boiler make-up feed lines
  • lawn irrigation systems
  • hairdresser sinks
  • embalming tables

Backflow prevention Installation & Testing

Inspection of your plumbing system will identify any potential cross – connections.The installation of a proper backflow preventer if needed will protect your drinking water and the public drinking water from contamination.

If you are not sure that you may be at backflow risk and have a potential cross – connection. Click here backflow prevention testing with Vince.


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