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 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.
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:
Apartment buildings or residential properties with more than five units
Some examples of severe risk properties include:
Chemical manufacturing facilities
Meat processing facilities
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.
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.
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