What Are the Parts of a Fire System Backflow Preventer?
Backflow preventers are essential pieces of equipment that protect water supplies of all shapes and sizes. They’re responsible for keeping our irrigation systems sanitary, pollutant-free, and potable. Backflow preventers ensure our homes always provide us with fresh, healthy water to drink.
They also ensure that the fire suppression systems have enough pressure to properly release water in an emergency. In these situations, backflow preventers mean the difference between safe, salvageable structures and the perils of fire.
What about a backflow preventer’s design makes it integral to providing fire systems with clean and healthy water reserves to use in the event of an emergency? Moreover, what are the parts that make backflow preventers so useful in these fire systems? Read on to learn more about the anatomy of these backflow prevention devices and why they’re important for keeping your property safe.
The Type of Backflow Preventers Fire Systems Use
Before diving into the parts of a fire system’s backflow preventer, it’s crucial to understand which type of backflow prevention device the fire system uses. Fire systems use various types of backflow preventers, but the most common is a Double-Check Backflow Preventer (DC).
DCs use a double-check valve system to ensure that water cannot move backward through piping. Manufacturers design these to keep non-health-related pollutants out of a water supply, which makes them perfect for fire systems.
In the case that you need to monitor the water usage, a Double Check Detector Assembly (DCDA) comes with a bypass meter. This allows the device to detect unauthorized water usage or leaks in the system.
Fire System Backflow Preventer Anatomy
Type is just one aspect of these backflow prevention systems. In order to fully grasp a fire system’s backflow prevention system, further exploration of its anatomy is necessary. As an aside, the backflow parts we’re about to discuss are primarily specific to Backflow Direct’s models. Features and materials may vary depending on who you do business with.
#1. Stainless Steel Body
The valve is housed entirely in stainless steel to prevent corrosion and increase the life of the valve. Backflow Direct’s Deringer is the only backflow preventer with a 100% stainless steel body.
#2. Tamper Switch
Tamper switches are an important part of a fire protection system’s backflow preventer anatomy that allow you to monitor the valve from a distance. In essence, a tamper switch is an electrical or mechanical component that connects to the shut off valves of a backflow preventer.
The tamper switch sends an alert if a shut off valve is fully or partially closed. This, in turn, notifies the appropriate parties that the system might need evaluation and provides a record of the incident.
#3. Shut Off Valves
The shut off valves are another crucial part of a fire system’s backflow preventer. These valves are responsible for either allowing the flow of liquid through a system or preventing it. They come in the form of gate valves or butterfly valves.
SOVs are an essential aspect of a fire suppression system’s ability to prevent backflow, as without them, the backflow preventer couldn’t be tested. The Deringer gate valves and butterfly valves are serviceable.
#4 Check Modules
The checks are the shining stars of the backflow preventer. In a Double Check Valve, you’ll have… you guessed it—two checks. They may be poppet style or swing style, or in the case of the Deringer, a unique combination of the two. The checks stay closed, sealing off the valve so that the polluted water can’t flow backwards into the drinking water. The checks open and allow water to flow through in the case that a fire sprinkler system goes off.
Other Essential Parts
The parts described above are among the most vital to a fire system’s backflow prevention success. There are smaller parts that help these systems function, including:
- Test cocks, which open and close for testing the valve
- Silicone elastomer check disks
- A bypass meter (RPDA or DCDA)
Each of these components serves a significant role in ensuring that a fire suppression system works in the event of an emergency. Thus, we thought they deserved an honorable mention on this list.
Why Each Part Is Crucial
From the gate valves that keep water contaminant-free to tamper switches and check disks, fire systems and their backflow prevention devices have myriad parts that ensure optimal function.
These innovative pieces of equipment help keep patrons and vital infrastructure safe from fire. That said, a fire suppression system won’t adhere to codes or function correctly unless each part of its backflow prevention system is in working order.
Even the seemingly small and insignificant parts play a role in preventing backflow and ensuring that our water supplies are sanitary and potable. For this reason, it’s crucial to have experts inspect, maintain, and repair these vital systems on a regular basis.
Thus, if you find yourself in a position to have work done on your fire systems backflow preventer, call a professional. Remember that those with experience and expertise in backflow prevention are the best option for maintaining these crucial systems.
If you’re looking for backflow parts or repair kits, you can count on Backflow Direct to provide you with the best products on the market. We’re happy to answer any questions about our backflow prevention devices, which are best for your systems, and how they can help you improve safety procedures at your business. Browse our site or contact us today to learn more.