How To Properly Remove an RPZ Valve for Maintenance

Does your commercial building utilize an RPZ backflow preventer for high-hazard plumbing conditions? Understanding how to properly remove an RPZ valve from your prevention equipment is essential for maintenance. Check out our helpful guide on the step-by-step process for safely and securely manipulating your backflow prevention device.

What Is an RPZ Backflow Preventer?

Before we dive into proper RPZ valve removal processes, it’s essential to fully understand RPZ backflow prevention equipment. RPZ stands for “reduced pressure zone” and refers to a specific backflow preventer assembly that features a sensing line and bypass (relief) valve. The addition of this bypass ensures superior protection for potable water supplies in the event of total check valve failure. Therefore, RPZ backflow preventers are ideal for high-hazard conditions and industrial applications.

Steps for Proper RPZ Valve Removal

Now that you understand how RPZ preventers work, it’s time to learn the step-by-step process for proper valve removal. Thankfully, this procedure is simple and only requires basic tools, patience, a keen eye, and a steady hand. However, since industrial backflow preventers are often attached to municipal lines, the removal procedure typically requires a certified technician or plumber. Check your state laws and regulations on opening up backflow preventers to inspect or manipulate the internal components before attempting any of these steps by yourself.

Step 1: Shut Off the Water Supply

As with any plumbing component hooked up to public lines, it’s imperative that you shut off the water supply before interacting with your backflow prevention equipment. Mainly, this allows you or a technician to inspect the RPZ valve safely without the danger of pressurized water interfering. Additionally, the maintenance itself is significantly less likely to contaminate potable water supplies while the backflow preventer is non-functional. Finally, shutting off the water supply protects and allows the internal chambers to depressurize, the very next step in this process! Simply activate the local shut-off mechanism—typically a valve—to prepare for step two.

Step 2: Reduce the Internal Pressure

Next, allow the internal pressure within the chambers and plumbing infrastructure to release through the bypass or a downstream outlet. Ultimately, this step drains the backflow preventer and piping to support safer maintenance conditions. Conversely, operating on a pressurized RPZ system can cause an aggressive and destructive plumbing phenomenon known as a water hammer. Use a pressure gauge to monitor the decreasing levels before operating on the equipment—depending on your system and scope, this process can take mere minutes or last upwards of an hour.

Step 3: Carefully Remove the RPZ Valve

Once your system is completely drained and depressurized, it’s time to begin removing it. Depending on the system, the valve component is often attached to a covering by screws, bolts, and related fastenings. Since RPZs contain sensitive elements like sensing lines, it’s essential that you take care when removing the RPZ valve. Avoid interfering with and potentially damaging other internal components when manipulating the valve’s fastenings. Again, certain states require a plumbing certification in order to conduct these actions on your backflow preventer, so consider leaving this job for the professionals.

Step 4: Inspect the Valve for Potential Damages

After removing the RPZ valve and placing the fastenings in a safe location, you can inspect the components themselves for any potential damages or complications. The most obvious indicators of a valve-related problem are fractures in the RPZ valve that prevent an air-tight seal. Often, these physical damages are predictable, as cracked RPZ valves perform less effectively than functional ones and typically produce cloudy water.

Additionally, check the RPZ valve for any warping or bending caused by the water hammer or other backflowing conditions. However, more often than not, your RPZ valve won’t have a scratch or crack; rather, most maintenance comes down to cleaning valves and eliminating obstructive debris. Of course, you must replace any RPZ valve displaying physical damage immediately before reinstalling your backflow prevention equipment.

Step 5: Reinstall the RPZ Valve

Once you’ve cleaned it, the next step is to properly reinstall the RPZ valve and, eventually, the entire system. First, carefully reattach the RPZ valve using the original fastenings (or replacement parts, if needed). Like before, avoid interfering with other internal components to prevent additional damage or complications. Once the interior elements are back in order, reinstall the backflow prevention equipment onto your plumbing infrastructure, ensuring the chambers are fully protected by their coverings.

Step 6: Test the Backflow Prevention System

Step six involves testing your reinstalled backflow preventer to determine the success of your repairs. Of course, this process is quite technical and frequently requires a certified tester to ensure proper system functionality. However, you can also purchase and use backflow preventer testing kits to effectively judge your prevention equipment’s performance. Backflow preventer testing kits include an assortment of replacement parts, fastening wenches, and pressure monitoring devices. Once your backflow preventer is reattached to your plumbing infrastructure, disengage the local shut-off valve and allow access to the supply water. Test the pressure of this flowing water and observe the efficiency of your RPZ valve.

Hopefully, your backflow preventer passes this test with flying colors, finally completing the removal process! If you were unsuccessful, repeat the above steps to solve any system complications further.

Ordering Quality RPZ Parts

One way to set your RPZ valves up for greater success and avoid regular maintenance is by investing in quality parts and systems from a reputable distributor. Our team at Backflow Direct proudly carries a wide selection of industry-leading backflow prevention solutions guaranteed to protect plumbing infrastructure from low- and high-hazard conditions. With a high-quality preventer like the Deringer 40, you can rest assured that your community’s potable water supply is safe and secure. Additionally, our professional and knowledgeable staff is here to help when complications arise to ensure quick resolutions and total satisfaction.

Understanding how to properly remove an RPZ valve for maintenance is important for building and business owners alike. For further information or concerns regarding backflow preventer repairs, please contact our friendly team at Backflow Direct today!