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Thread: Backflow preventer in crawlspace??

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member crosby1's Avatar
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    Default Backflow preventer in crawlspace??

    i just had an irrigation system installed @ the house. for now, i opted to tap off the water main under the house and not have a separate meter installed.

    they put the backflow preventer in the crawlspace and i was wondering if this is an acceptable place for it to be?

    there were quite a few problems with the install, so i'm not really keen on bringing this up with him until i have some good info.

    thanks...

  2. #2
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    I think it would be acceptable as long as it's accessible for maintenance and testing.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Backflow preventers should be certified annually by a licensed and certified inspector because they do not last forever without replacing seals, O rings, and etc.. I know some local authorities ignore the EPA and have no requirements for this, but when the BFP fails, your family and the entire community is at risk. For this reason, your BFP should be in a place convenient for inspection and testing. My city inspects the BFP the first time, then homeowners are required to make arrangements with a qualified inspector each spring. If this is not done, water service to the home is discontinued.

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    DIY Junior Member crosby1's Avatar
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    well, it is in a convenient place. it's right inside the door to the crawl space. my question has more to do with what happens if and when water comes out of it?

    i mean, i'm going to have to winterize the system soon and then it will be filled with air. when i turn the water back on in the spring, aren't i going to get gallons of water coming out of the top of the BFP?

    it just seems to me, that it should be outside the house; not in the crawl space underneath...seems like a set-up for disaster.

    maybe i'm way off base and it's OK; just trying to get an idea before i go off on the guy again.

    thanks.

  5. #5

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    Crosby1, you are 100% right.

    From your description, I'm assuming you have a pressure vacuum breaker. Please post a picture.

    If so, you have got to get that out of your crawl space! When it dumps you will potentially have a huge mess on your hands. They are to be installed outside.

    I'll bet that its not even installed above the highest head, being that its in a crawl space.

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    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    I would be surprised with a new install using a pressurized Vacuum breaker. Most places have banned them for use on lawn irrigation. They are moving to have RPZ devices installed. Which requires an air gap and a drain to be installed on it to carry the water away to a safe place to drain off with out causing property damage.

    Notice the pipe at the bottom of the device in the picture that is attached to the air gap which catches the discharge of the RPZ.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by SewerRatz View Post
    I would be surprised with a new install using a pressurized Vacuum breaker. Most places have banned them for use on lawn irrigation. They are moving to have RPZ devices installed. Which requires an air gap and a drain to be installed on it to carry the water away to a safe place to drain off with out causing property damage.

    Notice the pipe at the bottom of the device in the picture that is attached to the air gap which catches the discharge of the RPZ.
    PVB's have not been banned in most places for use on lawn irrigation.
    Last edited by tomm; 09-25-2009 at 10:08 AM.

  8. #8
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomm View Post
    PVB's have not been banned in most places for use on lawn irrigation.
    Well then I better call all the plumbing inspectors I dealt with in Illinois and inform them of this.

  9. #9
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomm View Post
    PVB's have not been banned in most places for use on lawn irrigation.
    Here you go from the Illinois code book itself.

    Section 890.1140 Special Applications and Installations

    d) Lawn Sprinklers. Any lawn sprinkler system connected to a potable water supply shall be equipped with a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer assembly (RPZ). The RPZ may be located outside provided it is protected from freezing or is removed at the end of the season, and it conforms with Section 890.1130(g)(1).

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by SewerRatz View Post
    Well then I better call all the plumbing inspectors I dealt with in Illinois and inform them of this.
    I guess Illinois is different, but in the majority of the country a PVB is perfectly
    acceptable as a backflow device for a residential sprinkler system.

  11. #11
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomm View Post
    I guess Illinois is different, but in the majority of the country a PVB is perfectly
    acceptable as a backflow device for a residential sprinkler system.
    Illinois used to allow PVB, but as required RPZ for a few years now. Other states and municipals are doing so as well. PVB are not good enough to prevent the nastiness that grows around them sprinkler heads from back flowing into the potable water system.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    IT is a local issue, but a pressure backflow preventer is supposed to be installed so it is ABOVE, and usually one foot above, the highest irrigation head, so a crawl space installation would not be proper, AND it is supposed to be in a location where discharges will not cause damage, which could also preclude it being in a crawl space.

  13. #13
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Wow, IL must have a strong backflow testers' union, to get that law in for residential!

    Here, backflow is almost universally done using anti-siphon valves, in residential.

  14. #14
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Wow, IL must have a strong backflow testers' union, to get that law in for residential!

    Here, backflow is almost universally done using anti-siphon valves, in residential.
    The union has nothing to do with Illinois plumbing code. Let me refer you to a post on PZ http://www.plumbingzone.com/f2/yup-i-went-there-5015/

  15. #15
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewerRatz View Post
    Illinois used to allow PVB, but as required RPZ for a few years now. Other states and municipals are doing so as well. PVB are not good enough to prevent the nastiness that grows around them sprinkler heads from back flowing into the potable water system.
    That's a big jump from a PVB to a RPZ. Why not a DBL check it has no discharge to contend with and offers more protection for back flow.

    John

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