Backflow Prevention in Toronto & The Greater Toronto Area

Backflow Device Testing, Repair, Maintenance and Installation

As a homeowner or business owner, you may have heard of the term “backflow” from your plumber, but do you know exactly what it means?

Simply put, backflow is when the flow of water in your plumbing system is reversed, causing contaminated water to flow back into your clean water supply. To ensure the safety of your water supply, backflow prevention devices are installed to ensure water only flows in one direction. 

It’s important to note that backflow prevention devices are very different from backwater valves, which are designed to prevent sewage backups in the plumbing system. While they both serve an important function in protecting your home or business’s plumbing, they are used for different purposes and are installed in separate locations.

Backflow: Causes and Prevention

Backflow can be caused by many factors, such as a drop in water pressure in the water supply pipes, a burst in the water main, or a sudden change in water flow due to a nearby fire hydrant being opened. 

Backflow can also happen when there is a cross-connection between the clean water supply and the contaminated supply.

Signs that you may be experiencing backflow in your home or business include a sudden decrease in water pressure, discoloured water, or water with an unusual smell or taste. If you notice any of these signs, contact one of our professional plumbers immediately. Our team will assess the situation and help you resolve your plumbing issues.

The good news is backflow can be averted with a backflow prevention device. The type of device needed will depend on the building’s plumbing system and potential sources of contamination. 

For example, a double check valve assembly (DCVA) is commonly used for residential buildings while a reduced pressure principle assembly (RP) is used for commercial settings where hazardous materials may be present. 

Which properties require backflow prevention?

Under the City of Toronto’s Water Supply Bylaw and Backflow Prevention Program, properties connected to the local water supply that are classified as moderate or severe risk must have backflow protection devices installed on all connections to the local water supply. 

Some examples of moderate risk buildings include:

  • Hotels

  • Apartment buildings or residential properties with more than five units

  • Funeral homes

  • Dental clinics

  • Nursing homes

Some examples of severe risk properties include: 

  • Chemical manufacturing facilities

  • Hospitals

  • Meat processing facilities

  • Car washes

  • Wastewater treatment facilities

Depending on your property’s risk classification, you may need to install different backflow prevention devices, undergo inspections, and have various regulatory obligations. 

A breach in the Water Supply Bylaw can result in fines over $100,000, so it’s well worth your time as a business or property owner to do your due diligence in backflow prevention.

Backflow Device Testing in Toronto & GTA

Regular backflow device testing is key to assessing the effectiveness of the installed device. Hiring a reputed and licensed plumber for this process is crucial to ensure the test is done accurately and your plumbing system remains safe and effective. 

To begin the testing process, the plumber will first shut off the water supply and inspect the backflow prevention device for any visible signs of damage or wear. Then, they will attach a gauge to the device to measure the pressure and flow of water through the device. 

They will also perform a series of tests to ensure that there are no leaks or issues present. Once testing is complete, a detailed report and any necessary recommendations for repairs or replacements will be provided. This test report will also be submitted to the City of Toronto to ensure compliance with the Backflow Prevention Program.

Service Areas:

Backflow Device Testing, Repair, Maintenance and Installation

Backflow Device Testing

Hiring a reputable and licensed plumber for backflow device installation and testing is crucial. At Drain King Plumbers, our plumbers hold the required Certificate of Achievement in Cross Connection Control endorsed by the Ontario Water Works Association. 

We are trained Backflow Prevention Installers and have the necessary testing equipment to ensure your backflow device functions properly. 

Every year, our plumbers at Drain King Plumbers service hundreds of backflow prevention devices for a diverse range of customers in Toronto and the GTA. Our team takes our responsibility in this process seriously. 

With our help, you can have peace of mind knowing your backflow prevention devices are functioning properly and installed in compliance with city regulations.

Here’s what you can expect when you work with us:

  • Fair pricing and rates 

  • OWWA-certified backflow installers and testers

  • Minimal interruption to your operations

  • Accurate and efficient testing and inspection

  • Use of forms, tags, and procedures as set out by the City of Toronto and other municipalities Backflow Prevention Program

  • Submission of completed test reports on your behalf

  • Ongoing annual servicing based on future testing requirements

  • Maintenance and repair services

Frequently Asked Questions

What is backflow, and why is it a concern in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)?

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of water flow in a plumbing system, which can allow contaminants to enter the clean water supply. It is a concern in Toronto and the GTA because it poses a risk to public health and water quality. Preventing backflow is crucial to ensure the safety of our drinking water.

What are the potential sources of backflow in Toronto and the GTA?

Backflow can occur due to various reasons, including back siphonage and back pressure. Common sources include cross-connections between potable and non-potable water systems, such as irrigation systems, fire sprinkler systems, and industrial processes.

What types of backflow prevention devices are available, and how do they work?

There are several types of backflow prevention devices, including air gaps, double-check valves, reduced pressure zone devices (RPZ), and vacuum breakers. These devices work by creating a physical barrier or a pressure differential that prevents the reverse flow of water and contaminants into the clean water supply

What is the maximum height for a backflow preventer?

The maximum height for a backflow preventer typically ranges from 12 to 36 inches, depending on the specific type and local plumbing codes and regulations.

Can I perform backflow prevention device testing myself, or do I need a professional?

In most cases, backflow prevention device testing must be conducted by a certified professional with the necessary training and equipment. Attempting to test or repair these devices without the proper qualifications can lead to improper functioning and regulatory violations.