Backflow Preventers

What is a backflow preventer?

If your asking this question then you obviously need a crash course on what a backflow device is as it could save your life some day. Backflow preventers are overlooked in most cases because of the lack of knowledge about their need and what they do. Backflow preventers are commonly a plumbing code requirement in most all up to date jurisdictions. The need for backflow preventers hinges on the need for safe drinking water for all public humanity. The use of these devices along with the annual testing of them where applicable can protect the public water supply from becoming poisoned by contaminants that could make someone dangerously ill or even cause death.

The annual testing of these devices is very important because it insures the probability that the device is functioning properly in order to protect the public water supply. Although there are many forms of backflow prevention that are not testable they still exist in every persons home as we speak. That is if we as humans don’t by-pass these safety measures provided. One example of a non testable backflow preventer is an Air Gap which is simply the space between the end of a faucet where the water comes out and the point at which the water would overflow onto the floor if you filled the fixture that the faucet serves. This is a common backflow device that is implemented in every house around the world.

The way this device works is really simple and has no need to test annually. The air space between the faucet outlet and the possible level that the sink or fixture could overflow creates an area of free space or air at which the possibly contaminated sink water could never be siphoned back into the faucet. Thanks to gravity this can’t happen. This cannot happen because the sink water cannot travel though the air without being under pressure and physically get into the faucet if it were open and had no water pressure at the same time. An example of this would be if there was a water main break on your street.  This would result in a loss of water pressure to the entire house and at the same time create a siphoning effect at the faucet, possibly sucking up any nastiness that was in the sink water. That nastiness could get into your water piping within the house. The next time you turn on your faucet to get a drink of water it contains this nasty contaminated water that is all of a sudden in your drinking glass. Drink up!

Another backflow prevention device that some residences have is located where the water supply in a residence ties into an irrigation system. If you have an irrigation system for your lawn then you may be aware of such a device as it should be tested annually and the results will be forwarded to the local authorities having jurisdiction so they can make sure the device is working properly to prevent lawn fertilizer from being in contact with your drinking water. These devices are usually kept track of by your local health department.

You may think this wouldn’t happen to you but it is an unfortunate circumstance that does happen to people and it is unexpected when it does. This is why the plumbing industry has plumbing codes that they follow in order to protect the public drinking water. As I stated before, the only way one of these safeguards can be by-passed is by human intervention. Sometimes this can be done unintentionally by adding a hose to the faucet outlet or some other means of by-passing the air space between the two points as discussed earlier. If this happens then there is a possibility of contaminating your water within your own house and in extreme circumstances you could contaminate the water all the way to the water main in the street.

There are many different types of backflow preventers in place especially in commercial buildings where the possibility of contamination is more prevalent because of constant usage more so than in a residential setting. These devices are among the ones that should be tested annually to eliminate the possibility of contamination to the buildings water or the public water in the water main outside of the building. In order to test these devices you must have knowledge of their mechanical workings and be a licensed backflow tester by the state or locality in which they are located. Flow-Rite Plumbing has licensed backflow testers in Ohio and Kentucky. 

Call today for a quote on your backflow testing needs! (513) 383-4242

As always…Why be Wrong?….When you can Flow-Rite!

A plumber protects the health of the nation!

Commercial plumbing,Residential Plumbing — Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation!

Anywhere in the world you look you will find a plumber of some kind. No matter what country or continent  you find, it is a profession that will never disappear or fade away! As long as people exist, have the need to drink clean water to survive and need a means of getting rid of waste water then there will be a plumber around in one way or another. Since the early roman viaducts were designed to carry water to the citizens of Rome there has been a need for plumbing. This is one thing that computers and machines can’t do for us alone.

We as a society have the need for such a profession and with that profession comes responsibilities such as protecting the health of the people that we provide these services to and ourselves. Just one oversight or cross-connected water pipe in one house can poison an entire city block’s drinking water.As a Cincinnati licensed plumber I can tell you that I take great pride in my work as well as all work that is provided by our company. Flow-Rite Plumbing stands by the motto: “A Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation!”

As always…Why be Wrong?…..When you can Flow-Rite!

Going Green in Cincinnati

Going “Green” can hurt the pocket book at first !

Going “Green” can severely affect the homeowners or business owners budget at first glance. However the advantages of energy efficient plumbing fixtures and systems can be rewarding in the long run. With the ever changing economy  bringing the need for cost effective fixtures and appliances there comes an added expense for the purchase of such things at least initially. Thankfully the government has rewarded us with tax incentives in the year 2009. You can earn up to 10 % tax credits back on the total cost of green technology fixtures and appliances. This even includes doors, windows and other such building materials. Check out your federal tax laws for further info and limits. Check out our Cincinnati Plumbers website for more info.

In the world of plumbing this points to a few key fixtures such as Water Heaters and Boilers as well as radiant heating applications. Not only do these energy saving fixtures save us costly natural gas and electric bills in the long run but they also provide us with a little incentive such as tax credits and in some cases a credit from your local gas and electric company also!

If a consumer sits down and does the math regarding how much gas and electric bills will decrease they would see that the up front initial money to purchase and install an energy efficient fixture would save them money in the long run. This is easier said than done though. I know because I have tried to convey these savings to many people regarding a new replacement water heater such as an Eternal Hybrid Water Heater. The consumer just can’t get past the the pay me now or pay me later aspect of green technology that I try to make as clear as possible. It’s human nature in a way. They look at a $ 800.00 water heater install compared to a $ 2600.00 water heater install. 

It’s a no brain-er right? I wouldn’t agree. The amount of money you can save by not heating water when you don’t need it with the more expensive water heater will save you an extra $ 30.00 a month on average! Yes it will take some time to make the difference up at $ 30.00 a month but after that you are home free with nothing but savings on your gas and electric bill. Don’t forget about the 2009 tax credit  that you get at the end of the first year.

I have a simple example that most will understand. A Lot of people go to a wholesale or discount membership type shopping club such as Costco or Sam’s Club to name few. The reason they go there is to find a better price on buying a larger quantity of product they use quite often at a substantially lower price for the amount they receive. They buy it at a discounted price although its more than they can use in a week and they save in the long run because they know they are going to use that staple item in their everyday lives. What is the difference if you purchase a water heater that lasts you longer and saves you more money in the long run because you haven’t spent all your savings on the gas or electric to make it work. To me this is a no brain-er!

As always, Why be Wrong?…..When you can Flow-Rite!

Call Cincinnati Plumbers at (513) 383-4242 for more info on green technology

Installing a water heater DIY

Commercial plumbing,Plumbing Tips,Residential Plumbing — Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do’s and Dont’s of installing a water heater

Do’s

  1. Do consult with multiple plumbing companies for pricing of an exact or better replacement before attempting it yourself.
  2. Do compare your price quotes from other companies, comparing not only their prices but whether it is easier to have them do it instead of yourself.
  3. Do make sure that if you have a plumbing company install your water heater they and their installers are licensed and insured in the state and locality you reside in.
  4. Do consult your local plumbing code official about updates that may be necessary in order to comply with current plumbing codes.
  5. Do turn the cold water off to the selected water heater.
  6. Do be prepared to be without water for at least an hour or more to the entire house.
  7. Do turn off all gas and/ or electric to the water heater.
  8. Do have your new water heater already purchased and ready to install including all water, gas or electric fittings that you may need.
  9. Do follow all installation instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  10. Do drain your existing water heater of all water that is left in the tank after turning off the water supply. 
  11. Do make sure all water, gas and electric connections are leak tested and properly joined for your safety.
  12. Do have a helper on hand for assistance when needed.
  13. Do install the water heater according to all local codes and call for an inspection after it is installed correctly.
  14. Do discard of the old water heater in a manner appropriate to your local trash pick up service.
  15. Congratulations you have installed a new water heater.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t  try to perform this work without the correct plumbing tools and fittings necessary.
  2. Don’t try and move heavy objects such as water heaters by yourself.
  3. Don’t ignite a gas water heater or turn on the electric to an electric water heater before it is filled with water and you have leak tested the gas and water piping.
  4. Don’t forget to call the plumbing inspector in your locality for an inspection to ensure that the water heater has been installed according to current plumbing code.
  5. Don’t discard of your old water heater inappropriately!
  6. Don’t dislike a plumber because he or she charges a fair rate to perform a service such as installing a water heater. Plumbers are professionals by trade and get paid fairly to perform this service.

As always…  Why be Wrong ?…..When you can Flow-Rite !

Call a licensed Cincinnati Plumber Today at (513) 383-4242

Searching for a good plumber ?

How to choose a good plumber!

  1. Ask your friends, family and neighbors first who they would recommend. This is usually the best way to find a good plumbing company
  2. Take into consideration that they usually will remember who not to call instead of who to call!
  3. Always ask if the pluming company they recommend gave them an upfront price and stuck to that price when it was all said and done.
  4. If you are close then ask how much they paid for the services they received and maybe even ask to see for yourself.
  5. Ask them if they called or contacted several different companies before they chose the one they used.
  6. Ask if they called the first big plumbing ad in the phone book and stopped there.( If they did, then you might want to try shopping around yourself ! ) Remember those big ads get paid for by consumers like yourself.
  7. Ask if this was the first time they used the company they are referring and if it is, then ask if the company was referred to them by someone else.
  8. Remember to refer the company that you used and liked to your friends, family and neighbors no matter what profession or service they provide!

As always…. Why be Wrong ?…… When you can Flow-Rite!

Tank or Tankless Water Heater?

Commercial plumbing,In The News,Residential Plumbing — Thursday, December 11, 2008

We have an answer for you!

I can guarantee that if you have a tankless water heater installed you will be disappointed with one thing for sure! The most popular complaint about tankless water heaters is that when multiple hot water sources are used at once the water pressure drops dramatically! This is the nature of the beast. Not one tankless water heater out there can give you the volume of hot water at one time that a common residential one and a half or two bathroom house desires.

Why waste the energy and expense of heating water when your not using hot water. This is typical of tank type water heaters that have been around for years. Since natural gas prices have gone on the rise we tend to start thinking about those tankless type water heaters that only heat the water when you need it and stop heating the water when you don’t. This is a great concept and has its usefulness.

The answer is in the middle.

There is even a better solution to the lingering high natural gas prices. This solution is a hybrid water heater. Sounds weird I know. This water heater is the best of both worlds though. Its venting method is cheaper to purchase and install than that of most all tankless water heaters.Its size is relative to less than half the size of a 50 gallon tank type water heater. Best of all it can produce endless hot water in a significantly higher volume than any tankless water heater on the market and take up only half as much more space than any tankless water heater. It also only heats the water only when you need it just like a tankless water heater does only with no pressure drop. Also this water heater is eligible for tax credits for energy conservation starting in 2009. All of this for only a slightly bit more than what a tankless water heater costs.There is also a better warranty included up to 20 years on the tank.

If you are looking for the your next water heater or a water heater for a new installation then do yourself a favor and check out this website. http://eternalwaterheater.com and Cincinnati Plumbers to Install this amazing water heater!

Winterizing Your Plumbing System

Winterizing your plumbing is a virtually cost-free alternative to frozen pipes.

  • Turn off the main shutoff valve or have the water company turn off service to the house.
  • Starting at the top floor, open all faucets, both indoors and outside.
  • When the last of the water has dripped from the taps, open the plug at the main shutoff valve if possible (if you have to, contact the water company), and let it drain.
  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater and open its drain valve.
  • To freeze-proof the system, empty toilet bowls and tanks.
  • Remove the clean out plugs on all sink traps (or remove the traps, if necessary).
  • Once emptied, replace them and fill with plumbing antifreeze mixed with water in the proportions specified for car in your climate.
  • You won’t be able to drain tub and shower taps. Instead, add at least a full quart of antifreeze.
  • Don’t put antifreeze into a dishwasher or clothes washer.
  • If your home has a basement floor drain or a main house trap, fill each with full-strength antifreeze.
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