Backflow Assembly Anatomy

Using three of the four test cocks a backflow device is put through a series of tests to verify that it is working properly. Illinois Plumbing Code requires backflow devices to be tested each year and repaired if needed.

Is the Ball Valve open or closed?





When the handle of the ball valve is open the handle is parallel or running with the pipe.

When the handle of the ball valve is closed the handle is crossing or perpendicular to the pipe.

Out-of-Date & Illegal Backflow Units

Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker

Prior to 1991 lawn sprinkler systems were required to have an “Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker” to protect your drinking water. Unfortunately the vast majority of AVB’s were not properly installed, therefore the water supply was not being protected. Starting in 1991 the Illinois Plumbing Code was changed to require lawn sprinkler systems to have RPZ backflow devices. A lawn sprinkler system with an AVB is considered a threat to the public health. If your drinking water gets contaminated then your neighbor’s drinking water could be contaminated also. Therefore there is not any “grandfathering” that would allow a system to keep an AVB.

Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)

The PVB has never been legal in Illinois. The Illinois Plumbing Code has never recognized the PVB. If you have a PVB on a lawn sprinkler system it must be replaced with a RPZ backflow device.

Watts 995

The Watts 995 has been discontinued and repair parts are difficult to find.