In any commercial operation, safety is paramount. Any business that has to provide clean water to its workers, visitors or customers (and that's pretty much every company) has to ensure that this water is wholesome and not contaminated. Several systems have to be in place to make sure that this happens and one of the most important parts of these systems is a backflow valve, which segregates clean water from contaminated sources. A lot is riding on this humble valve and it needs to be inspected on a regular basis to make sure that it is still in good working order. However, in the interim, issues may arise and these need to be dealt with properly. If you suspect that your backflow preventer valve may be faulty, what could be going wrong and what should you do?

How Does It Work?

This valve sits in between the clean and the potentially dirty water, at the point where the company's own system meets the municipal waste sewer. In any area where pipes may cross connect, a backflow preventer valve is required and in large operations, there may certainly be more than one.

Backflow is a result of a difference in pressure between water in the two systems and if this is not carefully regulated, dirty water can move in the wrong direction and will contaminate the drinking supply. If there is a problem with a burst water main in the area, massive pressure can result and this could easily overwhelm each property or commercial operation nearby, without these types of valve.

What to Look for

Begin by looking at the first check valve which is typically incorporated in complex systems as an additional fail safe. This allows water to enter at certain pressures, so that the pressure rises in the space behind the second check valve. Ensure that this is opening and closing according to the required pressure per square inch.

Next, look at the second check valve for any signs of backpressure. These two valves need to work in tandem, for the system to work properly.

Tests should also be conducted on relief valves and in particular the sensing line, which can sometimes fail. Within this valve is a disc, which turns to block and seal access when pressure through the sensing line compresses a spring. If the disc is not embedded correctly, the valve opening point will be too high, while if a foreign body is embedded within the structure, the opening point will be too low.

Getting Professional Help

It is always best to get a valve repair professional to check the operation of all the valves in your system, as the consequences of complete failure will undoubtedly be serious.