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How Backflow Preventers Work & Their Importance in Fire Safety Systems

Industrial fire control system

It’s sometimes said that backflow preventers are the unsung heroes of commercial fire safety. It’s an accurate statement, as what the devices do often goes unnoticed but is nonetheless invaluable. These critical pieces of equipment protect your building’s water supply, prevent contamination, and ensure the effectiveness of firefighting efforts when it matters most.

As the region’s preeminent full-service fire protection contractor, Firetech Sprinkler Corp. delivers comprehensive backflow systems services to businesses and industries in Vermont, Northern New Hampshire, and Northeastern New York. Our NICET-certified technicians are equipped to design, install, inspect, test, maintain, and repair backflow preventers for all fire suppression systems.

What Is a Backflow Preventer?

Commercial buildings generally have fire sprinkler systems installed throughout the structure, often over multiple floors. A backflow preventer stops the potential backflow of water from the sprinkler system into the main water supply, which could introduce contaminants or hinder firefighting efforts. By securely isolating the fire sprinkler system from the main water supply, the backflow preventer ensures water used for fire suppression remains clean and ready for immediate use in an emergency.

How Backflow Preventers Work

Commercial backflow preventers typically use a check valve, relief valve, and other mechanisms to prevent unwanted reversal of water flow within a plumbing system. The check valve allows water to flow in one direction, while the relief valve opens to release excessive pressure.

During normal operation, water flows through the check valve and moves in the desired direction. However, if a sudden pressure drop occurs or if there’s a backflow situation, the check valve automatically closes to prevent the contaminated water from flowing back into the clean water supply.

The system’s relief valve is a safety mechanism that opens to release excessive pressure in the event of a sudden increase, protecting the plumbing system from damage.

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Why You Need a Backflow Preventer for Fire Protection

A backflow preventer is of utmost importance for commercial fire protection systems. It plays a critical role in ensuring your system’s reliability and effectiveness in an emergency:

  1. Contamination prevention: Backflow preventers safeguard potable water supplies from potential contamination. Without a backflow preventer in your fire suppression system, tainted water could flow back into the clean water supply, introducing impurities that render it unsafe for consumption.
  2. System integrity: Fire protection systems rely on a consistent source of clean water. A backflow preventer helps maintain your fire suppression system’s integrity, preventing cross-connections or backflow scenarios that might hinder the sprinkler system’s functionality.
  3. Compliance: Most, if not all, local and national fire safety regulations require backflow preventers. Installing and maintaining a backflow preventer at your commercial property ensures compliance with these requirements and helps you avoid potential legal and regulatory issues. It also demonstrates your company’s commitment to safety and responsible building practices.

Schedule Backflow Testing & Maintenance Today

Routine commercial backflow preventer testing and maintenance ensures your business complies with local, state, and federal regulations, maintains the system’s reliability, prevents water contamination, and provides long-term cost savings. They also promote the safety, health, and efficiency of your building’s water supply system, providing peace of mind to business owners and occupants alike.

Firetech Sprinkler Corp. designs, installs, inspects, tests, and maintains fire suppression systems, including backflow preventers. For more than 30 years, our team has worked hard to meet our clients’ expectations and remain the region’s most trusted source of fire protection services.

Call 802-655-1800 or contact us online today to learn more about our backflow preventer services.