The Truth About Backflow Testing and Why It’s Absolutely Necessary

plumber in pasadena backflow testing

If you live or own a property in Pasadena, Maryland, then you might want to get your backflow tested if you haven’t already. If you value both your health and your property, backflow testing is absolutely necessary.

We are fortunate to have access to drinking water right from the faucets in our homes. However, with this convenience comes the responsibility to make sure the water coming from those faucets is clean and contaminate-free.

The best way to do this is by getting a backflow test done. By the end of this article, you will be much more knowledgeable about backflow testing in Pasadena, Maryland, and how you can schedule your test today.

What Is Backflow Testing?

Let’s start with the basics and cover what exactly backflow testing is.

A backflow test examines your plumbing system to make sure that water is flowing in only one direction and the water coming from your faucets is clean.

When there are backflow issues, clean water mixes with dirty water and becomes contaminated. This contaminated water then comes out of the faucets in your home and into your drinking glasses.

What Causes Backflow?

Two things cause backflow in your plumbing system: back-siphonage and backpressure.

Back Siphonage

Back siphonage happens when there is a drop in the water pressure, which causes the water to change direction. So, the dirty water is sucked backward and mixed with the clean drinking water, contaminating it with harmful bacteria and chemicals.

The most common instance of back siphonage in a residential home is from a garden house. When there’s a drop in pressure, it could cause a vacuum effect and suck the dirty water from the hose back to the water supply.

Backpressure

The second cause of backflow is backpressure. This is caused by an increase in the water pressure. The pressure from the water supply is higher than the pressure of the water source. Therefore, the dirty water is sent back to the water source.

For example, a clogged pipe can cause backpressure backflow. Since the water cannot move past the blockage, it is forced back to the source from where it came.

Is Backflow Testing Necessary?

Yes, backflow testing is absolutely necessary!

According to the CDC, 7.2 million Americans are diagnosed with a disease spread by water every year. This can be prevented if more people had backflow testing done. When a water supply is contaminated, diseases such as E.coli, Shigella, Giardia, and more could be present.

Along with dangerous diseases, you could also experience heavy metal contamination in your water if backflow is present. Many commercial spaces such as restaurants are at risk for metal contamination.

One reason for this is carbonated liquids deteriorating copper pipes and having copper contaminate the water. This is typically caused by soda fountain machines.

Another reason to get backflow testing in Pasadena, Maryland is to check for chemical contamination. Fertilizers, pesticides, and more can be present in your drinking water, especially if you live near farms, orchards, vineyards, or gardeners.

Having your backflow tested isn’t only essential for your plumbing system but for your health as well. This is the only way to ensure you’re drinking the clean water you want and deserve.

How Often Is Backflow Testing Required?

You should have your backflow tested at least once a year. While many people have a backflow preventer, they may be under the impression that they don’t need to have it checked this often. As plumbing experts, we’re here to tell you that you absolutely should!

Every five years, the system should be rebuilt and a new preventer installed to ensure you and your family are drinking clean water in your home.

Who Can Perform a Backflow Test?

In Pasadena, Maryland, you must have a certified plumber conduct a backflow test on your property. These plumbers go through training and are licensed to carry out this type of test. We do not recommend that you do a backflow test yourself.

If there is something wrong with your system, they have the resources and knowledge to fix it as quickly and effectively as possible.

How Is Backflow Testing Done?

The backflow test checks for two things. The first is if the water is contaminated. The second is the cause of the contamination.

To do this, a certified plumber will turn off the water in your home before conducting the test. They will use a backflow testing device and close the valves or gates to gauge the water movement.

As a homeowner, you don’t have to worry about doing anything. Simply let everyone in the house know that the water will be off for a little while and wait until the plumber gives you their analysis.

How Long Does Backflow Testing Take?

Surprisingly, the length of the actual test is only about 20 to 30 minutes long. It does take the plumber some more time to actually set up the test and get it ready, though.

If there are problems found with the water, then the plumber will have to spend more time identifying the problem and fixing it.

In just a few minutes, you’ll know whether or not the water your drinking water is safe or whether it’s harmful to your health. Isn’t that incredible?

Schedule Your Backflow Test in Pasadena, Maryland

Have you had your annual backflow test done yet?

Chesapeake Plumbing Inc. is the area’s leading plumbing service, and we are ready to test your system for backflow. With a team of licensed plumbers, we care about our customers, from homeowners to contractors, we’re here to help you with all your plumbing needs.

We even offer free estimates for any plumbing project you’re thinking of doing!

Contact us today to schedule your backflow test and make sure the water that you and your loved ones are drinking is clean. The peace of mind you’ll have is priceless!

How to Handle a Plumbing Emergency

An overflowing toilet, a burst pipe or a malfunctioning faucet is a plumbing emergency that requires your immediate attention. What do you do? First of all, don’t panic and follow these steps recommended by the specialists from Chesapeake Plumbing.

Shut off the water. If you can, shut off the water supply to the pipe that’s causing an issue, but if you don’t know your way around your plumbing system, just turn the main water shutoff valve. It’s typically located in the basement or outside your house. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the plumbing before the emergency occurs. Label the pipes and valves so that they can be easily identified.

Contain the damage. Once there’s no more water contributing to the flood, attempt to contain the disaster area. Prevent the water pooling on the floor from spreading any further by piling towels, blankets, scooping it out or directing to the drains.

Take preventive measures. If a plumber finds that an old pipe burst due to age, rust and corrosion, it can be a sign of future trouble. It might not be long until other pipes fail in a similar way. Talk to the plumber to find out how serious the problem is and what can be done to prevent it from reoccurring.

Different Types of Water Heaters – Maryland Water Heater Services

faucetMany of us are used to having hot water at our disposal and don’t really consider it a luxury. We don’t have to rely on anyone for the hot water supply: we conjure it ourselves with the help of water heaters! And with heating technologies constantly evolving, we now have quite a selection of water heating methods to choose from.

At Chesapeake Plumbing, we know from extensive experience that the most common variety of water heaters is the storage tank water heater. It heats cold water and stores it in a big tank to have it ready whenever you turn on the faucet. It is extremely popular and has many benefits:

–          This technology has been around for years and has proven effective in keeping up with household’s hot water demand.

–          Tank water heaters are much cheaper than their tankless counterparts. This includes low replacement and installation costs.

–          When your water heater’s capacity matches your household size and hot water needs, you shouldn’t experience any problems with hot water supply.

If you have a smaller family and/or travel frequently, consider that:

–          The general concept of applying energy to heat the water when it’s not being used is not the most eco-friendly way. However, many modern tank water heaters now qualify for Energy Star certification, which makes them more energy efficient.

The second type of water heaters is a tankless water heater, also called “instant” or “on-demand” water heater. Just like its name suggests, it heats water only when you need it thus eliminating stand-by heat loss and associated high energy use. However, don’t be misled by the word “instant:” you will still have to wait till hot water travels through the piping into your faucet. Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient, however, as with all heaters, they do have their limitations. On average, tankless water heater runs 5 gallons of water per minute (5 GPM), while most homes have a demand of 6 to 12 GPM.  Therefore, some installations may require additional modifications.

Your choice of water heater will largely depend on your household size and water use habits. If you do a lot of laundry, prefer longer showers and nice water pressure, then storage tank water heater is the way to go. If you are concerned about environment and energy use, you can opt in for a tankless heater.

We have performed hundreds of Maryland water heater installations, and will be happy to help you choose the system that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Sewer Line Backups

root

Spring/Summer Tip
Sewer line backups are common this time of year due to summer rainwater entering sewer pipes via cracks. New tree root growth from the spring can also cause sewer backup issues as roots are drawn toward the sewer line as a source of nutrition. Have Chesapeake Plumbing Inc. inspect your sewer lines to let you know if you are susceptible to a sewer line backup problem or if damage has already occurred. Give us a call today 410-437-3888

How to Lower Your Water Bills and Reduce Water Use in Your Home

dripping faucet

We are so used to readily available water at consistent pressure and desired temperature – only travelling abroad makes us realize that water is a scarce resource in many parts of the world. If you are like most Americans, your household probably uses more water than you need.

Fortunately, at Chesapeake Plumbing Inc., we know a few steps you can take to avoid wasting water. And if helping the environment is not motivating enough, think about how much you could save on water bills.

Reduce the water flow in your faucets

It’s likely your faucets operate at a higher rate of flow than necessary. To reduce the flow, install an aerator on the end of your faucet (it might have come with the faucet, so check first). This small and inexpensive addition can help you preserve as much as 1,500 gallons of water a month without affecting the water pressure. A low-flow, water-saving showerhead will do the same for your shower.

Update your toilet

If you are at the point when it’s time to remodel your bathroom, we suggest replacing your current toilet with a low-flow option. In a household that doesn’t conserve water a toilet can use as much as 20 gallons of water per person per day. Different low-flow models have different technology to use water more efficiently, such as the Dual Flush technology.

If you are not ready to replace your toilet just yet, there are still a few things you can do to make it perform better:

–    Flapper tends to deteriorate over time, so replace it regularly

–    Install an adjustable flapper to control the flush volume

Check your plumbing for leaks

A single dripping faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. If you have leaky pipes that drip so much that you have to empty the containers several times a day – we could be talking hundreds of gallons!

If you discover a leak, call us as soon as possible. The sooner it’s fixed, the sooner you can start saving and potentially prevent a mold situation that can be very costly.

Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget About the Sink.

sink drain

Think twice before using heavy-duty drain cleaners. Every certified and licenses Maryland plumber will tell you that while these chemically-loaded cleaners will help dissolve the clog, they might also corrode your pipes, significantly reducing their lifespan. Consult with your plumber, as he or she might find a less invasive and more eco-friendly drain cleaning solution.

Bonus tip: know your drain’s enemies! Different sinks in your house are subject to different conditions:

  • Kitchen sink drains often get clogged due to food remains and grease accumulation. To keep the drain healthy, use a fine-mesh strainer to keep even the smallest particles out and never empty cooking grease into the sink. Instead, pour it into a container and throw away with other trash.
  • Bathroom sink and shower drains can get clogged with hair and bathing products, especially oil-based ones. Remove the drain stoppers and clean them on a weekly basis to reduce the chance of clogging.
  • A utility sink is often used to help with very dirty projects, such as cleaning a paint brush, washing off boots after a long hike, etc. Be careful with large debris that can end up in the drain – always use a strainer.

Does it seem like a lot to do? We know your spring cleaning list of chores is already long, but keeping sink drains clean and clog-free is very important. If you need a hand, our Annapolis plumbers will be happy to take care of plumbing inspection and cleaning for you. Just give us a call at 410.437.3888.

Frozen Pipes

If your pipes freeze, open the cold water faucet nearest to the frozen pipe to relieve pressure.

Frozen pipe
Not Good

How to be a Better Homeowner

pipe leak

Know your house

This might seem silly, but not everyone knows their own house well enough, especially if they take minimal part in the house maintenance. Ask yourself this question:

–      Do you know where your main water shut-off valve is?

Solve the problem with backup power

When every other thunderstorm leaves you without power for 10 hours, it significantly disrupts your lifestyle. You know what we mean if you live in an older house. The good news is you don’t have to wait in the darkness until the power comes back on. Take matters in your own hands and install a backup power generator. Choose a portable unit or a stand-by one that will automatically kick in once it detects the power outage.

Remember, once the power is out your sump pump also stops working. If this is a concern, choose a stand-by power generator or install a backup sump pump.  Depending on where you live, you can opt either for a battery-powered option or the one that runs off of water pressure.

Be prepared

Unfortunately, none of us is safe from plumbing misfortunes, but it always helps to be prepared. Have a plumber’s number (here’s ours: 410-437-3888) in your phone or pinned to your fridge or cork-board, so that every panic-stricken family member knows where to call in case you need an urgent drain cleaning.

Also, don’t skip on maintenance. Water heaters, sump pumps and even pipes are not meant to last forever. Such factors as your location, lifestyle, water chemistry and many others can positively or negatively affect the lifespan of your plumbing equipment. Don’t wait till it breaks: get things checked out and tuned up every once in a while – Chesapeake Plumbing will gladly help you with that!

An overflowing toilet, a burst pipe or a malfunctioning faucet is a plumbing emergency that requires your immediate attention. What do you do? First of all, don’t panic and follow these steps recommended by the specialists from Chesapeake Plumbing.

Shut off the water. If you can, shut off the water supply to the pipe that’s causing an issue, but if you don’t know your way around your plumbing system, just turn the main water shutoff valve. It’s typically located in the basement or outside your house. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the plumbing before the emergency occurs. Label the pipes and valves so that they can be easily identified.

Contain the damage. Once there’s no more water contributing to the flood, attempt to contain the disaster area. Prevent the water pooling on the floor from spreading any further by piling towels, blankets, scooping it out or directing to the drains.