Backflow Repair, Replacement, and Installation

Backflow is the reverse movement of unwanted and unexpected wastewater. Backflows can occur in your home or office. They can be very devastating as well as lead to massive loses. Backflow happens when the sewer or dirty water travels back the feeder line instead of draining to the public sewage system. An example is when the sewer line broke at Abilene Zoo in Texas on Thursday 19th April 2018. Wastewater spilled into the public areas of the zoo. Backflow is as a result of either a crack in the sewer line, surcharging due to heavy rains, insufficient capacity due to overpopulation blockage of the sewer line, or a back-pitched drain system.

To prevent backflow from occurring, confirm that your sewer system has a backflow valve. This device is typically found in the garage or outside attached to the main sewage line to your house. You cannot control the functionality of the town sewerage system, but you can control the backflow of wastewater to your home by installing a backflow valve in the sewage system. Also, call Joyce Plumbing at (619) 461-1340 to test and maintain this device as it is subject to wear and tear.

Corroded backflow valveRepairing the backflow valve can be done by changing the kit of the backflow sewer valve. This needs periodic replacement to maintain the moving parts, the internal seals and the springs of the valve. In the image you can see a corroded backflow valve. Over time they get loose and develop gaps that allow wastewater to enter your home. The kits are assembled in eight different forms depending on the model of the manufacturer. They include Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker (AVB), Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB), Double Check Valve Assembly (DCA), Dual Check, Reduced Pressure Principle Assembly (RPA), DC Detector Assembly (DCDA), Spill Proof Vacuum Breaker (SVB), and RP Detector Assembly (RPDA). The most critical component amongst all the above backflow assembly is the check valve which has a seating surface, a seat, guide, spring and a poppet.

Backflow repairs should only be carried out by a certified and qualified backflow technician. Only trained technicians can identify the model and the manufacturer of the backflow unit. Identification of the model enables the technician to troubleshoot the part that needs repair and apply the right procedure. The main aim of conducting a backflow repair is to return the valve or preventer to the initial manufacturer’s specifications. Before initiating a backflow repair, a field test should be performed on the backflow prevention unit to determine the level of damage and the repairs that are required. Failing to arrest the situation may result in disease outbreaks.

Backflow valve replacement is not as complicated as backflow repairs. You only need to understand the simple mechanism of how it works. The valve has a small flap with small floatation devices that opens downwards allowing water to exit your house by gravity. In case there is a sewer backflow, the floating devices causes the flap to close and prevent the wastewater from entering your home.

sewer backflow installation - backflow repairSewer backflow prevention units are the most crucial part of any sewerage system. The failure of the backflow preventers will lead to devastating loses such as high cost of repairing damages. Only specialized cleaning companies can adequately clean up this kind of bacteria and mold. Therefore, monitor the backflow valve installation and maintenance to avoid incurring the above loses. Most backflow prevention units are built and designed to operate for decades. Thus, in case a repair is necessary, the technician repairs the sewer prevention unit while still attached to the main pipeline. Joyce Plumbing’s technician can troubleshoot the problem and determine the specific procedure to be applied before commencing any repairs. A new backflow valve installation is shown in the photo.  Please note that both illustrations are samples of what your backflow valve might look like depending on the manufacturer.

If you try a do it yourself repair, make sure that you address each of the following issues to prevent immediate failure of your backflow valve:

– Unavailability of enough pitch of the pipe: if this happens, the valve with neither close nor open properly and the house will experience frequent clogs.
– Backflow valve installation on the upward side of the trap: in case the trap plugs blow off or leaks, your home will be flooded with wastewater.
– Backflow valve installation in a plumbing system that accepts rainwater from the roof.

Call Joyce Plumbing at (619) 461-1340 if you need your sewer backflow valve repaired or replaced.