Before we dive into the importance of backflow testing, we need to establish how common it is as a fire protection system issue. Backflow simply refers to the reversal of the flow of non-potable water in the piping of a sprinkler system, potentially contaminating a drinking water supply.
This issue is usually present because of two reasons: back pressure, which is the result of pressure in downstream piping rising above the supply pressure of the piping system, and back siphonage, which is what happens when the supply pressure drops below the water system pressure.
What is the usual backflow testing process?
When backflow enters either a public or private drinking water supply, it can pose a health hazard to those affected. Regular testing can detect the presence of backflow. The process includes a thorough inspection and cleaning to ensure the system and any installed devices are in peak operating condition. This is followed by shutting down the water supply to perform a visual inspection to verify that the water is flowing in the proper direction. The last step involves the confirming that all areas are operating properly.
How can we prevent backflow in a fire prevention and protection system?
The simplest method of preventing backflow is to create an air gap, which is an open vertical space between any piping system-connected device and any location where contaminated water can collect. The installation of a device called a backflow preventer may be required when there is not enough space to create an air gap.
There are several types of backflow preventers, including:
Reduced Pressure Zone Assembly: This is considered the industry standard for backflow prevention in apartment buildings and condominiums because they provide the highest level of protection against contaminants.
Pressure Vacuum Breaker Assembly: This contains a specially designed, spring-loaded poppet that makes it well-suited for high-hazard applications, or when valves are located downstream.
Double Check Assembly: A DCA valve protects against both back pressure and back siphonage in low-hazard applications.
Contact CertiPro Fire & Life Safety For Expert Backflow Testing
CertiPro Fire & Life Safety offers complete backwater testing and inspection services in Arizona. We can also help you design and install backflow preventer devices in your sprinkler piping system. Contact us to schedule a backflow inspection today.