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Thread: Inspector wants an RPZ for residential home

  1. #1

    Default Inspector wants an RPZ for residential home

    Had a water softener installed by a plumber. And a permit was pulled afterwards, (plumber failed to tell me that a permit was needed) the local building inspector for our small town is saying we need to have an RPZ before the water softener. The place I went to buy this $200 part is saying that they are not usually for residential. It sounds like overkill to me. I asked if just a double check valve would be sufficient and the inspector said no it must have an RPZ. It's to keep the resin from the softener from getting sucked back into their water when they flush the fire hydrants and such in the neighborhood.

    My plumber wants to charge for installing, plus the part so Im looking at spending a few more hundred more doars when I thought I was done.

    Does this sound feasible for the inspector to demand an RPZ? I know it's not something they used to require because none of my neighbors that have a softner had to worry about this.

  2. #2
    In the Trades liquidplumber's Avatar
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    You could ask the inspector to explain how he interprets the code to require this.. Maybe the head of inspections might be able to better explain the requirement or tell you that it isnt required. But most likely your town has at some time passed an ordinance that requires the RPZ. They are within their rights to pass an ordinance and make you comply even if it isnt in the state code book. Different inspection jurisdictions have different rules due to local ordinances (thats one thing that makes working in different counties and cities extra fun!). First place I would go is to the inspection department and ask a few questions.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Back flow prevention devices like this are required when lawn irrigation water is drawn from the domestic supply. I can understand why it may be required for your home, but I can't speculate as to why others with softeners are not. Maybe it's a new local requirement and the others are grandfathered. One thing that is required is that these must be certified annually. Some places enforce this, others do not. Installation is not especially difficult if you can sweat a copper joint, but the certification must be done by a licensed inspector. My inspections cost $35 plus parts if and when required. I would sure check with the local authorities as to why you have to have one when others do not, and ask about the annual inspections just for fun. It is a ridiculous requirement if inspections are not mandated. The inner parts do wear and O rings and springs do need replacing once in awhile, so if not inspected and repaired, they will become useless.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by liquidplumber View Post
    You could ask the inspector to explain how he interprets the code to require this.. Maybe the head of inspections might be able to better explain the requirement or tell you that it isnt required. But most likely your town has at some time passed an ordinance that requires the RPZ. They are within their rights to pass an ordinance and make you comply even if it isnt in the state code book. Different inspection jurisdictions have different rules due to local ordinances (thats one thing that makes working in different counties and cities extra fun!). First place I would go is to the inspection department and ask a few questions.
    Sorry, let me clarify... When I say our local building inspector told me this, I mean our city's Only inspector. Small town, he is the inspector that needs to come out and do the inspection to pass for the permit. So I guess they have passed this requirement when he took over.

    So thanks, I guess that answers my question. :-(

    Even stranger, when I asked if I could just install it myself, he said only if we had files our Homestead Tax Exemption. We planned on doing this anyway but just moved in and didn't get around to it yet.

  5. #5
    In the Trades liquidplumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobiecatter View Post
    Even stranger, when I asked if I could just install it myself, he said only if we had files our Homestead Tax Exemption. We planned on doing this anyway but just moved in and didn't get around to it yet.
    Around here, a homeowner can do any work they want, they just have to comply with the code the same as a professional. I dont know a thing about that homestead tax thingy.... never heard of that before. Amazing how different things can be from one region to the next

    Good luck to you

  6. #6
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    A double check valve will rarely be acceptable in backflow prevention.
    Residential lawn sprinkler systems usually allow either anti-siphon valves ( properly installed higher than the heads) or a pressure vacuum breaker. Commercial property will require RPZ. I thought softeners had an air break on the water, so I have never seen an issue of backflow prevention raised. I guess they do not want resin siphoned back into the main???

  7. #7
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I did not mean to imply that the BF device for irrigation purposes would be the same device needed for this application. I realize there are may different devices for various uses. I do not have or need a water softener, so that would be on a different page. I will stand by the need for certification on any device for reasons stated. I would still be interested why it is require for one and not for all, but as the old saying goes, "You can't fight city hall".

  8. #8
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Here, a backflow preventer is required to be tested every year by a licensed testing facility.

    If they mandated everyone to have one on their water softener, the entire town board would be subjected to recall elections.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liquidplumber View Post
    I dont know a thing about that homestead tax thingy.... never heard of that before.
    In Texas, your "homestead" is your primary residence (you can only have one). You get a small property tax break, etc. Even CA has something similar.

  10. #10
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    A Watts 9d with atmospheric vent is all that should be required and they are fairly inexpensive. It's what comes standard now with the water meter and horn assembly for new service installations.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  11. #11
    In the Trades Plumber111's Avatar
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    Alot of this comes about because of "what if" situations. Here they have double check yokes in the meter, but still require an RPZ in some situations that make no sense.

    We have hundreds of situations where irrigation etc. that have been installed for decades without any RPZ without an issue while hydrant maintenance & breaks/repairs occurring from time to time. But "what if...."

    Same thing with PRV's and TXT's. Thousands of homes without them and zero problems even after bringing new systems online. But "what if...."

    Insurance and money as much as protecting the health of the nation.

  12. #12
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    I find RPZ for irrigation lines buried under ground all the time. I'll snap some pics.

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