RPZ Back Flower
Many people don’t stop to think about just what goes into making sure that residential and commercial buildings receive a consistent supply of safe, wholesome water. The water that comes through your taps, shower, and every other device and appliance, needs to be free from contamination. It should be completely safe for everyday use, including for drinking.
To ensure this is the case, there are multiple systems in place, including what is known as a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve. There are multiple types of backflow prevention valves, falling under three categories: method, device, and assembly.
The purpose of the RPZ valve, is to keep the wholesome water supply that is considered safe for all-purpose use, and the unwholesome water supply, which could be contaminated, completely separate.
This system is essential in commercial buildings and residential buildings alike, with a failure of the RPZ valve having the potential to cause serious problems. Understanding the importance of a tested, certified, and properly installed RPZ backflow valve, starts with understanding just what the system is trying to prevent – backflow.
What Is Backflow?
Backflow is when water moves backwards through a system instead of forwards. When the water that is supposed to be moving forwards is contaminated with a dangerous substance, backflow can put the water supply at risk of causing serious health problems.
This issue can be the result of multiple problems. Commonly, backflow is the result of a variance in the pressure of the water, leading to the occurrence of a vacuum or an event of negative pressure being present inside of the supply of water. What happens then, can be incredibly dangerous; the contaminated that was supposed to drain, may be sucked backwards up into different areas of the water system.
Another common cause of backflow, is when the downstream pressure is higher than the upstream pressure. Again, the water may be pushed back up the system to the source, instead of draining away safely.
The fluctuating pressure of water in cities, a high demand on the system, or repair work on the system, can all result in backflow occurring. Depending on where the backflow occurs, the dangers can range in severity. Backflow occurring in lawn irrigation systems may not be life threatening, but a backflow in an industrial plant that deals with toxic materials, very easily could be.
RPZ Valve – Backflow Protection
An RPZ valve is one of the easiest, simplest, and most effective ways to deal with the risk of backflow occurring. When water passes through an RPZ valve, it can go in a single direction, but the water is fully prevented from moving backwards in the opposite direction.
The valves are designed with specially created pressure chambers and two check valves. This design allows the system to maintain a lowered level of pressure, compared to the pressure that the water within the water system is at.
In an event when the pressure in the system is reduced, the valve can release the water by creating an opening for the contaminated water to safely leave. This keeps the main supply of safe water, or drinking water, free from any contamination that over-wise would have infiltrated the system. Without the double check valve within the RPZ valve, there would be no way to prevent lowered water pressure causing widespread contamination.
The importance of RPZ valves means that they need to be properly maintained and regularly tested to provide an assurance that they are working as they should be. Even the smallest change to your water pressure; caused perhaps by a leak in your home, a break in the system, or when water is pulled from a nearby source, like in the event of a fire, can cause backflow to occur. If you’re RPZ valve is not working correctly when the pressure changes, then you could put the wholesome water supply at risk.
While there is a significant importance placed on testing the RPZ valve, the actual process is very quick. It takes approximately 30 minutes to assess and test an RPZ valve. During this time, there will normally be a slight interruption to the water supply in the nearby area which can be expected to last around 15 minutes.
RPZ Certification in Illinois
In Illinois, it is also a legal requirement not only to have an RPZ valve installed in places with a potential risk of contamination, but also a requirement to have your RPZ valves tested and certified. The certification test should be performed, at the very least, on an annual basis.
During the RPZ certification process in Illinois, inspection reports will be created by your licensed plumber; these should then be submitted to the water authority in your local area. Making sure that this process is undertaken is essential to not just protect the drinking water that you use, but the drinking water that everyone nearby uses.
New RPZ Valve Installation
RPZ valves are especially important in cities, like Chicago, but they can be installed in any situation, both residential and commercial, where there is the potential of backflow causing contamination. For residential buildings, RPZ valves are commonly installed as an essential component to lawn irrigation systems, private fountains, or swimming pools, as well as the main water system.
For commercial and industrial buildings, an RPZ valve can be installed to prevent contamination in distilleries and breweries, commercial washing machines, hotel facilities, car washing services, and for refrigeration equipment, amongst many other applications.
Installing an RPZ valve is a technical process and should always be completed by a licensed expert who has the relevant experience. The valves must be installed in the right places, and be safely secured, to prevent problems with freezing, flooding, or damage to electrical equipment. As the RPZ valve is effectively designed to release water, careful consideration is always needed during installation.
After installation, maintenance is incredibly important for the ongoing assurance that the valve is working properly. This is primarily achieved through the annual testing, but if the RPZ fails the test, then it needs to be repaired quickly – normally within 72 hours.
Get a Fast and Efficient Service with Arco Plumbing
If you’ve been informed that you need an RPZ valve installed, are considering installing a new system in your residential or commercial building that requires an RPZ valve, or you’re looking for a service in Chicagoland to trust with your annual RPZ tests, then Arco Plumbing are the leading service in Chicago for you.
Our team specialize in both residential and commercial buildings, and their varying plumbing requirements. With more than 30 years’ worth of experience in plumbing, and with an outstanding reputation in Chicago, we are one of the most trusted plumbing services around.
The experience we have here at Arco Plumbing extends to the professional installation of essential RPZ valves, along with the required testing and certification of RPZ valves for both residential and commercial use.
If you need a reliable service in Chicagoland that you can trust with any plumbing problem, along with routine checks and maintenance, then Arco Plumbing are the service for you. For all inquires about RPZ valves, please don’t hesitate to get into contact with our expert team today.
With a free estimate on any work guaranteed, you always get a peace of mind when you choose Arco Plumbing in Chicago, IL.