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Backflow Prevention In Plumbing

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Backflow prevention is a critical plumbing strategy used in new constructions and renovations. It is when the flow of water in a plumbing system goes in the opposite direction this is called backflow. The issue of backflow within plumbing is that the drinking water supply can be negatively affected by pollutants and contaminants. Optimised Plumbing Services is here with a trusted team of Emergency Plumbers to help resolve issues and complications when backflow occurs. 

The problem of backflow can occur when the core water delivery main is experiencing low pressure issues. The main devices used to prevent backflow are registered break tanks, reduced pressure zone devices and double check valves. The type of device installed will depend on the risk of backflow and will only be installed by a licensed plumber.

What are the Backflow Risk Ratings?

There are three risk or hazard levels which are given to backflow issues:

  • Low Hazard Risk – when backflow causes small issues which will not significantly cause health issues then it is on the lower risk scale.
  • Medium Hazard Risk – if the drinking water could cause health problems to those who drink it then the dilemma is rated as medium.
  • High Hazard Risk – if the contaminated water within the drinking system can cause serious health issues or death then it is given a high risk scale. 

Knowing if the residential, commercial or industrial property is low, medium or high risk comes through careful inspections. A licensed individual will inspect the activity of the plumbing to determine which rating the backflow issue is. 

How is Backflow Prevented?

To prevent backflow within the water supply system there are devices installed within priorities. The three most common prevention devices installed are:

  • Registered Break Tank – this is an approved air gap which disconnects incoming water supplies from the water systems downstream. They are suited to manage high risk situations and a plumber should have the device tested every 12 months. 
  • Reduced Pressure Zone Devices – these have two individual non-return valves to keep the pressure consistent. Water will only flow in the device when the pressure is of correct levels to push the valve springs. When backflow happens these work to keep the pressure stable and are good for high risk dilemmas.
  • Testable Double Check Valve – these are similar to reduced pressure zone devices where two springs independently operate. The water pressure has to be high enough to allow it to flow within the device. 

Installation Conditions

Backflow prevention devices will be installed in one of three different methods:

  • Contaminant Protection – these will be installed at the property boundary which is located downstream of the water meter. 
  • Zone Protection – these will be installed in a specific area of the property or building for isolation means.
  • Individual Protection – these will be installed in a certain point to stop potential contamination of the property’s water.

Installing these devices also comes within specific requirements:

  • Only a licensed plumber can install backflow prevention devices. They will also perform tests and inspections to ensure that the installation is successful.
  • Properties which have multiple different water services will need the prevention devices at each individual point.
  • The location of these devices should be as close as possible to downstream and the point of connection of water meters. Branch connections between the devices and meter should not be included. They should also be in a location which is easy to locate and should not be buried underground. 

Who is Responsible for the Installation and Maintenance of Backflow Devices?

When the backflow prevention device is installed within the property’s boundary the property owner is responsible for taking care of it. Testing, maintenance work and installing the device has the owner of the property organise these tasks. If these devices are outside of the property’s boundary and water connection, then the local water service, or Sydney Water, will take care of these jobs. 

Building the home should include the installation of the backflow prevention devices. It is the property owner who needs to ensure that the device is included within the building plan. Registering the backflow prevention device should occur as soon as it is installed where the plumber will issue the information. 

Maintenance and testing work on the backflow prevention devices should occur every 12 months. It is legally required that they are properly tested by a licensed plumber to ensure the devices work correctly. These tests need to be reported to make sure that the property’s backflow devices are still registered and deemed safe. 

Trusted Backflow Prevention Devices Services

Here at Optimised Plumbing Services, our certified 24 hour plumbers are here to work on backflow plumbing services. We can install, inspect and perform maintenance work on the prevention devices in any property. For all of Sydney, including the Eastern Suburbs, North Shore and South Sydney, our backflow prevention services are the most reliable. 

We recommend reading our blog ‘how to fix water meter problems’ to know how these issues are addressed and resolved. Our Blocked Drain plumbers are also here for Sydney where we will successfully and professionally clear all drainage systems. 

When a qualified plumber is needed to work on backflow prevention devices – contact Optimised Plumbing Services on 02 8074 1475!

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