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(707) 539-4533 |  Sonoma Napa and Marin Counties


In the industry of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), it’s important to make sure your tools are safe, as they come into contact with both you and your customer’s family every day. One way to do this? By performing backflow testing. Learn more about why HVAC contractors need to perform backflow testing with the following guide.


What Is Water Pressure?

Water pressure is a measure of how much force water exerts on a unit area. Pressure is what pushes water through pipes and why you can’t push more than eight ounces through a one-ounce straw. It also determines how much friction there will be inside pipes and ducts, limiting your flow rate. Water should typically have between 20 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi) depending on the type of system; typical indoor faucets are somewhere around 30 psi, while drinking fountains can reach as high as 90 psi. At its maximum operating pressure, an outdoor hose might put out 300 psi. In addition to its normal operating pressure, every pressurized system has backpressure—the resistance to flow caused by valves or restrictions in your plumbing lines and fixtures.


One common cause of low pressure is that a sprinkler or irrigation valve is partially closed. If you can see water leaking from around a valve, you probably have a solenoid problem. Solenoids are designed to allow air in; if they don’t, it may be that they are sticking or corroded. Another possibility is that there’s dirt in your valve; try removing it and blowing out your system before inspecting further.


HVAC 101 Everything you need to know


The Basics of Water Flow

The water we drink is pumped, treated and distributed by a series of interconnected systems. When one part of that system isn’t working properly, it can have far-reaching consequences for us. A broken valve in one part of your plumbing might force you to fix a leak elsewhere down the line. The same goes for backflow: testing only one part of your system could mean missing a failure somewhere else in your plumbing—or worse, endangering someone’s health by letting disease-carrying pathogens into your drinking water supply.


While it’s impossible to test every single component of your water system, routine backflow testing is one of your best lines of defense against health risks like Legionnaires’ disease. It can also help you save money by identifying problems in your system early on and alerting you when parts need repair or replacement. To learn more about how you can protect your family, check out our online training course on testing, inspecting and maintaining water systems from a world-class water expert. You might also want to contact us for a free quote or consultation—we’re here for you day or night!


What Is Backflow?

In basic terms, backflow is water that’s flowing in a backward direction through pipes and fittings. In order for water to flow in a forward direction (out of your faucet), it has to be under pressure. And that pressure comes from all of the weight above it pushing down on it. But when water flows backwards, it’s not pushed down by any pressure above—so you have no force driving it forward and gravity is now pulling all of that stored energy backwards with nowhere else for it to go. It can collect in different places depending on how your plumbing is laid out, but potentially problematic spots include heating systems and catch basins.


Potential problems with backflow range from simple inconveniences to costly disasters. The inconvenience comes when you find out your water has been contaminated and has to be boiled before it’s safe for drinking, but there are a lot of other potential problems you could run into if backflow isn’t properly addressed: If a toilet or drain is susceptible to back-pressure, sewage can flow into them rather than just backing up. This can ruin your plumbing, especially if it becomes completely backed up and then overflows. And in some cases—especially if they involve fixtures connected directly to potable water like dishwashers or washing machines—it can cause major health issues including vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. In extreme cases, people have actually died due to those health complications.


Do I Need a Backflow Device?

The purpose of a backflow prevention device is to protect public health by preventing harmful bacteria and contaminants from being siphoned back into city water sources. This is especially important for businesses that operate with large quantities of water, such as laundromats, car washes, veterinary offices, hotels and restaurants. Luckily, there are two different types of devices that can be used to prevent backflow: double check valves or anti-siphon devices. The kind you need depends on what you use your water supply for. If your business uses its water supply for drinking purposes (including making ice), then anti-siphon devices should be installed. If your business uses its supply for non-potable purposes (such as flushing toilets), then double check valves will do.


If you’re not sure what type of backflow prevention device is best for your business, contact a professional. At Plumbing Pump Experts, we provide a comprehensive range of plumbing services that include backflow testing and certification. We’re also available 24/7 in case you have any issues with our work that need immediate attention. All you need to do is give us a call!
On-Site Commercial Water Systems: The purpose of on-site commercial water systems is to provide businesses with their own water supply without needing to connect directly into public utilities.


How Often Should You Test Your Backflow Device?

The most important part of any furnace installation is testing. Do not skip out on a backflow test when your Valley Comfort Heating and Air technician installs your new high-efficiency furnace. When you have a backflow test done, Valley Comfort will be able to check for leaks in your system and make sure that it is working properly. Valley Comfort technicians are trained professionals who will be able to let you know if there are any issues or problems with your unit and can provide you with tips on how to prolong its life so that you don’t need another unit any time soon. Call (707) 539-4533 today if you would like more information about getting a backflow test done by Valley Comfort Heating and Air!


Your backflow device is a major factor in how much energy your home uses. In fact, a malfunctioning or broken backflow device can cause temperatures to drop by several degrees and use an extra 10% of your energy bill. When it comes time for your Valley Comfort technician to install your new furnace, they will inspect and test both you water heater and high-efficiency furnace as well as check for backflow problems. While your unit is being installed, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that all of your devices are working properly including checking for signs of water damage such as discoloration or rusting around any joints or valves.


What Happens If My System Isn’t Working Properly?

Here in Santa Clara, you may be thinking about getting a new HVAC system for your home. While that’s an excellent choice, it also means that you should get any necessary maintenance done now before you install a new heating and cooling system. That includes having your backflow prevention device tested. If you have any questions about our testing services, we’re available 24/7 for same day service if needed!


It may be a lot of pressure on your wallet, but getting your backflow prevention device tested is an important part of your overall home maintenance plan. It ensures that you won’t have any surprises when it comes time to install a new heating and cooling system. It also helps ensure that you comply with applicable laws, which can include more than just backflow testing. In some localities, for example, you need a permit before doing any electrical work on your home or business.


How Can I Protect My Home From Backflows?

By law, any municipality requires that all drinking water should be protected from contaminants that could potentially flow backwards into water mains. Contaminants can include things like fertilizer, pesticides and other chemicals. The only way to do that is through proper backflow testing and maintenance. If these systems aren’t maintained, they can cause serious harm to people living in homes with them as well as residents and customers of businesses in a wide area around them. That’s why it’s important for homeowners with active backflows on their property take action now so they can continue enjoying their home for years to come.


A backflow prevention device is generally located in your yard or at your home’s foundation and is connected directly to a city water main. The backflow prevention system serves an important purpose: it prevents polluted water from flowing backwards into city pipes. The device includes a check valve that only allows water to flow in one direction, preventing contaminated water from seeping into a municipal source. If anything happens to your system, such as corrosion or poor maintenance, you may see signs of it at home or around your property. Noticing small problems before they can turn into larger ones is vital for keeping your family safe from contaminants and protecting your drinking water supply from unsafe pollutants.


Call Valley Comfort Heating and Air

Our heating and air conditioning specialists can perform a backflow test for you, as well as most other routine maintenance tasks. They’ll need access to your home’s plumbing system, including cleanout plugs and where any drains or water lines might be located. We recommend giving them at least 24 hours’ notice so they can check their schedule and make sure there aren’t any conflicts with another project in your area. This way you won’t waste time waiting for them to show up, and they can plan around weather or equipment issues that might crop up during your service call.


With any heating and air conditioning maintenance service, it’s important to be clear about what work you need done so you get a high-quality job done at a reasonable price. If you’re on vacation or don’t want anyone coming into your home, then phone calls are one of your best options. However, we recommend setting aside some time for in-person communication as well if possible. No matter how good your contractor is at relaying details over a phone call or email, nothing beats an actual conversation when it comes to getting everything cleared up. At Valley Comfort Heating and Air we have an open schedule just waiting for you to come in and speak with our team—no appointment needed!



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