Many find themselves in need of help from time to time when it comes to understanding different aspects of backflows. Perhaps it is a unique scenario you have. Maybe you do not deal with reduced pressure type assemblies much and do not know why the relief valve is dumping all the time or intermittently. Sometimes you will have a customer ask a question you do not have the answer for. What do you do, where do you go to get the answer? Lastly, you may just want to be more educated and have a greater understanding of the how, what, why and when of backflow assemblies.
Often you have others in your company or an instructor that prepared you to be a certified backflow tester who can help. You can even call us for help! But with the internet at our fingertips, many sources are readily available. Some are credible, some laughable and others you can just tell it is the “blind leading the blind”. There are many YouTube videos like that!
So I want to suggest a good resource. For years the University of Southern California Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research (fccchr) has provided a quarterly newsletter called Cross Talk dating back to 1967. To my knowledge, these have not yet been indexed but the information is there if you go searching for it. These are archived in a PDF file format on their site. These cover a wide range of topics such as “Preparing Assemblies for Freezing Temperatures”, which was published in the Autumn 2015 issue. Or in the Winter 2008, “Relief Valve Discharge”.
In the Summer 2015 issue, you will find topics about why oversizing a backflow prevention assembly may not provide the desired results and “why the elimination of the 3.0 PSID buffer”. Summer 2008 covers topics like RP direction of flow tests and “what is disc compression”.
The site also contains the approval list for assemblies and includes vertical or horizontal installation information and approved shutoffs (these include many besides the manufacturer’s standard ball valves/gate valves). This list is in a PDF file format or Excel. Excel is great for trimming the list down to just a brand, model, type, size, or an orientation, so you do not have to weed through the entire list. All of this information is free!
Videos are so helpful for those of us who need to see just what we are getting into. Many of the manufacturers have created videos. Here is a link to my web page where I have posted some and provided links for more.
There are some credible videos on YouTube, but many seem to be homeowners or DIY people that do not get it quite right. Some claim to be a plumber but do not get it right. I have even seen individuals using knockoff parts in these videos. So a word of caution: take those videos with a grain of salt.
Whenever you buy a repair kit keep the paperwork that comes with it. There is good information and diagrams there. I admit that some are better than others and much seems to be vague, but make notes during or after you have worked on an assembly. If you need a three ring binder to put these in and some manufacturer divider tabs, I will be happy to send one to you at no cost (with a purchase) as I no longer use them for catalogs. Since all have moved into the digital age it is not as easy to get the literature from the manufacturer as it used to be. As a result of this if you change to digital, you can navigate to the manufacturer sites to download the maintenance sheets for the assemblies you are working on.
One other source of help is a trusted mentor who is willing to teach. Mentors have an ability to tell it like it is and seem to make the work seem easy. They can correct you and not offend, teach without doing the work for you so you learn and ask questions that help you realize that you really do know what you’re doing. If you do not have a mentor get one!