By state and federal law, all backflow preventer assemblies are to be tested annually by an authorized tester. Some water departments want the testing done at the start of the watering season for lawn irrigation systems. The testing is quick and the water must be on to the assembly to perform the test. The water will not be available to the sprinkler system during a portion of the test.
There are criteria that must be met when installing your backflow device. All assemblies are required to be tested within 10 days of installation.
The biggest problem we see with the assemblies is freeze damage. The assembly must be winterized properly in time to prevent damage. Wear and tear can be caused by little rocks and sand that get into your assembly.
Types of Assemblies
Reduced Pressure Assembly
The highest degree of protection. This type is required when there is any cross contamination with the culinary (city) water supply.
Valve Dump. The valve will discharge if the system being protected pressure become higher than allowed compared to the source pressure.
The device by design reduces pressure by an average of 25%.
Pressure Vacuum Breaker
In the right conditions, this device is a good alternative to the more expensive reduced pressure principle assembly.
There is little pressure loss and is simple to maintain.
Double Check Assembly
There are a lot of these installed. They were legal and proper a few years ago but are no longer allowed on new systems and when they cannot be repaired, they must be replaced with either a pressure vacuum breaker or a reduced pressure assembly.
Check valves do not have testing shut-offs and are no longer approved.
This simple little know device does not need to be tested, is self-draining and almost trouble free.
The vacuum breaker does have limitations.
It has to be a minimum of 6" higher than anything that comes after it.
Can not have a valve after it.
Can not have any back pressure.
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