Common mistakes when installing a backflow preventer

5 most common mistakes when installing a backflow preventer Many problems can result from the improper installation of a backflow prevention device, including high and recurring maintenance costs, or even inadequate protection with reference to the level of risk. Here are the 5 most frequently encountered mistakes:

  1. Backflow preventer installation higher than 5 feet: The device must be installed lower than 5 feet from the ground to allow field testing, maintenance and repair to be done in optimum and safe conditions for the tester. It is best to lower a backflow preventer or, if this is not possible, to use a safe platform, eliminating the risk of injuries to the tester.
  2. Improper installation of a reduce pressure principle backflow preventer (RP): RP must be installed nearby a floor drain because the relief valve may leak for many reasons. To avoid major water damage, the relief port must be connected directly to a drain pipe and terminate with an indirect connection above the floor drain. Moreover, the drain pipe must be of an adequate size. The installation of an air break under the relief port shall be made using the manufacturer’s drain connection fitting. You will have the assurance that it is the adequate connection. An Air break is mandatory above the floor drain.
  3. No Wye strainer upstream: Debris can sometimes flow in the water system. If debris gets stuck in the backflow preventer, the device can be damaged and made inoperable. To prevent this situation, it is recommended to install a Wye strainer upstream the backflow preventer. This protects your device, increases its efficiency and reduces the contamination risk.
  4. Clearances not respected: The device must be installed in an easily accessible place to facilitate inspection, field testing and maintenance. When clearances are not respected, test cocks may be out of reach. A sufficient space must be provided to work with your hands and use tools, to extract defective parts and to inspect and clean the backflow preventer internal parts.
  5. A backflow preventer installed vertically with a downward water flow: The majority of backflow preventer are not approved to be installed vertically with a downward flow of water. The weight of the water column in the pipe could prevent closing of the check valves in case of back siphonage or backpressure.

Ask our experts for adequate installation of a backflow preventer.

Lead contamination in drinking water

Simple ways to prevent contamination – Health Canada limits the lead content in drinking water at 10 parts per billion in a sample of water. Therefore, the municipal water supply contains almost no lead. So, how does occur the lead contamination and how can we protect ourselves?

Harmful effects on health despite many advantages

Malleable, ductile, affordable and easy to solder, lead is used in plumbing since antiquity. However, it is very harmful to human health. Some historians even pretend that lead contamination could be partly responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire!

A small amount of lead in the blood affects human health to varying degrees. Between 10 and 15 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood can cause harmful effects on children neurobehavioral and cognitive systems and the developing fetus while a rate of more than 40 micrograms may interfere with the production of red blood cells. Cases of lead poisoning, at very low doses, are difficult to identify, and that is why very few are listed in Canada.

Lead contamination

Contamination occurs within buildings. Lead can be found in some connections, plumbing and welding accessories. It mainly occurs when water remains stagnant for more than 6 hours in lines where there is presence of lead, which is then dissolved in water. Hotter is the water, higher is its dissolving power.

Older homes, especially those built before 1955, are more at risk because water connections were then made of lead. Since then, the requirements governing the use of lead in plumbing and standards are constantly evolving. Recently, in 2014, the lead concentration in faucets and plumbing fixtures for the distribution of water for human consumption was reduced to 0.25%.

Safety measures

Domestic equipment’s exist to decontaminate water; including carbon filters installed directly on the tap, reverse osmosis water filtration system and distillation units. Some of these equipment are expensive and require regular maintenance.

It is recommended to perform these simple things that make a difference:

  • Let the water run a few minutes after a disuse period of 6 hours;
  • Use cold water for cooking;
  • Regularly clean the faucet aerator.
How to identify a lead connection

Find the water main shut-off valve of the building. Then observe the pipe: Lead is gray, it has no resonance and it gets scratched easily. It does not attract a magnet.

Feel free to call a specialist to identify plumbing lines at risk!

Source: Health Canada

«Quick Connect» Adapter’s !

A professional job in no time! To perform the field test of a backflow prevention device effectively, the Quick Connect adapter’s kit is essential. Each adapter contains an O-Ring, which ensure a sealed connection to complete all your tests.

Contrary to the adapters initially supplied with your backflow test kit, these O-Ring adapters screws without any effort on the backflow preventer test cocks. You can then connect the test kit hoses, without applying Teflon or using tools, all in just seconds! Your purchase will pay off in as little as five tests!

Using these adapters has many advantages:
  • Allows a considerable saving of time to inspect a backflow prevention device: in most cases, fifteen minutes is enough;
  • Ensures sealed connections through integrated O-rings;
  • Prevents damages to the backflow preventer: Teflon can get inside the device and cause checks leakages;
  • Ensures a clean and professional work: Teflon leaves traces on test cocks
Available adapter’s kit

We have already prepared adapters kits or we may customize the kit that meets your specific needs.

The basic kit includes 9 adapters:

  • 3 adapters for test cock 1/4”
  • 3 adapters for test cocks 1/2”
  • 3 adapters for test cocks 3/4”

The complete kit includes 12 adapters, or one for each test cock:

  • 4 adapters for test cocks 1/4”
  • 4 adapters for test cocks 1/2”
  • 4 adapters for test cocks 3/4”

We recommend that you complete your kit with 3 or 4 additional units of adapters ¼ swivel 90 °. These adapters facilitate any backflow preventer field test when test cocks are difficult to access.

Order your adapter’s kit today!


The use of lead-free products in plumbing

Lead-free products: New requirements – In Quebec, since May First 2014, it is prohibited to install valves and other plumbing fixtures containing more than 0.25% in lead concentration. These new requirements are detailed in Chapter III, Plumbing, of the Quebec Construction Code and based on the 2012 edition of CSA B125.1 and B125.3. These measures seek to reduce the presence of lead in drinking water, which is harmful to health.

List of products affected and not affected by changes

For now, only products used for drinking water intended for human consumption are subject to these new requirements:

  • Delivery of water troughs fittings
  • Delivery of water fittings for kitchen sinks
  • Sinks and tubs
  • Shut-off valves
  • Automatic compensation valves (excluding showers)
  • Power shut-off valves
  • Integrated mixers operated by temperature

Products dedicated to the distribution of drinking water not intended for human consumption are not affected:

  • Automatic compensation taps wall mounted shower systems
  • Supply fittings for baths and showers
  • Supply fittings for bidets
  • Supply fittings for washers
  • Shut-off valves for humidifiers
  • Supply fittings for mop sinks
  • Drain cocks forlawn and sediment
  • Rolling feed supply fittings and self-closing
  • Shower heads
  • Hand showers
  • Body Sprays
  • Anti-siphon supply valves
  • Solenoid and flush valves
  • Thermal expansion relief valves
  • Trap primers
  • All other products not covered by CSA B125.1 /.3
Lead-free backflow prevention device:  mandatory from 2017

Pressure reducing valves and backflow preventers for area protection or premise isolation will be added to the list of specified equipment in 2017.

This is why we now recommend installing backflow prevention devices that have less than .25% in lead content on all drinking water plumbing systems.

Backflo Shop has access to several brands and models of lead-free backflow prevention devices.

Ask our experts to help you select the appropriate device!