Frequently Asked Questions About Backflow Testing

Backflow prevention devices installed throughout facilities require thorough annual diagnostic testing by certified technicians, such as those at City Plumbing, in order to validate they are working correctly and reliably, preventing any reverse direction hazardous water flow as intended.

Understanding the backflow testing process, procedures, and regulations in detail helps facility managers and maintenance teams ensure full compliance at their properties. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about annual backflow testing requirements.

What Is the Purpose of Annual Backflow Testing?

The overarching purpose of mandated annual backflow testing is to fully examine the current real-world functionality of the mechanical check valves, air gaps, and vent ports to confirm they continue preventing any reverse direction backflow as designed. Testing procedures assess the opening and closing pressure performance of check valves as well as the proper operation of critical air vent ports under simulated backflow conditions. Conducting annual diagnostic testing provides assurance that no cross-contamination or hazardous back-siphonage event will occur and contaminate the downstream water lines.

When Do Backflow Devices Need Testing Each Year?

The majority of plumbing codes and municipal jurisdictions require exhaustive testing of all backflow devices about one year from the date of initial installation or previous annual inspection and passing test. Scheduling annual backflow testing to occur well in advance of enforcement notification deadlines ensures your facility remains in full compliance without risk of citations. Be sure to accurately calendar annual test deadlines for all device installations so high-priority testing remains top of mind rather than forgotten.

What Procedures Are Involved During Backflow Testing?

To conduct certified diagnostic testing, trained technicians connect sophisticated gauges to the inlet and outlet ports on the backflow device and then manipulate the stop valves to methodically simulate back pressure and back siphonage scenarios while carefully observing and recording the resulting pressure readings indicating valve opening and closing performance under test conditions. Pressurized air compressors help provide consistent and controlled directional force.

What Happens if a Backflow Device Fails Testing?

If a backflow device fails any part of the intensive testing process criteria according to code standards, the inspector should provide you with detailed information on the specifics of which test failed, what internal components may need repair or replacement to return the device to passing operational condition, and clear steps on the procedures involved for completing proper repairs. Once sufficiently repaired, the backflow preventer must then be retested successfully before putting it back into active use.

What Backflow Testing Records Should I Maintain?

Be sure to request and retain comprehensive testing reports from the contractor itemizing the location, device type, make, model number, size, serial number, individual test results, technician performance notes, final outcome status of pass or fail, and the deadline for the next required retest for each device. Keep these certified reports on file as proof of due diligence for inspectors and insurance audits.

Proactive annual backflow testing provides critical assurance that these vitally important check valves continue preventing reverse flow contamination events that endanger downstream water security, public health, and fire suppression systems in commercial and municipal facilities.

Facility managers must stay adequately informed on testing requirements to ensure full compliance through on-time certified diagnostic testing of all installed backflow preventers. If you need backflow testing completed, our licensed and certified plumbing professionals at City Plumbing can help. Schedule an appointment with us today.