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What is Backflow Testing and How Does it Work?

Plumbing is a comparatively simple system and yet it can prove surprisingly complex for those not trained in its maintenance. Numerous different factors can influence it efficiency, including the quality of the materials, the status of civic sewer facilities and local conditions, the last of which plays a particularly strong role here in Salt Lake City. Plumbing issues in the area need to account for our high elevation and semi-arid conditions. These factors can play a large role in otherwise normal plumbing functions, which a good plumber will keep in mind while going about his duties. Take for example, the question of backflow testing. What is backflow testing and how does it work? The answers – and the way our local climate affects them – can be found below.

“Backflow” means a reversal of the water flow in your pipes, which can mix “bad” water (contaminated by minerals, sewage or the like) with “good” water (potable and safe for drinking and washing). It constitutes a major health concern, which is why stopgaps exist to keep it from happening. A backflow valve, also known as an RPZ (Reduced Pressure Zone) valve will open when it detects lowered pressure from the city’s water pressure, dumping any potential contaminated water rather than letting it backflow into your system. The state of Utah mandates the presence of a reduced pressure valve in everyone’s plumbing system, which should be tested at least once a year.

The test itself is fairly simple. An RPZ valve comes with a test port, to which a plumber attaches a test kit to ensure that the device is functioning. He turns the water off in your house, performs the test and then turns it back on again. If the RPZ valve isn’t functioning, the plumber can then discuss your options for repairing or replacing it.

In Salt Lake City, plumbing services should be able to perform reliable backflow testing procedures. The trained Salt Lake City plumbers at Rentmeister Total Home Service can answer your questions about backflow testing and how it works before performing the test. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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