All property owners in Orange have a critical need to ensure the quality of their drinking water. One of the lesser-known but very real threats to your drinking water quality is backflow, a phenomenon that occurs when contaminated water not intended for human consumption accidentally enters your drinking water supply. The standard method of preventing a backflow situation is the installation of an approved backflow prevention device. The plumbing experts at Biard & Crockett have more than 25 of experience installing, testing and repairing these important devices. Count on us to help you meet all of your home and commercial backflow prevention goals.
Understanding How Water Backflow Works in Orange
A backflow situation can occur at any point in a household in Orange, where your drinking water supply intersects with (or even potentially intersects with) non-drinkable water. For most people, the likeliest intersection point is an irrigation system that feeds water to a yard or garden. Backflow situations can also occur if a water main breaks in your area, or if firefighters draw large amounts of water from a hydrant in your area. There are two main underlying sources of backflow: backpressure and backsiphonage.
A backpressure event occurs when the downstream water pressure in your area in Orange rises higher than the upstream water pressure in your system. Basically, this reversal of pressure causes non-drinkable water to flow into your water supply. In some cases, backpressure situations arise when the pressure of your drinking water drops unexpectedly. For example, flushing of a waterline may cause a temporary drop in your drinking water pressure that leads to a backflow of undrinkable water that’s at its normal pressure level. In other cases, backpressure develops when downstream pressure increases unexpectedly. For example, a pump installed to increase the efficiency of an irrigation system may produce too much downstream pressure and push contaminated water into your drinking water supply.
Backsiphonage situations occur when a partial vacuum or complete vacuum develops in your Orange area’s water supply. Essentially, contaminated water (from sources such as nearby washing machines or general use water tanks) rushes in to fill this vacuum and finds its way into your drinking water supply. For example, a water main break can produce backsiphonage when the vacuum left behind in a drinking water line is filled by undrinkable water in a manner similar to a person sucking water through a straw.
Types of Backflow Prevention Devices
All backflow prevention devices work by blocking the connection points between your household drinking water and potential sources of water contamination. There are several types of these devices, each of which has a use in certain situations. Main examples include:
- Atmospheric Vacuum Breakers – This simple type of outdoor backflow prevention device stops backsiphonage with a check valve that shuts down a single connection point between your home and a sprinkler system when water pressure drops too low.
- Pressure Vacuum Breakers – This relatively simple type of outdoor device prevents backsiphonage with a check valve that completely shuts down all of the connection points between your home and a sprinkler system when water pressure drops too low.
- Double Check Valves – This type of inline device, which sits underground or in your basement, is used for underground sprinkler systems. It relies on a series of two independent, spring-loaded check valves to stop backpressure and backsiphonage, but can’t reliably screen out pesticides or other hazardous chemicals.
- Reduced Pressure Zone Assemblies – This is a complicated, very high-quality device used to prevent backpressure and backsiphonage in commercial properties.
In Orange, plumbing codes require the strict separation of drinking water and irrigation systems. Your water provider will determine which type of backflow prevention device you must install on your property to protect your drinking water from contamination. Once you know the type of device you need, the experts at Biard & Crockett can help you determine the right manufacturer and model within that type, then perform a top-quality installation that meets all standards and regulations.
Testing Backflow Prevention Devices
The separation of drinking water from other water sources is crucial not just to your household, but to the public in general. For this reason, public health officials and safety officials have passed a wide range of laws designed to protect local and regional drinking water. In Orange County, an agency called the Environmental Health Division mandates the annual testing of all backflow prevention devices. Only a person certified by this agency can conduct a backflow prevention device test.
The professionals at Biard & Crockett in Orange have passed the stringent certification requirements for testing backflow prevention devices in Orange County. That means that when you call us and schedule a test, you know that the person coming to your home or business can properly evaluate your device and accurately report its health and level of function. If you receive a testing notice, Biard & Crockett can walk you through the entire process, including the paperwork. Just email or fax us the relevant forms and we’ll get to work. If you can’t contact use through a fax machine or computer, we’ll happily make other arrangements.
Maintaining Backflow Prevention Devices
As a rule, backflow prevention devices are quite durable and will last for a long time in normal operating conditions. However, these devices still require periodic maintenance in order to function properly. The professionals at Biard & Crockett will assess the maintenance needs of your particular type of device, help you develop an appropriate maintenance schedule and perform scheduled maintenance with the utmost reliability.