Timberline Mechanical Offers Insights into Commercial Plumbing and What To Expect in a Backflow Preventer Inspection

What is a plumbing backflow preventer? Why are regular inspections so important?

Boulder, Feb. 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — If you own a commercial building or manage a commercial property, one of your top priorities must be ensuring that critical systems such as plumbing and electrical systems are functioning as designed. This includes providing tenants with access to drinking water and ensuring that drinking water flows into your building but never back into the municipal water supply. This one-way flow is required by government regulations and is strictly enforced.

A key component to meeting clean water standards is a device called a backflow preventer. What is a backflow preventer and why is it so important? This article answers these questions and explains why regular inspections by an experienced plumber are essential. It also describes what to expect during a backflow preventer inspection.

Backflow protection

Backflow protection

What is a plumbing backflow preventer?

In plumbing, “backflow” is a highly undesirable condition. The term is used to describe a situation in which water that should be moving in a certain direction is moving in the opposite direction. Allowing backflow can create a public health crisis by potentially releasing chemicals, waste and other hazardous substances into a community's drinking water supply.

A backflow preventer does exactly what its name suggests: it prevents water that has entered a commercial building (or any other building) from flowing back out through the same pipe. Essentially, it is a one-way gate that allows incoming water to enter a building but stops it immediately when it detects a change in flow direction.

Backflow preventers are typically installed at every cross-connection point in plumbing systems. The device used varies depending on the type of hazards present in the building. Types of backflow preventers include:

Generally, the drinking water flowing to your commercial building has pressure that moves it in the right direction. However, this dynamic may change for two main reasons:

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  • Back pressure. This occurs when the pressure in a commercial property's plumbing system exceeds the pressure of the municipal water distribution lines. The most common causes include the use of boilers, circulation systems or pumps to move water to higher floors.

  • Suck back. Events such as a water main break can cause pressure changes that pull water out of a building. There is also the possibility of a siphon forming when there is high water extraction, for example during firefighting operations.

Regardless of the cause, backflow is a significant problem. Therefore, whether a backflow preventer works properly is not just a question of operation. It is a safety issue and there can be significant legal and financial consequences if a backflow preventer malfunctions or fails. Your building's water supply may even be temporarily shut off until you resolve your plumbing issues. This means that backflow preventer inspections must be performed by trained professionals and completed when and as local regulations require.

What happens during a pipe backflow preventer inspection?

When inspecting a backflow preventer, the technician proceeds as follows:

  • Closes the downstream shut-off valve

  • Wait a moment

  • Evaluates system pressure using a test kit

  • Opens and closes various valves to detect irregularities

  • Look for leaks or other signs of plumbing problems

Typically, no preparation is required for building owners or property managers other than ensuring the professional has access to the building's plumbing infrastructure. The person scheduling the inspection should inform building occupants that water service will be interrupted for a short period of time – typically 20 to 30 minutes if immediate system repairs are not required.

Minor problems can be resolved immediately. However, if problems are identified that require significant repairs, you may need to schedule a separate visit for these works.

When are backflow preventer inspections required?

As a commercial building owner or property manager, it is important that you know the rules and regulations regarding backflow preventers in your area. Typically inspections are required:

  • When plumbing systems are installed or relocated

  • When plumbing system components are replaced

  • Annually, for existing systems

Additionally, you should schedule a backflow preventer inspection if you notice signs of a potential problem, including:

  • Changes in the color, smell, or taste of your water

  • Changes in water pressure

  • Outbreaks of water-borne diseases

When it comes to plumbing systems in commercial buildings, it's better to be safe than sorry. The time and cost associated with a backflow preventer inspection is significantly less than if you fail to identify and correct problems with your backflow preventer.

Remember that the “cost” can be more than just financial. Failure to protect building occupants or community residents from exposure to contaminated water can damage your reputation and cause you to lose future business opportunities. On the other hand, being proactive shows that you care about safety and can strengthen your reputation as a responsible property owner.

Have your commercial plumbing system and backflow preventer inspected by Timberline Mechanical

At Timberline Mechanical, our plumbing services team is comprised of a group of qualified professionals that includes an experienced master plumber. Commercial property owners rely on us for a variety of services for all types of plumbing system components, such as: B. Water pipes, sinks and faucets, water heaters and fountains. This includes professional inspections, maintenance and certification of backflow preventers.

Whether you're installing or adding plumbing, need an annual inspection, or suspect there's a problem with your backflow preventer, we can help. And as any commercial property owner or manager can attest, it's reassuring to know who to turn to for plumbing problems in general.

If you are not yet a Timberline customer, we encourage you to learn more about our services. Then contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a one-time project or recurring preventive maintenance.

We also have extensive expertise in commercial and industrial HVAC systems. Contact us today and let’s discuss how you can ensure your system is operating at peak efficiency.

About Timberline Mechanical
Timberline Mechanical is a Boulder HVAC contractor based in Boulder, Colorado, serving the Colorado Front Range, including Broomfield, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Superior and Erie. We are committed to providing the smart solutions needed to keep your Boulder commercial HVAC equipment running efficiently and at peak performance. Whether we are handling a service request, performing preventive maintenance on commercial HVAC systems, or performing special project work, we provide intelligent commercial HVAC solutions to ensure your business needs are met. You can focus on your business while we keep your commercial HVAC equipment running smoothly. https://www.timberlinemechanical.com/

John Cooper

Media Contact: 303-258-3589

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