You may have one of these in your yard or home, or maybe seen one in your neighborhood, and wondered about it. It is commonly known as an RPZ valve or a backflow preventer. RPZ is an acronym for a reduced pressure zone. It is a type of backflow prevention device used to protect water supplies from contamination in Villa Grove, IL.

What is an RPZ Valve Used For?

Reduced pressure zone assemblies, also known as RPZ valves, are extremely important. They’re used to keep contamination or pollution out of your water. Specifically, these devices are installed onto your plumbing system to help protect both drinking water and the city water supply.

Backflow prevention assemblies are designed to prevent contaminated water from mixing into clean municipal water supplies, which are usually used as drinking water. Contaminants like sediments, bacteria, and fertilizer are a major public health hazard, so there are regulations in place that require certain buildings to have backflow preventers installed.

Where are They Usually Installed?

Backflow preventers are commonly installed in buildings where clean water cross-connects with any of the following installations:

  • Large boilers – A large boiler can present a backflow hazard when the pressure inside gets too high, pushing the dirty water inside back up into the clean water system.
  • Irrigation systems – This includes extensive lawn sprinkler systems. Backflow from irrigation systems is hazardous because of the presence of fertilizers and lawn chemicals such as pesticides.
  • Fire suppression systems – Fire suppression systems can also create pressure differences and siphoning effects that can lead to backflow.

Do I Need One in My Home?

Backflow prevention devices are most common in commercial settings, but some residences may also need one. One of the most common reasons for a residential backflow preventer installation is a home sprinkler system that cross-connects with the drinking water system.

If something happens that causes a drop in pressure in the water mains, such as the use of a nearby fire hydrant or a burst pipe, contaminants can flow back through the sprinkler head because of the pressure difference. This can introduce fertilizers and pesticides into potable water.

Annual Testing Helps Ensure Proper Operation

The State of Illinois requires that every backflow device be inspected annually by a certified backflow tester, and every city that operates a public water system is responsible for making sure that this is done. Why is backflow testing required? The purpose of a backflow system is to protect the quality of drinking water.

However, it can’t do so reliably if no one ensures that the system is working properly. Please contact Lanz Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. for assistance with equipment testing, repairs, installation, or if you have any questions regarding RPZ devices. We look forward to hearing from you.

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